Sunday, September 26, 2010

Beijing needs more cars, yes it does

I violated my own rule today, but much more stupidly. At rush hour I got on a bus between Dawanglu and Yonganli heading west. I wanted to ride it for one station in order to get on the subway, though I'm not sure why I didn't just walk five minutes east to the Dawanglu station.

The bus stalled two minutes in and didn't arrive at its destination until 30 minutes later, if you can call it a destination. At some point during the journey that would never end, the doors opened and people went streaming out. I personally was saved by Pearl Buck's The Good Earth and was rather absorbed in reading, but that didn't stop me from exiting. The driver said to us as we passed, "Walking doesn't necessarily mean you'll get there faster."

Uh-huh. Enjoy the sunset, buddy.

As I walked 10 minutes to the Yonganli station, the cars in traffic moved NOT ONE INCH. I don't usually use all-caps just for times like this, when all-caps are called for: NOT ONE INCH. Drivers got out of their cars to stand in the comfortable autumn air and put their cars in park, fitting because the street was one giant parking lot. Not one inch.

A foreigner on the road got out and snapped pictures, prompting someone walking beside me to say, "What's there to take pictures of?" Traffic jams are a way of life here, I suppose, but I wondered at the blase expressions on the faces of drivers who weren't moving nary an inch. And passengers sat comfortably in cabs like they were brain-dead. They seemed... at peace. Meibanfa. At one point I actually grinned, intending schadenfreude, but people on the road just didn't seem miserable enough and somehow I was disappointed.

I think it's obvious that Beijing needs to lower the prices of cars and encourage people to buy them for themselves, their significant others, their family members and their children. People must be allowed to implode under the weight of their stupidity, otherwise this silliness will continue forever and standstill traffic will continue being just a "way of life" in Beijing.

The Beijinger said the situation was at its "bursting point" and quoted a Global Times article that said about the same, but I'm not so sure. More cars, please. More cars and more consumption and more naked commerce so that the system buckles and the rest of us who aren't retarded can pull up lawn chairs on the side of the road and snap pictures of these drivers in their idling cars, a picture of modern absurdity par excellence. Yes, more cars is definitely the answer.

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