Saturday, 29 October 2011

Airports and Roundabouts

There are a lot of beautiful things in the world and many many mundane ones. Inanimate things. Areas. Spaces. Structures that give you no thought but to negotiate your way past without hitting them.

It's a case of airports and roundabouts.

Thing is that if you stall long enough to have to think about them, they are magic in their own way.

The modern roundabout is simple and highly effective. It is a control structure that regulates traffic with easy rules and without bringing everyone to a stand still. There is immense beauty in its simplicity. Simple rules of uni-directional flow and everyone knowing who gives way to who.

Next time you meet a roundabout, absorb the structure and give way to the right.

Then there are airports. You enter through some sliding doors and check luggage and print tickets and clear security and drink bad coffee. Around you, large canisters full of highly explosive jet fuel hit the ground and leave it at extreme speed. A bunch of people in a tower sew their paths, as thousands of people arrive and depart on their way to another identical depot.

At the most, you walk a hundred meters to a gate and wait in managed silence for your horseless, groundless, floating carriage to arrive. Then you climb aboard a vehicle with a hundred strangers to share air and bad food, while you achieve uplift and cut what was months of travel in to an annoying several hours.

People talk of smart phones, mapping the genome and coloured contact lenses and they are fabulous. There are also things we take for granted that if you stop and think of, you will release that we live in the future.

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