The Story of Automobiles and Angry Dogs

People at this end of the country smoke a lot. Drink a lot of Tim Horton’s also. It’s the little things that catch you off guard. It’s the same country so there are no real big differences, only little ones and so these little differences become what you notice.

I walked into town yesterday. People don’t walk into town. Only weirdos walk into town. Weirdos or hobos. Weirdos, hobos, or city folk. I wonder which is worse?

Well, people walk…on their farms or from store to store, or from their cars to the LCBO – that’s the liquor agency here in Ontario for you neophytes – but down the road, into town, to get groceries…not so much. Cars, or rather trucks as they would have been back when they were first invented and began to be produced, were in fact developed for farmers. Walking’s for suckers.

You see, farms and farming communities are by definition (by definition? Really? Okay not so much, but it sounds like the right expression) large, sparsely populated areas where getting from place to place can be a real headache. Difficulty getting around was primarily caused by shitty roads, bad weather, and of course, wild packs of angry dogs. People used to drive horses and wagons, but these were slow and labourious (and were often attacked and eaten by these feral dogs – even the wagons were sometimes eaten by the dogs – a sign of how hungry, and indeed angry these dogs really were). And then some genius came along and invented the motorised carriage, relieving poor country folk from much of their miserable daily slog…and depriving the dogs of their slaughter.

Well, jealous of their now more mobile rural cousins, folks in the city decided that they also wanted in on some of that action and so went to work over the next hundred years dismantling, deconstructing and often railing against the very urban form that had been developed over millennia to eliminate much of the distances and need to travel that the automobile had been invented to overcome. Huh. Go figure.

Cities are (were most likely) in fact systems of interdependent technologies, each one layered onto the next so as to relieve townspeople of the need to travel the great distances often undertaken by non-city folk; cities were the answer to the distances between people.

But instead, what we have now is a system of urban design and development that has been adapted to accommodate what is essentially a rural piece of  transportation technology.

Someone get those angry dogs back.

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