A Tale of 222 Speed Mumps…I mean bumps

They were the best of roads, they were the worst of roads…. Blah blah blah. I run over so many road bumps today that the thoughts in the mind are probably still all mixed up. Where was I? … Roads!

See in the beginning there were people; naturally selfish, perpetually hungry and always interested in the pursuit of happiness (money, shelter, food, water, booze and ‘you know’ [wink wink]). The situation most ideal to their selfish selves was to aggregate into communities which would facilitate this ‘pursuit of happiness’ (usually at the disadvantage of some poor idiot).

 Communities grew, and for various reasons, independent minded homo sapiens left to form new communities.

Reasons for leaving might have included:

  1. fights over whose turn it was to wash the dishes
  2. uncomfortable situations caused by the aforementioned ‘you know’
  3. realization of the fact that one’s idiocy was being exploited (moving wasn’t really a solution for that), and finally,
  4. occasional disagreements with the system of government – which at the time was simple: authority belonged to the man with the biggest stick. (as in reference with might and strength oo, Get your mind out of the gutter!)

Some communities eventually decided to trade, visit and generally hob nob with each other. Also for various reasons:

  1. trying to figure out the other folks’ secret production technique
  2. as an excuse to travel to greener grass for ‘you know’ (you’d be surprised how much hinged on this ‘you know’ thingy)
  3. getting gifts to surprise the wife (and also ease guilt over non-sanctioned acts of ‘you know’)
  4. and generally to check up on the Joneses and see if your happiness was just as good, or better, than their brand.

To get from town to town we made paths. The use of carts and horses meant wider paths which we then called roads (Route Over A Dry Surface).

The Romans perfected the rudimentary road in order to make them more efficient to form part of an efficient highway system to encourage an efficient administration system and aid an equally efficient army to move between provinces (the Romans were strangely addicted to efficiency, take an Intel chip back to them and they’d probably have found a way to make it more efficient).

Roads became even more annoying when the humble horse was replaced with the internal combustion (not the type which occurs in the farther ends of the large intestine) engine to forward industrial development. (because replacing manure and piss with noxious gasses was an obvious improvement [sarcasm?]).

As usually happens, someone found a way to mess up a good thing. Some genius woke up one day and thought, “Let’s prevent people from going too fast from one place to another, let’s intentionally set out to make the roads so poor that those speed maniacs will have no choice but to slow down.”

Said genius invented a road feature more irritating than potholes (I’m sorry if you think potholes are not a road feature, in my part of the world they are an integral part of road and highway design). Potholes were ‘dodgable’, speed bumps on the other hand…[sigh]

There was, in all this mania for the application of forceful, undodgable, speed retardants; an island of calm in the country in the centre of the world (more or less).

On this blessed isle, speed signs were regarded as one of two things; a polite suggestion or, a German autobahn speed restriction reading effectively as, “Would you mind making sure your vehicular speed does not drop below the speed indicated on this signboard. Thank you and have a nice day”

Some genius obviously figured that this island of peace could not remain untouched, I mean, their happiness shouldn’t be more than the rest of the country at the centre of the world should it?

Wise quote: “ ‘Tis not the speeding which is the problem, ‘tis having the idiocy to commit yourself to a sudden stop that causes all the mishap”

The residential area of the island caught the speed mumps… I mean bumps, first. Suddenly cars which whizzed along so fast that they were either devilishly suicidal or just flying too low… trundled gingerly over these mega speed rumps like, arthritic, cancer-ridden centenarians [sob].

It was the end of an era and the beginning of no revolution (what d’you expect? these are the citizens of the center of the world we’re talking about here.)

The speed mumps…. I mean rumps, weren’t so bad. However, years after the first attack a second attack took place… these weren’t the speed mumps, it was the speed measles!

It was as if the Easter Bunny moonlighted for the authorities and went around putting down speed strips instead of Easter eggs. And these weren’t your ordinary run-of-the-mill speed rumps/ bumps/rumble strips. If you thought the old ones were bad you were mistaken… the old ones wore down eventually. The old stuff was the devil, this new stuff was Microsoft!!!

The old ones were made out of the same stuff roads were made out of – paving blocks or asphalt , the new stuff was pure bee-coloured (black and white) steel riveted into the road. Good news [sarcasm], steel takes a looooooongg time to wear down.

Like I said before they’re a lot… enough to confuse a large thin bee looking for a mate. Fella would think we nailed a ton of bees all around the island as an act of large-thin-long beescrimination (beeicide?).

Placement of the metal strips was extremely inspired [sarcasm again]. The quota had been set, the strips had been bought, to hell with over-procurement! The strips had been got and they were damned well going to be placed! First, where pedestrians crossed; then where pedestrians might cross; then where cars might need to join a different stream, then … where other strips were feeling lonely and requested for some extra company.

The strips were devious, they let the pedestrians cross alright, but they also caused pileups at some places. Example: the main entry point into the island every single morning and evening like clockwork.

The questions remain unanswered: Whose idea was this? Were any studies conducted before implementation? Were any of the transportation or highway design greybeards of the island consulted? Was this about the money, the prestige, the politics or the people? Will I ever stop using way too many bracketed statements in my blog post? Will ‘gob3’ ever become a US Army staple ration food?…

Ouchies!! (Agyaei!!) My head aches, too many questions.

gtg. L8r ppl.

P.S. The $1,000,000 for the capture of the Easter bunny still stands, charges include wrongful moonlighting, crossing cultural lines with harmful materials, misrepresentation, forgery, public annoyance and working under the influence.

Update: This post was originally published on 08/03/2011. Since then new bee-colored strips have appeared, Microsoft’s supremacy of evil has been exceeded by Google and the reward for the capture of the Easter Bunny has been upped to $2,500,000.

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