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Opportunity cost

By Mary Anglberger

I’ve recently taught (learned about) this term in one of my English classes. Basically, it is the quite simple concept that whatever one invests in, one always loses the opportunity of having other things because of this particular choice.

I’ve had it on my mind ever since…in fact, I think of it every time I cross the intersection at Makarios Avenue with the newly-painted, ‘double, double’ yellow lines.

They are mystifying in their own right – two double yellow lines in the middle of the street! But think of all the other things one could have done with the money spent on this.

Seeing that double yellow lines are one of the many things Cyprus’ drivers seem totally unfazed by, even painting someone’s house bright yellow just for the heck of it may have been a better choice.

Much has been said lately about how more should be done to make roads safer, so I guess clearer road markings are a step in the right direction. Yet, we all know they will be ignored, no matter how clear and bright.

It’s not like people don’t know they should not cross the main lane to get onto a turning lane coming from a joining street, or park on Makarios Avenue, a very busy main road, for that matter. Common sense would tell you so.

But then again, common sense seems to be going out that car window, especially when one needs to show it off outside various prestigious cafes.

I have even gone as far as thinking about the opportunity cost of traffic lights. Why waste the money?

Recently, they were broken at one of the major intersections and crossing it on my bike actually felt safer without them.

No one was running a red light while looking at their phone, steering with one hand, glancing in the rear view mirror to see if they’ve left behind any dead bicycle riders who’d been patiently waiting in the turning lane.

Sometimes I get so annoyed at the outrageous behaviour of drivers at those traffic lights, especially the 50% talking/texting on the phone, I want to just sit down in a lounge chair under a tree with my camera and my notepad to capture it all and then hand the file to the police. I’d even do it for free!

Now, unless I got the concept totally wrong, there would be no opportunity cost at all, just a huge income from all the fines.

But somehow things work differently here. I just don’t seem to ‘get it’ and will have to be satisfied with the mild entertainment obtained from watching those new double, double yellow lines being crossed, most likely with one hand on the steering wheel, one on the phone.
www.maryanglberger.com

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