- BC Games
A Zen-like attitude towards traffic delays
I poured hot coffee into my large travel mug and put a couple of granola bars and an apple into the console. I made sure I had some blankets and a first aid kit in the back seat and I was ready to go. I was going to make the two-hour trip from Brookswood to Walnut Grove.
In the old days, that was a 10-minute trip. My buddy Mike lived at 92nd and 216th, and I could phone him and tell him I would be there in 10 minutes from Langley City. It was a quick trip along Glover Road and a hop, skip and jump along Telegraph Trail, and I was there.
Today there have been recent reports of GPS systems self-destructing as they try unsuccessfully to negotiate drivers around the many detours. The pitch of the robotic voices increases, finally sobbing, “You can’t get there from here.”
As frustrating as it is for the drivers, it is no picnic for the flag persons or the contractors and engineers. When I hear someone say, “They sure picked a dumb time to replace that bridge,” I commiserate with the planners.
Any municipal engineer will tell you there is no such thing as a good time to replace a bridge or dig up a water main. A lot of factors come into the decision-making. In most cases a major project will involve all the utilities. This means Hydro, Fortis, Telus, cable companies, regional and local water and sewer people all get involved.
Also, if a salmon happens to return to that stream or culvert every two years, the fisheries folks get involved as well.
It can take a year or more to line up all the utilities and the contractors. When they are all aligned, that is when the project starts. Unless an election is pending — then the project can be moved up to impress the voters.
The detours and delays are heartily supported by tourism and real estate people. Langley people are getting to see many new parts of their community they never knew existed. They discover new parks, nature trails or complete new subdivisions with many new homes for sale.
People have a new range of “late for work” excuses. Detours that spring up overnight, or bridges or overpasses that disappear on the weekend — all are legitimate reasons to show up late and allow you to sleep in or have that extra coffee. Turn adversity into advantage.
The secret to survival is to adopt a Zen- like attitude to traffic. When I accept that the universe has plans for me that include waiting for the gravel truck, the excavator or the container train, I experience much less frustration on my journey.
Langley traffic is also a great social equalizer. Recently, I was stopped at a red light in my 12-year-old vehicle beside a brand-new shiny black Corvette. The driver gripped the wheel with his deerskin driving gloves, and glared over the wheel behind his aviator sunglasses looking for all the world like a fighter pilot awaiting instructions from the tower. He was going nowhere.
I sipped my hot coffee, turned up the volume on my Leonard Cohen CD and became one with my surroundings. The Honda horn awoke me and I accelerated to 10 km/h, leaving the Corvette behind.
Let Karma guide your journey and arrive relaxed. At least that’s what McGregor says.