As it’s a Friday before a bank holiday weekend; and as it’s the end of Passover and I plan to re-enter the promised land of chametz soon…. Well it’s a good time to be frivolous. And so our story continues…
Our Hebrew chariot chauffeurs, cart train drivers, Nile ferry men and sedan chair carriers are wandering around the desert following an episode of mass road rage upon receiving The Ten Transport Services Commandments (https://go-how.com/2015/04/06/a-transport-take-on-the-exodus-part-ii/). Now their sons and daughters, following in their parents’ footsteps in career but not in attitude, are about to enter the promised land.
Will this be a land of roads free of potholes and rivers free of sewage? The Hebrews send two trusted souls in to check. Their scouts do find the roads and rivers as described by Moses, but they also find plenty of existing inhabitants using those roads and rivers. Their mission becomes one of industrial espionage.
When they return, all the new members of the Transport Workers’ Union Moses had founded gather round, clamouring to hear what the spies have to say.
“Do you want the good news or the bad news first?” asks Caleb, a chariot chauffeur himself.
“Good!” call his fellows.
“The roads are truly well-built, well-maintained and link all the most desirable destinations.”
“Hooray!” The cart train drivers join in the cheer.
The other scout and cart train driver, Rahav, holds up her hand. “But it comes at a cost,” she says. “They have manure-free zones in their cities and settlements. If your horse or camel drops one, you are liable to pay a charge.”
“What blessed regulations,” said a sedan chair carrier in the crowd. He was ignored.
“And that isn’t the only bad news,” continued Caleb. “They also have this strange guild called Chauff-uber. Anyone can join. If they have a chariot, then they get a red guild badge and if they don’t, they get a blue guild flag.”
“What does that mean?” someone asked.
“Anyone with a blue flag can wave for a chariot and anyone with a red badge can answer. They don’t have to do it for a living – they can do it for extra money, as a… hobby.” He whispered the last word and silence fell on the crowd.
Then someone snorted, “Unfair competition!”
Someone else said, “Undercutting, I bet!”
Their complaints echoed in the desert air. A Nile ferry-man shouted out, “Hey, what about us?”
Rahav whistled loudly for attention. “We have not finished. There appears to be few ferry boats on their rivers. They don’t need them, as the rivers are not as wide, the roads are good, there are fords,” she shrugged.
“And there are also fewer overlords,” added Caleb, “so I don’t know if anyone really employs their own sedan chair carriers.”
“Then how are we supposed to make our living?” asks the loud ferry-man.
Caleb and Rahav look to the leader of the Hebrews, Joshua, for his wise answers.
“Perhaps you can hire yourselves out to many different customers for pleasure cruises and special occasions?” he suggested slowly.
Rahav nodded. “Who doesn’t want to scrub themselves up sometimes and then be carried over the dusty streets for the night, however free those streets of potholes and manure?”
“Indeed,” agreed Joshua. “Perhaps small goods and messages could be better carried by boat or foot as well. The Eternal One has brought us here and with his help we will not only learn new ways of working, but also we will continue to develop new ways of transport that benefit all. We will lead the way among nations.”
With many nods and fists of solidarity, the Hebrews agreed that they would enter their new land in freedom and hope.