Quite a few people are now aware that Marburg won the 2008 Friendliest Town in Queensland award. There is a billboard on the Warrego Highway proclaiming this fact, a sign on the community hall and now a banner stretching across the main street of town which ironically is only visible if you are leaving town. Another irony is that the image selected for the banner is that of an emu (which looks ready to peck out an unwary visitor’s eyes) when the emu farm is one of the more controversial zoning issues in town.
All this lays quite a burden of expectation on us residents as well as having a distinct whiff of hubris. Are we offending the rules if we honk an irritating motorist? Do we have to say hello to people? Is one compelled to smile and wave at people even if the car is so full of arguing children that one’s head is about to explode? Are there extra expectations of friendliness if you are an office-bearer of a community organisation?
My dilemma was compounded on Sunday. Driving my family to church, I followed a singularly irritating driver over Tallegalla. I don’t have any problems with people who drive slowly through the hills. The views are spectacular and there are some sweeping curves. I do have a problem when people who aren’t even doing 60 kph (on an 80kph road) brake for these curves. To make things worse, the car then gave way on a corner on which they have right of way. And gave way for an extended period of time.
Mumbling apologies to all gods: tourism, community and otherwise, I honked and was glared at in return by the motorist who subsequently pulled to the side of the road. I’m sure that it is especially bad karma to be rude to people on Sunday when actually driving to church. But at least I wasn’t in Marburg.