The Roadblock

January 23rd, 2019

Via the bimbo we find:

Since the holidays are over, its now time for construction in Costa Rica. The locals decided to block one of the only major highways in the country for going on over thirty five minutes. Lucky for us, we ended up at the beginning of the line and had Master in the car. It took him only around a minute with the workers before the cones went up and they quickly got out of the way. Of course, this was after a few nervous looking men walked over to the workers and bailed out of any confrontation by getting on their phones and taking the walk of shame back to their cars without saying a word.

To which we offer a smattering of amendments, having conducted said journey through the tropical wilds at the wheel of a particularly shining silver steed.

Firstly, it's always time for construction in Costa Rica. It's not so much a matter of "growing development", this, but a necessary consequence of the brutal facts of ekeing out a civilization of sorts amongst the verdant exuberance of the land. Potholes. Sinkholes. Collapsed bridges, fallen switchbacks, obliterated pipes, all "repaired" inexpertly but with great enthusiasm, all contributing to a constant critical mass of catastrophe.

This time, the problem was mild enough: the yellow median had fallen just this side of invisible, and the poks1 had gathered up their very best paint in their very best mini-pokmog, eager to make the road safe again for the 40kph natives and the 140kph foreigners who weave around them. Except they decided to close down the entire road for the proceedings. As in, with roadblocks. Both directions. Whether this was an honest if inept attempt at safety or the effects of sheer wonderment at their own technology I couldn't tell you, but it was certainly several shades of ridiculous.

Valiant Prince MP ventured forth to the bevestacled2 roadslave and demanded an ETA. Thirty minutes. Which is an insane askance on the one and only road to the nation's northeast at ten in the morning on a thursday, but patience is well-coddled by comfort, something our horse has in spades. Ever play "I spy" in the rainforest?3 We didn't, but anyway. Thirty-five minutes went by, according to the bimbo's ever-faithful watch. A motley stream of family heads, some in characteristic pastel plaid button-downs and flip-flops, others in JC Penny-diaspora slacks and stacked heels, shuffled awkwardly towards the workers to lodge complaints throughout.

Here's how Costa Rican complaints go:

"Hey buddy, how's it going?"
"Oh fuck me dude, everything's so great, I'm so happy to see you!"
"Back atcha, friend. I thought, mayhap, there was, possibly, a thing not entirely great afoot?"
"I'm sure it's possible, but whatever, shit's great in general and mostly in particular!"
"I couldn't agree with you more. May all your days be glorious."
"May yours be better! Remember, I've two kidneys, should you need one!"

Fifty-fifty shot a hug goes here. Mind you, as the bimbo pointed out, actual confrontation was rare; for the most part these exemplars of effectuality merely approached the worker at not-quite shouting distance and tapped plaintively at their electronic rectangles4, only to walk back to their cars moments later, as though their subtle show of guarded inquiry were sufficient for anything at all.

But as I was saying, thirty-five minutes went by. At which point MP left his leathery cushioning and motored himself towards his municipal amigo again. I wasn't within earshot, but here's how (this) MP complaint went, from my perch:

MP approaches road worker at breakneck speed. Worker visibly if ever so slightly receeds from his post.
MP's arms rise to either side in exasperated parentheses.
Worker points in the general direction of the painting aparatus, shrugs.
MP's frame straightens, despite the impression it was already perfectly straight.
The handful of road workers previously lolling about in the adjacent vines chewing plantain chips get on their feet and move in to reinforce their colleague, meanwhile grown shorter and blown further back from his original stand.
The Blue-Red-and-White disco-dance, a possible misunderstanding of further pointing, squatting, and shrugging.
The ...5 aggressor delivers his fatal blow; left hand held slightly underneath, his right makes three decisive chopping motions --one to the left, one at center, one at right. This catalyzes the workers' retreat; they regroup a meter or so back.
A walkie-talkie is produced and passed frantically from one worker to the next. MP is stone-still.
After a beat, the workers run to the assembled cones comprising the road block and lift them.

So swift was the demolition that MP was obliged to run back to the car, lest he encourage 40kphers to overtake us. And that's how we almost lost half an hour on the ride in.

* * *

  1. Pok, noun, that species of Orc which proves lovable through its earnestness and innocuous nature despite its Orcdom. []
  2. It's my blog and I'll be a pompous foff if I wanna! []
  3. Hint: it's something green. You wouldn't shoot a gal, wouldja? []
  4. The pretense that these are "devices" chafes me. An abacus is a device --a "smartphone" is a travesty. []
  5. What colors are the Republican flag, anyway? Buttplug? []

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