Saturday, April 18, 2009

Flagman Index

I was reading this post by Bush Babe and it reminded me of another type of waving in the bush that just doesn't happen in the city.

I could have left a comment about it on her blog, but hey, when I get inspiration for another post there's no way I'm going to waste it on a comment on my own blog, let alone someone else's!

I've lived in Brisbane, I've lived in regional towns around the state, and I've lived in the dreadful conurbation that constitutes the coastal strip in South East Queensland. I've travelled a few miles during that time and I developed my little theory about "The Flagman Index".

Of course, these days they are probably known as "Traffic Control Officers" or something equally as swish, particularly as a growing number of Flagman are actually not men at all. These are the men and women who stand for hours in the boiling sun or pouring rain and turn their lollipop signs to either stop or let the traffic go through the roadworks without running into on-coming traffic or construction vehicles. Very important people.

Now see, in the real bush the Flagman will lean in the car window and have a chat with whoever is first in line as you wait.

A little closer to town and they will cheerily acknowledge the quick "thanks, mate" wave that Bush Babe described as you go past.

On the outskirts of cities they just seem to get worried about the fact that some people wave at them and try to hide themselves behind their walkie talkie and pretend that they don't have enough hands left to wave back.

In the real city they simply pretend that they don't know you exist - despite the fact you've been sitting face to face and within 10 metres of them for a good 5 minutes.

Now, it seems that the reliability of my Flagman Index is being eroded by the greater number of temporary traffic lights (that I have seen get out of sequence and show the green to both directions at once after a loooong time of no-one going anywhere) and the fact that these days they bring in traffic control from the city where they don't train them about bush courtesy, but it used to be a very reliable guide of how close to so-called civilisation I was getting during a long day behind the wheel.

And now you too can work out where you live on the continuum of the Flagman Index.

The chance that the Flagman Index will lead to very important life changes for millions of people?

... Approximately None - but hey, what do you expect from a blog?


Bush Babe said...

That's completely right!!! Although I do notice that the younger Flagmen/women tend to be less enthusiastic in their greeting even in the bush. A generational thing maybe.. A new soapbox issue??

Anonymous said...

EVERYONE'S friendlier in thebush, I beleive. I do miss that.

Givinya De Elba said...

So true! If I was a Flagman - Flagwoman - Flaglady - Flagprincess, whatever, I'd do the bush thing. And all city people would report me for being too forward.

Crazy Sister said...

I'm a little scared of Flagpeople since one yelled at me nastily for going the wrong way round some very confusing traffic cones.

Lilly said...

You are funny, love it. Well all I can say is I must have been rarely in the bush as no flagman has ever stuck is head in the car for a chat.

Dee from Downunder said...

We've had the whole gamut of flagpeople over the years, we have the temorary traffic lights on some major roadwork at present,mostly a good thing, except at night, when you sit for five minutes on red and can see no-one is waiting at the other end...