While Sydney now has more tunnels than Cu Chi I rarely travel down any of them. It could be that none of them really lead me where I want to go. It could also be that I once worked on a checkout at a miserly minimum wage and I equate the cost of a toll with roughly half an hour of work scanning intimate apparel for a queue of obese bargain hunters on a 20% off day. Like anyone who has ever flipped a burger or manned a call centre I value my cash and don’t what to spend a fortune to save six minutes. Frugality however isn’t my biggest reason for taking the overland route - I avoid tunnels because they are mind-numbingly boring.
Stay above ground and you can breathe in all those tempting aromas as you pass by the shops and decide whether to stop in for a loaf of fresh bread, a bargain pineapple or a dodgy dim sim. You can smile smugly to the people who’ve been waiting at the bus stop for far longer than is reasonable or laugh uproariously as a cycle courier tangles with an office girl who’s too busy texting to look where her or her tray of coffees is heading.
Of course, there is always the chance you will get stuck at a road work site but these days it’s not such a bad experience. For some magic reason all the jobs involving holding the ‘stop and go’ sign all seem to have gone to young ladies who are attractive enough to make any delay far more bearable.
If the tunnel operators want to get my business they really need to create something that challenges the wonders of what lies above. I propose for the whole length of their tunnels they install screens capable of displaying a continuous moving image. In this manner you could transform the boring tunnel into a scene of outback Australia complete with emus and kangaroos which run and hop beside your car as you drive along. It would be far more fun and tourists in taxis doing would be doing laps to experience it over and over.
There are really infinite possibilities. Your car could be running with a herd of bison across the plains of North America or travelling beside a peloton of Tour de France cyclists in the Pyrenees. At Christmas you could chase Santa’s sleigh and on Anzac Day you could charge with the Light Horse Brigade. Valentines Day would be the real highlight though. Just get in your little white hatchback and feel the love as a whole lot of oversized sperm race to the end at the same time!