AS you begin reading this, please try to levitate. Well, okay, in your imagination, at least. Good. So now you’ve got a bird’s eye view as you float somewhere above the intersection of Jeremie Street, the J.C. Highway and Peynier Street where vehicles of all descriptions, with drivers and passengers of all descriptions, meet in confluence.
They come from three directions (north, east and west) and move in one of nine different directions. From the north, there are three possible routes open to them; from the east, three; from the west, three. This is quite something to see at any time of day, but you, my friend are so lucky: it’s the morning rush hour and the performance is a real treat.
So, tell me. What do you see? That’s right. You see each vehicle wanting to access one of those routes, and all eager to get to where they’re going. After all, they mustn’t be late — their livelihood depends on their good punctuality, among other things. And, in any case, this is a wonderful opportunity to show who’s boss on the road. Surely, the only thing to do is to assert themselves ever so forcefully, push their way through, not give in at any cost to get where they’re headed, and the rest be damned.
Let’s face it: they are way smarter than those bozos around them; all they’ve got to do is blare their horn without stopping as they bully their way through the mêlée, make like they’re about to dish out a few fender-benders or worse, and they’ll easily create a merited right of way and open up an egress for themselves. So, so simple. Forget whatever they may leave behind in their wake, how they might complicate the situation even more, making it worse for everyone. Who cares? As long as everyone else gets out of the way — the rest be damned. So simple! Moreover, we’re Looshans, aren’t we, and this is how we roll, isn’t it? We ride roughshod over others, especially our own, don’t we?
But no. Not so fast, fellas. Think about it, smart guy. That wouldn’t really work. The last case would definitely be worse than the first. There would be an almighty pile-up. There is no way you could move through the mêlée simply by bombarding your way through, regardless of others’ movements, and without their co-operation. That just ain’t how it works. You’d get nowhere fast. Progress would be an illusion. You’d be stuck in one big rut. You must know that.
So, tell me, friend up there, observing it all, what do you see? That’s right. Like me, you see good sense prevailing; tolerance, give-and-take, common sense, patience, compromise — all are exercised without any fuss and fury. Even spontaneous consideration and generosity come into play. You mean, there’s not even one jerk in the crowd trying to make a nuisance of himself and spoil the whole show. My Heavens, what’s gone wrong! I mean what’s gone right?
You can’t believe your eyes. You are highly impressed. This is going to end well, after all. And it’s not long before you see the predicted results. The common problem has been solved, whether through instinct, or reasoning, or altruism or even self-serving means, or a little bit of each. Progress has been made, the objective has been achieved, the job is done and all are happy. They’re on their way. It has all worked together for good – the good of everyone.
But, tell me friend, what do you really see? Do you see what I see? There’s surely more to the physical situation under discussion than meets the eye – and that’s the important part of all of this. So, what is the lesson here, you ask? Well, I see the situation outlined as being a microcosmic emblem — or if you prefer – microcosmically emblematic of our Saint Lucia and how we could so easily make it function for the better, if we were smart enough to exercise all the above mentioned virtues, or in other words, the virtues necessary to solve the various problems which confront us daily, and to do so with a common purpose. I believe in this situation. I marvel at it every single day, especially at the busiest times, and have actually become quite optimistic in my view of our ability to change.
I see the desired transfer value kicking in as well, as I’m sure you’ve noticed at random intersections. Attitudinal change and behaviour modification are not unreachable goals, after all. They can be learnt in the right circumstances. And so I say, with every ounce of my newfound faith, “Traffic lights be damned!” Who needs them?