A Waste Of Life

Today I went on a sort of circumnavigation of Reading which just went to demonstrate that if you want to avoid the busy bits then nowadays you have to go on a fair old trip to do a complete loop. It’s a big town. Mind you, there was noticeably less traffic around today because the schools are on holiday.

The other day, returning from Mudeford – mid-week, mid-afternoon, no special event going on – the thing that struck me coming up the M3 was the simple fact of the high number of vehicles on the road: the number of trips being made, even at that nondescript time. It’s a very odd situation we’ve arrived at, that society seemingly needs so many journeys to be made, ordinary day in and ordinary day out.

Leave aside any issues about pollution and global warming and finite fossil fuels and anything similar – it’s just a not very nice way for a lot of life to be spent.

Of course some travelling is good, for valid and laudable reasons, but surely not a vast proportion of all those daily trips that are being made – delivering, picking up, getting to work, getting home again, ferrying about … For all those trips, it is more than likely that nothing’s being gained from the journey itself – it’s just a process that’s endured for a result. After all, most driving in Britain is a pretty dismal experience – bad roads, bad signage, overcrowding and all the rest of it.

If you ponder it, it seems quite incredible that we don’t seem able to organise ourselves more efficiently, so that more of life is spent more enjoyably by more people. We are very good at forgetting that each individual life is finite.

And, making today’s part of my finite life that little bit better, particular thanks to the Anglian Windows van driver in Caversham and the driver of the blue Skoda near Hurst, who went out of their way to make my ride easier. It’s always appreciated.