Words by: Jonathon Davidson
Perth is a strange place for locals and travelers alike. We’re still only just getting over the fact that now coles is open til 9pm (kind of), and 7/11 landing in WA alongside an American donut chain remains to be the biggest thing that’s happened this year in terms of tangible and observable societal change. Perhaps this is less strange when considering that our economy is heavily based on exports and we are arguably the most refined essence of commodified peoples, but this haphazard swamp of sociological speculation is best left to be discussed by someone who doesn’t aspire to write on the Internet.
Instead I’m going to talk to you about driving. This article is about driving.
Step One: Choose A Stance On The Cyclists Debate
By far the most important step, it will be your stance towards road cyclists that comes to define the future highlights of your driving life.
Are you on their side, or against them? Are you going to wait for the opposing lane to be empty before overtaking, or are you going to basically just cut a straight line right past them and hope for their sake that they don’t veer out to the side in rebellion?
Next, you want to ask yourself how you are going to handle driver-cyclist conflict. Personally I recommend just laughing at them if they take issue with your driving, largely because you’re safe inside a ton of metal and they aren’t. However this is not for everyone. You may, for instance, enjoy fighting; in which case you want to leave windows down and door unlocked during moments of hostility so you’re ready to jump out at the lights and knock that drogo off his penny farthing bullshit.
Or maybe you’re a pacifist, or even a cyclist yourself and sympathetic to the bipedal wheel creatures. That’s fine too because Perth is a fairly progressive place and it’s okay to be a pansy these days, and the greens are always looking for new members.
Step Two: Gauge How Much You Care About The Priorities Of Others
So you’ve figured out how to solve the bicycle crisis. That’s good, that shows progress and demonstrates to me that you’ve been paying attention. Next, we need to talk about the rights and respect of others.
The biggest part of driving in Perth is that everybody else must bend to your state of mind. Late for work, and stuck in the left lane doing 55 in a 60 zone? Hippies or communists would probably tell you that this is nothing to be upset about, and they’re wrong.
Driving under the speed limit is representative of a wider set of ideals about the universe which are incompatible with the fast paced world that is the metropolitan south-west of WA. The ANZACs did not bleed out on scenic beaches to defend your right to drop 5 and save lives, they died for your right to do 63 in a 60 zone without getting done for speeding. Tell me I’m wrong.
You have every right to scream abuse, flash your high beams; maybe you even want to go knock that drogo off his aging volvo bullshit. Do so, it’s what our freedom was based on.
Unless you’re hungover, or low on fuel, in which case dropping 5 is fine so long as you’re okay with it. And if somebody behind you is beeping their horn and high-beaming you, then you have the right to go even slower.
It’s what our freedom was based on.
Step Three: Only Choose Friends, Jobs and Relationships That Let You Avoid Peak Hour
Do you know what else the ANZACs didn’t die for? Traffic jams.
From 6am to 9am and from 3pm to 5.40pm, all major freeways, highways, causeways, links, tunnels and overpasses are just absolutely and totally fucked. Seriously man, it sucks so bad. So intense is the level of inherent suckery that you’d be a complete fool to try and get a 9-5 job with a commute at all.
Many people speculate over the state of our unemployment stats; everything from outcomes based education to the moral fabric of our state identity have been analysed with regards to finding the cause of joblessness in Perth. While urban sprawl seems like an equally likely contender, the issue is actually far simpler than this – the Kwinana freeway just naturally eats shit, and nobody wants to deal with it.
Cut off family members who you can only see in the day, and remove yourself from the toxic influence of friends and partners with regular sleeping and work patterns. Once you get stuck on Roe highway for two hours in 40 degree heat, you’re going to learn to never be back in that place again.
Which brings us to our next step.
Step Four: Cheating On Your Car With Transperth
And like a phoenix rising from the ashes (where the ashes are your inability to deal with traffic jams), you will complete the cycle of life and start anew once more in a proverbial larvae state.
You know how when you kind of feel like bread so you go to the shops and realise that you either have to commit to an entire loaf or waste money by having to purchase a single bread roll? Transperth is kind of like that, I think. Somewhere in there there’s an analogy but at the current time I’m too hungry to adequately piece it together.
My point is, you’re going to hit an event horizon where you will give up driving in Perth for a brief time. It happens to all of us, and we all make the same mistakes and pander to the same follies.
Public transport seems like a good idea, and people who have to use it will usually tell you that, oh, ‘Transperth isn’t that bad’, and, ‘oh, if you can’t wait five minutes for a bus how will you ever handle the real world’, and other dickhead things of that nature.
They are in denial. Do you know what the ‘trans’ in Transperth stands for? It’s not “transport”. No, it’s “transient”. As in, “transient souls of the eternally lost”.
Your brief affair with Transperth is not going to endure a particularly extensive honeymoon period, and it is only a matter of time until you are burned by our state’s public transport provider. It may be in the form of a bus which is formless because it doesn’t arrive, or perhaps you’re going to get pulled aside by the rookie transit guard eager to please his seniors and dole out some subterranean justice on the one day you’re five cents short on the fare.
Whatever the case, the moment will come where you run back to your car, begging forgiveness, lapping up the sweet rivers of gratitude that will weep from the corners of your eye holes.
And it will be in this profound moment of beauty and reunitement that you will have officially graduated the school of Perth driving.
How about those fuel prices though, am I right?