If we wanted to use more than 140 characters, we'd be writing more here.

Saturday, September 04, 2010

I Think It's Thinning Out Ahead... We Could Be Out of Here in a Day or Two!

A few weeks ago there was a traffic jam just outside of Beijing. Normally, traffic jams in big cities aren't big news, but in the capital city of the world's most populous country they do things really big. This traffic jam lasted for nine days.

Nine days! Nine freakin' days. If this traffic jam happened during the Olympics two years ago, people driving to the early track and field events would have found parking just after the closing ceremonies.

So, if you're running nine days behind for work, how does that work? You figure the weekend would bust up the traffic jam a bit, but no.* You can't even drive in the following Monday and pretend you hit a time warp:

"I'm here, right on time for Monday morning!"

"It's Wednesday, a week later."

"Well, there was this... Wednesday?! (long pause) I got nothing."

"It's OK. We're a communist nation, so you still have a job."


"But we had to relocate you. Here are your tickets to our Tibetan branch."

"Tibet? Tibet?!? That's where I'm commuting from!"

I think of all those people out on the highway for nine days.  You can only ration out your McDonald's Big Breakfast out for so long. After three or four days, I suspect it was like Lord of the Flies out there. I envision businessmen running around in Brooks Bros. suits with the sleeves torn off and their Louis Vuitton ties wrapped around their heads like bandannas. Between the battles for convenience stores and staking out turf at rest stop restrooms ("Before you can relieve yourself, you must pay tribute!") it would get pretty hairy.

I don't know if Chinese radio stations have traffic helicopters , but if they did, just imagine the utter futility:

"There's a massive bottleneck on the G020 outside of Langfang. You may want to take the alternate route to the G104. If you're already on the G020, you may want to stop at the nearest convenience store and stock up on a few hundred pounds of beef jerky and shotgun ammunition."

It's a testimony to the relative experience of cities like L.A., New York, Bombay, London, and Dallas that they've never experience traffic jams quite this extensive. Oh sure, it's felt that long...

*Say this in a John Belushi SNL circa 1978 voice for maximum effect.

Labels: , ,


Post a Comment

<< Home