To be or not to be; that is the road we are on


Some bureaucrats came out to pay us a visit.  Nice folks.  Friendly-like.  They came to see the final portion of the road on the adjacent island that leads down a steep hill to the shore and our community dock.  This dock is where we park our boats when we head in to so-called civilization. But we also bring our small boats onto the beach next to the dock to load heavy supplies and equipment directly from our vehicles.  Getting down the final hill to the water is critical to bringing out building supplies or taking in an outboard for repair.

But it seems there’s some kind of question about whether the portion of road in question is a road if it is not officially called a road and is thus not recognized as one.  It may not exist.  Even if it is there.  And even if cars drive on it as a natural continuance of the real road.

“Well, this isn’t a road.  And, if it was a road, it wouldn’t be a road we recognized.  And, if you disagree, the best way for us to determine if it is a road is for you to take us to court.  If the judge says it is a road, then it is a road.  Until then, we are pretty sure it isn’t a road.”

He’s talking about the road he just drove down to meet me.

The ‘Phantom’ Road

“Well, I am happy to take you to court.  But I don’t really wanna fight the government.  Too exhausting.  If we take you to court, will you argue with us or just roll over?”

“My job is is just to present the facts.  I don’t argue one way or the other.”

“All right then.  Thanks.  I just may see you in court.  In the meantime, do you want to walk down the road, cross over in my boat and head over to our island? We’ll walk up the other road and go for some lunch?”

“I’ll take this trail here to your boat.  ‘Cause I don’t see a road.  But this trail will do.  Then I’ll take the other trail on the other island.”

So, off we went in a real boat on the real ocean though I may have been delusional at the time.  As we traveled, I was thinking of serving them an empty bowl and calling it lunch and, if they looked surprised, I’d say, “Well, take me to court.  Maybe the judge will see this as lunch.  And if he or she calls it lunch, then it is a lunch.  If it is not officially a real lunch, then I’ll serve a real lunch.”

But I am not a petty man.

In fact, I was having some real (or maybe not) existential angst the whole time.

But it was not so bad.  I kinda like this bureaucrat.  He laughs at my jokes.  And he seems harmless enough.  Some of them ‘crats are pretty evil bastards but this one is retiring soon.  He’s pretty benign.  And that’s how I like ’em, benign and retiring.  Invisible is good, too.  A not real bureaucrat is a good thing.  I kinda hope they downsize the Ministry and there is no replacement.  That would make him really not real.  And then there would be no road and nobody to tell me there was no road.

‘Course, I’d still drive down it now and then.

2 thoughts on “To be or not to be; that is the road we are on

  1. Four years ago we (the community) went over to the other island and rebuilt the slope at the end of the road. It was always previously a road but not recognized as one so we just went out out and did it ourselves. By doing so, we piqued the interest of the official ‘road people’ and we have been lobbying ever since to get them to accept and recognize that portion of the road as part of their mandate. But they won’t. They like to visit, tho. It’s a nice day away from the office. Boat-rides are fun. Lunch is free. And they can drive all the way. The logic of that last sentence seems lost on them. So, we’ll rebuild the last portion ourselves. Again.


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