Wednesday, August 09, 2006

From a Speeding Highway-Issue 1

It has always been difficult to explain the intricacies of my work to family and friends back home. I usually leave it at civil engineer and if I am in a wicked mood I might tell nosy aunty from next door that I drive a big truck and supervise guys building roads. This sufficiently blue collar explanation goes down much better than the traffic engineering spiel. So what do I do? Well, I travel the length and breadth of two of Maryland's most densely populated counties for a living. Really, that's what I do...kind of. I help the agency I work for solve traffic and pedestrian issues, congestion issues etc. The work involves a lot of travel and I love the sense of freedom that being alone on the roads brings...

Sometimes in a leafy suburb a young mother might stop by to chat, or on a cold morning the guys at the community fire station might offer me a coffee.

Sometimes I find myself in neighborhoods where life has become a humiliating chore for the inhabitants, where no one smiles and I lock my self in my car, pull up my windows and keep the engine running while I try to work.

Sometimes the congested highway gives way to a rural two lane roadway that winds through farmland.

Sometimes there is no gas station for miles or even worse, a restroom.

Sometimes when I stop and look, I find beauty in strange places, like this stop on the old railroad system. The bright red engine is now a museum, a reminder of more busy times, when the trains did stop by.


Joy Forever said...

Your job sounds interesting, and the place you have shown in the photo is too beautiful.
Probably you'd like this photo I took this evening from an overbridge over a busy street in Hyderabad. A little later I had to travel in the left-hand side lane, and realised that this was by far the worst traffic jam I had seen since I came here almost a year ago.

Anonymous said...

Lovely post. Where is this museum?

Ishan said...

Your work place is so much better than mine, which is a 14x10, shared, windowless room where I have been sitting from 10am to 7pm for the last one and a half years :(

Anyesha said...

joy forever: I should post a pic of the Beltway traffic jams some day!

kaushik: Its in Old Town Bowie in Maryland.

ishan: Yep, the grass is definetly greener on the other side. But jokes aside I dread the day I have to do a proper desk job.

Chander Dogra said...

Would love to know if there are people with your kind of qualifications in Bangalore. Because for now even after building all the fly overs traffic still moves at snail -pace here