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Yesterday We Attended a Funeral Wake

by Dr. Stewart Bitkoff

Yesterday we attended a Funeral Wake; which was totally unplanned. As we were driving, early in the morning to our monthly hospital appointment; suddenly we became aware that the local roads were again filled with 18 Wheelers, smaller trucks and cars that were usually part of Interstate traffic. On the Interstate, there had been another accident and all the local roads were again jammed; with State Troopers trying their best to direct traffic. Not only are our local small town roads inadequate for this level of traffic, but the traffic lights themselves, on the main road, have not been set correctly to accommodate, in an over flow emergency, this level of traffic.

Again intersections by shopping malls became clogged, horns blared, driver’s blood pressure went up, employees were late to work, local stores due to the impossible levels of traffic lost business and still the problem hasn’t been fixed. You see it will take different municipalities to work together to solve the synchronization of 3- 4 traffic lights (all within a mile stretch through the business section) meanwhile motorists suffer continually these stressful situations.

On the Interstate itself, there has been little attempt to have a continual Police presence to monitor and help control speed limits; everyone speeds and many local residents are frightened to drive on this highway.

So you ask? What is this Wake you are talking about? I am talking about the slow, painful death of the American governmental system and its continual inability to timely solve even the simplest of problems. There is an old traditional saying that goes something like this: ‘If you take care of the small things . . . the larger ones will take care of themselves.’

If this is true, well from where I sit and drive, we are in very, very deep dung. We can’t even take care of a truck accident/fire that closes an Interstate; and surrounding road delays due to inadequate roads and traffic lights that are not synchronized properly to accommodate over flow traffic. How in the heck are we going to prevent another really big problem due to events like bank failures, hurricanes, power grid disruption or another terrorist attack?

Since I have lived in our small town, for the last 12 years, this must be the 50th Interstate accident with resultant delays, frustrations and driver’s blood pressure going up. Also, our local newspaper has been making a big deal about the synchronization of these traffic lights now for well over 2 years. Come on now- how long does it take to get multiple municipalities to agree on how to stagger 3-4 traffic lights? Or come up with an effective plan to get motorists to drive safely or have an emergency task force ready to speedily clean-up an Interstate?

Certainly, these same problems exist all over our country and I am very weary of people not working together, seemingly doing little. I am sick of hearing the same excuses of not enough money; you don’t understand the complexity of the problem, or politicians disagreeing and the average citizen not knowing who or what to believe.

Sadly the Phoenix has taken her place up on the funeral pyre. Now the flames are beginning to grow hotter. My only consolation: one day- the Phoenix- shall again be reborn to start the cycle anew.

And the Wake I attended yesterday: was for our suburban way of life, so reliant on individual transportation- that had its glorious moment in the sun and is now dying.

Lastly I hope the funeral pyre doesn’t continue to spread and consume more of what we cherish, here, in America.


* Funeral Wake: when the family and friends of a dead person meet in order to look at the dead body the night before it is buried, or when they meet after a dead person has been buried to drink and talk about the person's life

(Definition of wake noun (FUNERAL) from the Cambridge Advanced Learner's Dictionary & Thesaurus © Cambridge University Press)


Check-out my two books: Sufism for Western Seekers: Path of the Spiritual Traveler in Everyday Life and The Ferryman’s Dream . Both books are available through Amazon.com or local bookstore.

Press inquiries or to contact the author visit: www.stewartbitkoff.com.

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