Monday, March 14, 2022


I know it's not Saturday, but I am on my soapbox! Expressing thoughts with no answers.

We've had A LOT of rain recently and our roads are filled with potholes - some of which are huge. People have been bleating about them constantly. Council was out as soon as the rain stopped and any flood water receded, to fill them up before opening the road again.

I was driving on Saturday, dodging potholes, and it got me thinking... potholes are a reflection of our society and how we deal with issues. Let me explain.

Roads are fabulous things - they get you quickly from A to B and allow many to travel the same/similar paths without a huge amount of wear/erosion (on vehicles or the path). Yet, they cause runoff when it rains, so that water accumulates at their edges, leading to preferential flow - a major issue from the excess rain we've experienced (as well as potholes, the landslips have been huge). Roads also ensure everyone travels in the same manner (i.e. we're confined to a narrow path where tyre pressure is largely along the same part of the road, where most people brake/slow in the same place, etc). So, we have something great, that also has a few negatives (kind of normal, right?). 

The negatives, though, are often the causes of potholes (and slips). The excess water cuts into the soil at the edge of the asphalt/bitumen/concrete, which excavates and erodes. Often the ground beneath the road slips/moves/changes, and potholes appear (we're on largely sandy soil, so this is even more prevalent). Constant pressure in a spot (e.g. from braking) can also impact the ground below as well as cracking the road surface. So water runs down there and also erodes beneath. Potholes develop. Road edges crumble. The fabulousness of roads now has non-fabulous, and potentially destructive, potholes. So we run out after rain, and fill the hole, chuck a patch on top, and bob's your uncle! Road is right to go.

It's sort of like the Health System and the impact Covid has had on that. Nurses and doctors are buckling under pressure. They're required to work in dangerous situations (not just with ill patients, but understaffed and underresourced with a risk of contagion to themselves and their families), underpaid, undervalued, and with various levels of government assuring the public that it's not a system in crisis. Government filled the pothole.

The Education system isn't too different, with teachers required to do online teaching (without training or resources), then working in potentially contagious situations. Yet, it's fine, no one's health or education will be affected because measures have been taken (i.e. we've filled the pothole).

Yet, long-term, what young person is going to see medicine or education as viable, valuable, sensible careers after they've lived through this?

The potholes might be fixed, but one day, that road is going to have to be dug up and properly fixed (or moved).

It's bloody hard to look under the road when it's so fabulous and doing it's job. 

It's frigging difficult to imagine what we could use instead of the fabulous road.

But are we forever going to fill potholes?

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