Pay Attention to Roads
A civilization is only as good as its roads. Modern Roads are amazing, but such a common thing that we take them for granted. We don’t really notice them until they are not there, or more commonly, are under construction.
Our roads allow us to travel so quickly between places. If you told anyone from a hundred years ago that we have the ability to traverse all types of landscapes at a constant sixty-five miles an hour in our own private, self-propelled carriages they would think you crazy. If you told them this ability was not reserved for the rich and noble, but accessible to anyone who can pass a driver’s test, your story would be even more unbelievable.
For most of history, many people had nothing but their own two feet to transport them. Maybe a horse if they were lucky. And rich. It was not uncommon for a person to only ever travel within walking distance of the place they were born, in their entire lives! Today, we can go further than they would ever think to, and not even for important reasons like to secure resources or go to war, but just for a fun day-trip.
Despite this incredible mobility, people get terribly upset when there is a twenty-minute construction delay. They have already traveled further then most people ever did, but they can’t wait patiently for twenty minutes.
People behave as if the road being there and working is the natural order of things, while delays and detours signal imbalance and bad luck. Really, we should look at it the other way around. Delays and detours are the natural way of things, and you should consider yourself lucky to get to your destination without encountering either, or both.
Of course, ancient people were probably just as lacking in appreciation as we are today. I’m sure many peasants crossed over grand stone bridges that stood for hundreds of years, but only really noticed them the day they went out.
Maybe we pay so little attention to roads because they are a symbol of human habitation. From superhighways to the most simple foot trails, people need roads to go about their everyday lives. Roads are as important to us as trees are to a monkey, or caves are to a bat: necessary parts of the habitat that help us to survive.
When a monkey climbs into a tree or a bat hangs up in a cave, I bet they feel much more secure. It is the same for humans. We can be lost in the wilderness, stumble across a road, and think, “Whew, a road! Now I am safe.”
The main difference is caves and trees the Earth provides freely, while we have to build our roads. The Earth can never top itself and bake better trees or a superior cave, but we are always making our roads better. As our standards go up, so too do our expectations, and anything less than what we are used to becomes unacceptable.
If we think a twenty minute delay is bad now, imagine how people will react in the future when solar flares jam up the teleporter networks and people will have to wait a whole twenty seconds to cross the continent.
Pingback: Traffic and Life | Sinister Bend