STAY­ING SANE ON THE ROAD

Keep­ing your mind on the straight and nar­row while do­ing the long haul cre­ates its own prob­lems. Scotty Dou­glas lets his mind wan­der …

Owner Driver - - Owner / Driver -

WHEN YOU spend hours be­hind the wheel, it can be hard to main­tain a pos­i­tive out­look on life. For ex­am­ple, most of us lis­ten to the ra­dio while on the road. Well bug­ger me if that isn’t a cheery way to wile away the hours.

You have a choice of boppy pop mu­sic that just makes me feel in­ad­e­quate at my in­abil­ity to grow a man bun. Then there’s clas­si­cal mu­sic, which will put you to sleep. Or you can lis­ten to the news, which only serves to con­firm that the world is in­deed go­ing to hell in a f***ing hand bas­ket.

Don’t even get me started on talk­back ra­dio, where ‘John’ from Co­huna is whing­ing about that state of the tan bark along the lo­cal shop­ping strip. Bomb­ings, stab­bings, mur­ders, car jack­ings, in­ept politi­cians and greedy cor­po­ra­tions; what an awe­some, up­lift­ing sound­track to a day at work. I won’t even men­tion what’s on the UHF.

If it weren’t for au­dio books, I prob­a­bly would’ve gone bat-shit crazy a long time ago.

I can see the news re­port now: “A clearly dis­turbed naked truck driver caused traf­fic chaos on Pen­nant Hills Road in Syd­ney’s north to­day, af­ter wan­der­ing through peak-hour traf­fic armed with a ripe av­o­cado and a dead wom­bat. Af­ter a brief stand­off, po­lice ap­pre­hended the man of no fixed ad­dress, who claimed that ‘the world was f***ed and he was go­ing to get the truth out there’. He also went on to claim that the gov­ern­ment was scan­ning his brain waves and that his urine could cure can­cer. No shots were fired, how­ever an of­fi­cer was slightly in­jured due to a thrown av­o­cado.”

BUB­BLE BOY

Like a drug ad­dict, I get twitchy away from the ar­ti­fi­cial bub­ble I cre­ate by lis­ten­ing to down­loaded pod­casts and au­dio books. If my sup­ply dries up, I in­evitably end up lis­ten­ing to the ra­dio. This hap­pened re­cently and the re­sults were not good.

The Vic­to­rian city of Gee­long is a town that used to be fa­mous for mak­ing stuff. It’s now rapidly turn­ing into an ice-fu­elled so­cio-eco­nomic shit­hole. Mainly be­cause there are now no fac­to­ries mak­ing stuff. Don’t smirk Adelaide, you’re next.

Dur­ing last Easter at a coun­cil run event for kids in Gee­long, the big, bad, hor­ri­ble Easter Bunny was forced to take choco­late eggs off kids at the egg hunt, mainly be­cause there were a bunch of greedy lit­tle shits tak­ing more than their share. The kids were be­ing egged on (sorry, had to) from the side­lines by their par­ents who were pass­ing larger shop­ping bags through the fence so they could milk it for all its worth.

Cue out­raged par­ents com­plain­ing that their brat was as­saulted by a bad egg-steal­ing man in a bunny suit. My faith in hu­man­ity is wa­ver­ing.

Cue nanny state Coun­cil re­sponse, com­plete with apolo­gies that also said the event would never be held again. There’s a life les­son for you right there kids!

TECH AD­DICTS

Then I hear that both the West Aus­tralian and Queens­land gov­ern­ments are con­sid­er­ing build­ing tex­ting bays on their high­way net­works. Are you kidding me?

In a coun­try where it can be a chal­lenge to find a de­cent place to park a truck, use clean ameni­ties (you know, the ones with­out the holes carved in the toi­let doors) and that aren’t full of back­packer vans and car­a­vans, we are con­sid­er­ing pan­der­ing to a bunch of tech-ad­dicted morons. The au­dac­ity of this is breath­tak­ing.

My vi­sion wa­vered slightly and my head pounded. My solo protest on Pen­nant Hills Road sud­denly seemed like not a bad idea.

It may come as a rev­e­la­tion to some that ve­hi­cle tech­nol­ogy al­ready ex­ists that can block text mes­sages and phone data. A Blue­tooth con­nected phone can still be used to make and re­ceive calls, and that’s it.

If we are so con­cerned about driv­ers not be­ing able to stop fid­dling with their phones, wouldn’t it just make more sense to man­date this tech­nol­ogy in new cars? Maybe if you get busted be­ing a dick with your phone, the con­se­quence could be that you have to fit this de­vice to your car like an al­co­hol in­ter­lock?

Or al­ter­na­tively, we could spend a shit­load of dol­lars out of the in­fra­struc­ture bud­get en­abling a bunch of en­ti­tled morons with no self-con­trol at the ex­pense of … oh … I don’t know … some­thing like bet­ter f***ing roads!

Se­ri­ously, in a coun­try where the roads are rooted and truck­ing in­fra­struc­ture is barely ad­e­quate, how can this even be con­sid­ered? How do these peo­ple think that their f***ing phones got to the store in the first place? By mule train?

Sex­ting bays on the other hand are a fine idea and should be en­cour­aged re­gard­less of cost. They just have to be truck sized and spon­sored by Tin­der.

As it stands, I cur­rently have an av­o­cado in my fridge, I’m north­bound on the Hume, so I don’t reckon the dead wom­bat will be an is­sue.

Hope­fully, I’ll find a new au­dio book be­fore it comes to that.

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