After another RTA marathon roadworks session the highway is open. Although something very peculiar has happened. Bangalow has gone missing. It was there last Thursday. I swear it. But Sunday when I was driving the kids to drop them at their dad’s place, it was gone completely. Vanished. Like Bangalow had never ever been there. Like there had never been a people who employed urchins wearing brown paper to sell $30 soap wrapped in string to seekers of shabby chic.
Fabulous, stylish, confident, middle-class and middle-aged, Bangalow is gone. Removed not by a cyclone, a bushfire or an act of god, but by an act of the RTA. You see, driving south there is no exit for Bangalow. Someone in head office decided there was no need for people travelling south to go to Bangalow. They also decided it was unnecessary to erect any signage along the highway to explain the sudden disappearance of what was, until a few days ago, a bustling vital village.
Poor Bangalow. Did they know? Did they know that they’d been exiled from the rest of us? That someone up top had taken an eraser and gently rubbed the draftsmen’s pencil so that the connection to our historic village was no more. What will happen to the people of Bangalow now the southbound exit is extinct? Will they have to breed among themselves? Who will buy their fabulous rugs and designer sandals? Will they have enough baristas to go around? It will be like in the bubonic plague when they exiled villages. No-one in. No-one out. Eventually it ended up in some sort of weird medieval witch-burning incestuous killing spree.
Poor Bangalow. They weren’t expecting it. They didn’t even get enough warning to build their pool. Or a supermarket. I worry how an entire village will survive on just one weekly farmers market. What if they run out of white linen or shabby chic or rusted doors tied up with rope?
Now that the petrol tankers can’t get in it looks like it’s going to be billycart derby day every day. It’s how the Bangalese will get to the bowlo. Of course, they’ll have to drag their sorry arses, and their carts, back home up the hill drunk. Watching the traffic speed past high above them. A constant reminder of an RTA oversight.
Dear Bangalow, the forgotten people. The people the highway cut loose. As for Newrybar, it’s gone too. Such a wonderful roadside village. Now just a bunch of lonely hipsters hugging their artisanal breads and fermented cheese for warmth.
I am still in shock about the whole thing. I have to admit I was so looking forward to the removal of that nasty bitch St Helena and her penchant for sending me speeding tickets. Stupidly I thought that those twin tunnels would take me to Banga in just minutes. This whole thing has been very distressing for our family. You can’t imagine the torment of a mother trying to explain to her kids that they won’t be going to Dad’s place any more.
I didn’t know how to break it to them, but as I zoomed south towards Sydney I managed a stifled ‘Kids, I don’t know how to tell you this, but Dad’s gone. We’ll have to find you a new dad in Ballina. At least there’s an exit there.’