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This Month in Street Cred...

Traffic Sounds

They say it happens. I mean, I often hear people complaining about it. Stuck in traffic–the weekday Colwood/Langford crawl. I guess I never expected to be sitting in it too, I'm one of the few who works where I live, and lives where I love to be. But I'm in retrieval mode and that one thing I have to buy is out of stock everywhere but in the middle of Langford.

Langford, the suburban den of box stores and townhouses. Langford, once a sprawling patch of land set between two lakes, small enough to see across, now an overpopulated exit on the freeway. Langford, the place you eventually move to when your family is anything more than two people, because this town has no room for puppy dogs or little children who pick up things on streets they are not supposed to touch. Langford, this evening's destination.

On this fine, wet, winter night I wish I was anywhere but here. Pulsating at a standstill, the tail end of my car straddling the edge of town. I see the long line of taillights sitting in front of me, the plumes of smoke emanating from their behinds, and I can't help but take in the view.

I see the cars and I see the people. The single people. The people too nervous to carpool. The people too poor to buy 'fuel efficient' cars. The people too poor to afford a house in the city, where they work.

I think about the mileage and the miles not driven. The time sitting here, waiting. Listening to the radio. Talking on the phone. Thinking about their days at work. Thinking about their kids at home. The waiting—everyday. The thinking. The idling.

I think about the idling and I think about what all this idling is leading to: the asthma, the icebergs melting, the extinction—what will be more than just an inconvenience, what will be a loss.

And I wonder what it will take to wake us out of our suburban slumber? How engulfed with the rising tide this island will have to get, how sick our people will have to become, how despondent we will surely be sitting behind these taillights everyday—listening to these traffic sounds.

And why will this thought be nothing, but fleeting?

Street Cred is an open column for the readers of the New Town Crier. Have something to say? We want to hear it. Email us at streetcred@newtowncrier.ca

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