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 …
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.”
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!
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.