Thursday Tidbits

Posted on August 30, 2018 under Thursday Tidbits with one comment



“Life is a highway; I wanna ride it all night long.”

Life is a Highway. Tom Cochrane

Unless there’s road construction.

What are the three great existential questions of our times? In no particular order, here are my choices, the ones I think about often: What is the meaning of life? How do they get the caramel inside a caramel chocolate bar? And how many people does it take to pave a highway and what metrics are used to determine the length of wait for the traveling public.

Questions one and two are pretty straight forward but I have yet to get a definitive answer on the road construction topic. Let me be the first to say that keeping our highways and byways in tip top shape is honorable and necessary. It is also the biggest inducer of road rage with otherwise sane people.

I am about to embark on a cross Canada road trip with my son and expect a great deal of road work. Let’s face it, there is no perfect time to repair roads but in a northern climate, the window of opportunity is narrower than that of, say, New Mexico.

I was traveling into town the other evening after a pleasant visit with family at Bayfield beach. It was a perfect summer day, with warm gentle breezes and a dearth of mosquitoes. We had just consumed a piece of coconut cream pie so my cheer couldn’t have been much better and I made the 15 minute trip to Antigonish.

Sorry. Let’s make that closer to 50 minutes. I was puzzled to see a lineup of cars in front of me on the Summerside Road where it meets the Trans Canada. I thought there might be an accident but I immediately knew what was going on. On my way to the beach, I noticed the road construction crew getting equipment in place around supper time on my way to the beach. There were enough temporary light standards along the side of the highway to light up the Rogers Centre in Toronto. Of course, I mistakenly thought that these lights would be used for overnight paving which is a stroke of brilliance when traffic is light.

Alas, they started the paving mid evening and traffic was at a standstill. I realize that the people holding the stop and go signs have a job to do and undoubtedly they have been schooled in traffic flow and road rage. Have you ever wondered (I know you have!) why they don’t use a timer and every ten minutes change the flow of the traffic? Obviously this is a simplistic and naïve notion and I’m certain someone can tell me why my logic is flawed.

I do pity the traffic control folks who stand in the blazing hot sun suffering from heat stroke and withering stares. It has to be the worst job in the world. I noticed an obituary the other day of this chap who had done this kind of work for decades. The cause of death was listed as boredom.

I am already dreading the thought of driving through Montreal. Driving in, around or through Montreal is a nightmare at the best of times. During road construction season, which seems to last 12 months a year, it is enough to make a grown man weep. I love Montreal. It might possibly be the greatest city in the world especially in the summer when it is hard to go a block without encountering a festival of one sort or another. There’s the Jazz Festival and Just for Laughs. You can saunter down St. Catherine’s Street and grab a world famous smoked meat sandwich or take a stroll up to St. Joseph’s Oratory or climb Mount Royal.

So, you must be wondering about the significance of the picture affixed to this story. What could a field of beautiful flowers have anything to do with road construction? A lot as it turns out.

When I am stuck on the off ramp heading to Verdun to see my daughter and granddaughter, I will close my eyes and conjure up images of The Landing and say OM as many times as necessary. That’s IF I can get off Highway 20. I just checked the road report for Montreal and this headline blared at me: Highway 20 ramps on Montreal West interchange to close until 2019.

No worries. I just called George Jetson and he has agreed to loan me one of his spacecraft so that I can avoid the traffic and fly into downtown Montreal.

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