“Horror journey”? “Nightmare”? “…no warning…”? What’s happened? Was it an earthquake? A tsunami? Did a bomb explode? A plane crash perhaps? Don’t tell me a meteor has fallen from the sky and obliterated an entire city? Maybe it was a rogue plover on the rampage?
No, it was none of these. The “horror journey” was a traffic jam caused by an unexpected and mysterious closure of both the Domain Tunnel and the Burnley Tunnel on Wednesday. Melbourne drivers using Citylink had to endure long delays. Frustrated commuters were late for work, missed appointments and some even had to put up with whining children sitting in the back seat chanting ‘how much longer?’. No one knows, yet, why the computer control system closed the tunnels to traffic. Maybe it was aliens?
The language used by commuters and the newspapers in describing the situation was highly dramatic. The event was certainly annoying and it inconvenienced a lot of people, but it was hardly catastrophic!
This got me thinking. Have we become ridiculous in our everyday use of highly dramatic language? In times past someone person would only cry out, “Oh my God!” if they were in a car that had just gone airborne over a cliff. Now people exclaim “OMG” when they see someone with a haircut they don’t like or their pen runs out of ink!
Do we use dramatic language too readily? What do you think?