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Covert Critique: A linear society in a circular universe

Locations: Columns Published

The days of mediocrity are over.  There are new critic(s) in town and they’re here to add their two cents ($2.75 with Roaring Fork Valley inflation) to anything and everything. They will be critiquing the very fabric of our lives, from the clothes on our backs to the bricks of our buildings, the third swing from the left to the day old bin at the bakery.  
Best of all, they are going covert. It could be your neighbor, your janitor, the person driving your bus, or the one sitting in the seat across from you. The critic may be your best friend.  It may even be you. 
The Covert Critique is here to bring greater awareness of our world, our community, and ourselves — to empower each and every one of us bring our greatest self to the world each and everyday. Let us raise the bar of humanity, take pride in what we do, and have some fun along the way. 

Round and round and round we go.  Are we spiraling up or are we spiraling down?  Like everything the answer comes in perspective. It is time to bring some perspective to the centerpiece of Carbondale, the roundabout, or rotary as our friends from across the pond call it.  In our typically linear society what better way for The Covert Critic to start their first column then to circle back around to the circuitous traffic interchange that’s got us spinning counter-clockwise (also perspective dependent).

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The roundabout has now had over two years of life in our booming little town and to some extent is the metaphor of our growth, “spiraling out of control?“  Well not exactly, unless you are talking about affordable housing, which began with a golf ball spiraling down hole one of River Valley Ranch well before the roundabout planning stages.

Let’s get back on track and tighten this circle like the belt on our work pants.  The roundabout officially opened for business with one lane and one direction (thank goodness) on September 29, 2014.  The roundabout claimed its first snowplow February 21, 2015 when the snowplow driver — unaware of the change — hit the center and rolled onto its side, spilling copious amounts of sand and injuring no one.  

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Traffic has been stopped when full moon bike cruises have utilized their legal right of way to occupy the traffic lane in the roundabout and ride in circles until the bike with music appropriately signaled with its right hand extend out before exiting onto East Main Street.  A rogue beautification project was spotted the morning of Mountain Fair Friday 2016, when 10 strands of prayer flags caught the sunrise light.  All it took was 43 minutes for the town, police, or a citizen who missed morning meditation to tear down this tasteful — dare we say peaceful and respectful — “vandalism.”  

Shortly after the inauguration of president number 45, it was proven that roundabouts are more rally friendly than the perpendicular intersections of old.  The circular configuration allowed many people holding signs to walk down Highway 133, go in a circle, see how many people were present, then proceed back, proving that this is a great space for public gathering no matter your political affiliation.  For if the aisle is in a circle and you try to reach across you quickly realize that you are chasing your own tail and on the same circle of life as the person you thought was “across the aisle.”

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Upon inquiring town management and local police about how many accidents, injuries, and incidents have occurred in the roundabout, no statistics were available as the town does not have a detailed record keeping system for specific incidences, which is a shame because the next critique may be on dog poop and we were hoping to find some statistics on which dog friendly park had the least poo per capita.

According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), roundabouts reduce injury crashes by 75 percent at intersections where stop signs or signals were previously used for traffic control. This makes sense since instead of blindsiding someone, or going at them head on, we are mostly traveling in the same direction, so that’s a plus.  Unless, of course, you are from England and decide to abandon the E.U. and drive clockwise at a United States rotary.

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Maybe this roundabout is a perfect metaphor for life and represents where we are going as a community, nation, and species.  Roundabouts are popular throughout much of the world so maybe teenage America is starting to grow up and get with the flow.  After all life is a flow, just like water (Mni Wiconi).  The key is to go with it, don’t fight it, and don’t rush it.  You can paddle harder but you will get there at the same time.  The river will make it to the ocean on its own time, unless we poison all the water and inject deep into the earth in exchange for fossil fuels so we can go drive circles.

Regardless, the view of the Mother Mountain is better and more open.  The world keeps spinning and so does our community. (Zolpidem)  Now if we could only put down the cell phone when we drive.  I will as soon as I am done typing this article.

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