Most of Bangladesh's cities are now suffering from acute mobility issues. Dhaka has cars and no roads. Thanks to rain, Chittagong has converted roads to waterways but with no boats. Sylhet is full of motorcycles that look like those horror scenes where a spider egg just burst. Bottomline? If you're out on the road, you are going to be there for a while. Unless you have VIP Protocol, which helps clear the path for you, often resulting in jams for us lesser non-ministerial residents.
Here is a quick guide on how to overcome the Five Stages of Traffic Jam Grief.
1 - Denial
This is how we all begin.
And then it's just a series of exclamation marks.
Every day when we step out, our inner dialogue goes just like that. The Pet Shop Boys wrote a song more than 20 years ago just for this occasion: “What have I done to deserve this?” There is no really helpful answer to this. Do you remember that time in Class three when you poured sand on the fan blades just before lunch break was over? And then switched off the main switch with a broom stick? And then everyone came in sweaty and hot and demanded the fan be turned on. Except when it was turned on, there was sand everywhere. Well, if you did do something like that fictitious account, karma may be catching up to you in the form of traffic jams.
The best thing to do is to get on with the next step.
2 - Anger
You're angry. Think happy thoughts. Beijing, China: August 2010. People were trapped along the Beijing-Tibet expressways in a 62-mile long traffic jam lasting a ridiculous 12 days. But most of you have commutes of six miles or less. You can't possibly be stuck for 12 days, yet. But anger really solves nothing. Did you ever get to purchase a good item at New Market by getting angry? Nope. You bargain. You get to stage #3.
3 - Bargaining
The average human walking speed is about 5.0 kilometres per hour (km/h), or about 3.1 miles per hour (mph). The average distance for most people from work place to home is 8 km. I came upon that number by conducting a scientific study asking potentially hundreds of people around me: I posted on Facebook. That means we can walk to most places in under 1.5 hours instead of sitting for 2+ hours. We can get exercise. We can make it, right? Think how fit we could be. Which leads to the next bit.
4 - Depression
We can't make it. We are lazy slobs ruined by the benefits of rickshaws and maids. Most people opt to sit and complain, on Facebook. We think of the family we may not see for days. Will we ever get home? What is worse than heading to work is the trip back home. You so want to hit the shower. But the time just won't pass.
5 - Acceptance
It's not the destination but the journey that counts. Unless you're stuck in traffic, in which case it IS the destination. There is one big solution to this: use your phone. Read, watch a movie, sketch, learn a new language, apply to New Zealand where you can look after sheep. Avoid Facebook because that is the one place where people are venting their frustrations. Avoid that negative cesspool and focus on something else such as binge watching an interesting TV series that is not GoT. Or take lots of naps.
We can't get out of this nightmare but we can make the experience less bitter.