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November 20, 2009


Potholes. We've all dealt with them. They're an unavoidable fact of the road, but that doesn't mean we have to like them.

Whenever I'm trying to get somewhere, inevitably there's a pothole or two I have to watch out for. If I don't pay attention, they can really mess up my steering, and my day by extension. If they're big enough, they can cause traffic jams, perhaps even road rage.

So does that make the potholes special? Not really, no. They're just potholes. Yeah, they suck, and yeah, it'd be nice if the people in charge of maintaining the roads would take care of them for us, but in the meantime we're stuck with them. We can complain about them all we want, but potholes aren't intelligent, so they won't disappear just because of a general dislike.

Of course, some of us may be tempted to try to fix the potholes ourselves, which is perhaps conceited of us. After all, it's not our road, so who are we to try and remove the potholes? Maybe we think we'd be some sort of hero as a result, but odds are our efforts may only make the pothole worse, and meanwhile we've stopped to deal with a pothole and are backing up traffic even more as a result.

One might be tempted to contemplate the nature of potholes. Where do they come from? Why do they happen? Well, with enough traffic, flaws in the path allow anomalies to worsen, and... okay, honestly? I have no idea why potholes exist. And frankly, I don't care. Maybe the road crew that made them didn't care enough, or maybe someone abused the material that lead to the pothole. Really, it doesn't matter to the people who have to deal with the pothole.

An imaginative sort might envision a self-aware pothole, one that sees itself as an instrument of change and/or power, thinking to itself, "Ha! I control people's movements, and their speed, and their methods! I exert my will over them! I rule!" Even though at the end of the day, it's just a big annoying hole with no substance. Of course, the idea of a pothole having any kind of intelligence is absurd, so I'm not sure why I brought it up.

So what can the average person do about potholes? We can yell at the pothole, but like I said, that won't make the pothole change its nature. We can even deliberately try to run over the pothole, but again, a pothole's not exactly known to self-correct, and it may even make the pothole bigger, and we don't want that. Really, all we can do is 1.) be aware that the pothole's there, and avoid it as much as possible, 2.) let the people in charge of the road know about the pothole situation, and hope that they care enough about their route to look into it, so that normal traffic can resume.

But most importantly, don't let the chunky, water-logged, asphalt-reeking pothole ruin your day. It's not worth it.

Remember, you're better than a pothole.