Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Theme Thursday - Traffic

I so hate traffic that when I saw it was this week’s theme I immediately thought back to a time when there wasn’t any. At least there wasn’t any compared to today.

Years ago (many years ago, now I think about it), there were no Interstate highways. Two lane “highways” served to get us from state to state and humble little motels and cabins, though few and far between, dotted the route with places to lay our weary heads. And a highway with a median? Woo-Hoo! Now THAT was something.




This was back before the impressively useful invention of the solid white line down the outside edge of the road to tell you what was road and what was potentially death at the bottom of a mountain cliff.

Traffic, as we picture it today, was something almost unheard of. Of course, we had less than one third* the current population, too. (Sometimes I long for those good old days – as long as I get to keep my computer, of course. And internet and big old front-loading washer and dryer and all the other conveniences that I just can’t live without.)

Entertainment, while traveling, consisted of spotting license plates from faraway places and reading the always fun Burma Shave signs.


My maternal grandfather used to scare everyone witless when he got behind the wheel of his car. I was too little to know what kind of car it was but I suspect it was black and boxy and had a Ford label on it. We lived in Florida on a little crushed-shell road that connected to the main paved road that ran between the towns north and south of us. Grandpa would get into his car and go hauling down the shell road and then, without looking either way or even slowing down, barrel out onto the main road toward whichever of the towns he was headed for. Everyone would shut their eyes and hope for the best and comment that it was a wonder he hadn’t long ago been killed.

Today, of course, it’s a different story. Today you will be run off the road (if not just flat-out run over) if you do anything as timid as actually keeping to the speed limit. Tempers flare and tires screech. Fingers are flung from windows in all manner of gestures. Snarls abound.

I hate traffic. I despise it. I hate what it does to us. I hate the delays. I hate the creeping. I hate the speeding. I hate the white-knuckled, blood-drained, trembling fear of going 80 miles an hour, bumper-to-bumper and door-to-door on interstates so packed you couldn’t slow down if you wanted to. And change a lane? Ha! You had better hope to know where you are going and get in the proper lane at least 20 miles in advance or God help you.

Here is why I don’t live in Seattle:


The most kind and domestic of people become slavering monsters once behind the wheel of a car in traffic. Hell hath no fury like a cut-off driver on his way home to his Friday night pot roast.

Give me a little one-horse town any day.

I will stay right here, happily driving rural roads and hoping to catch a glimpse of two little donkeys in a field on my way to and from a town that has only a couple of stop lights.

Of course, this little town with only a couple of stop lights is sometimes packed to the seams with tourists walking around ogling the place as though they were in Disney World and snapping up every available parking place. The half-life of a parking space here is about 2.35 seconds. So look sharp and just keep circling. It’s so worth it. And winter will always come and the tourists will (mostly) stay away.


Love this place! Yesterday, I had to go to the courthouse to straighten out a mix-up with our voter ballots and I walked in, asked to speak to the county auditor. She came out, we spoke, laughed, done! All in a matter of three minutes, max. Try that in a big city. Ha!

Of course we haven’t even touched on other kinds of traffic – like drug trafficking. But then, I know so little about drugs that you could hand me a sack of white powder and I would try to make cornbread out of it.


Ya’ll come!
*Ok, ok... it wasn't less than a third of today's population -- but it sure seems like it.

27 comments:

Brian Miller said...

i'll take some cornbread and a small town any day. i lived in baltimore for a couple years...which helped with my post for tonight, but not much for my sanity. i pine for open roads.

Baino said...

I'm one of those mugs who sits in traffic twice a day for an hour when it should be little more than a 20 minute trip! Soul destroying not to mention the environmental hazard. I'd give my right arm to work from home!

otin said...

I love that Movie, "Doc Hollywood". That is how I would like to live!

nanny said...

Great post....

California Girl said...

I like this approach and I really like the Burma Shave angle. Wish I'd thought of it. My brother and I used to keep our eyes peeled for those signs when we were kids.

Sandra Leigh said...

You found a real, honest-to-god Burma Shave sign. AM, you rock! I remember Burma Shave signs as the highlight of our Sunday drives when I was a child.
Is Burma Shave still produced?

If there's any of that cornbread left, I'll have some, please. With honey. Mmmmmmm.

AngelMay said...

Brian: I pine for open roads, too. Afraid they are mostly a thing of the past, though.

Baino: I used to wish to work from home, too. My company would never allow it, so I retired. :)

Otin: Doc Hollywood! Love that film!!!

Thank you, Nanny and California Girl. The Burma Shave thing was kind of fun. When we traveled - which was a BIG thing when I was a girl - I would watch for them.

Sandra: When I cooks cornbread, there's NOT any left. :-) But I'll make some special for you next time you visit. Maybe. Though I can't imagine why you would put anything other than butter on it...Southerner that I am....

The Silver Fox said...

Quite an entertaining post. Many facets. And I absolutely love the imagery of a crushed-shell road. Somewhere, buried in my memory, I've encountered at least one. Maybe it was even someone's driveway.

Thanks for the trip.

Ravyn said...

We live in a small town and we just got our third traffic light, imagine that. I am approximately 12 minutes from work and since I'm in for 6 a.m. - I very rarely see any other vehicle, never mind traffic. And I like it that way. Great visuals, by the way.

Jill said...

OH YES! This speaks to me as I am most certainly a small town girl! I will venture out into big city traffic ONLY when absolutely NECESSARY!

mouse (aka kimy) said...

most enjoyable post.... may all your drives be smooth and traffic free!

Wings said...

I hate traffic, too. Hate being on the road, especially the highway, for endless hours. Side roads, now that is a different story. :)

Betsy said...

What a beautiful little small town! Ours is like that, too.

Can't believe that story about your grandpa!

VE said...

I remember the two lane roads. We still have a lot of them but a lot of them are snarled with traffic too. Takes about an hour out of town to catch ones with no traffic at all. Oh hey, is that pac man in that pan?

AngelMay said...

Betsy: Believe it. It's true. Oh the stories I could tell! :)

AngelMay said...

VE: Pac Man? Ha! What an imagination you have! But then, I knew that.

Skip Simpson said...

Wonderful post! And such memories! AngelMay, you may be intereested to learn that Doc Hollywood was actually filmed in Micanopy, FL!

AngelMay said...

Skip! I did not know that. But I certainly don't doubt it -- such a sleepy little place. I'm getting homesick for Florida!

...mmm... said...

your downtown looks sooo quaint. now, i could seriously do that as I said in my post. If not traffic, then give me somewhere very charming.

And kudos to you to know nothing about drugs. I'm the same. I have never ever doen anyhting like that or plan to.

I loved your descript of going to the courthouse and out again in 3 mins. Ahhhh.

e said...

If you come to Florida, you won't find too many small towns left...all is getting overdeveloped, full of asphalt and too much traffic.

Great post!

AngelMay said...

e - yes, I know. They've been paving every square inch of the place ever since I left. With any luck they haven't yet spoiled Cedar Key or any of the small, mossy fishing towns along the north gulf coast since there are no beaches there.

Coffee Messiah said...

Yep, I'm with you. Although where we are here in indy-anna is like that, we do need to drive a ways to get what we used to get in the city. It's worth it though, 'cause that occasional trip to the big city is great while it lasts, but nice to hit the 2 lane-ers again and see nary a car ; )

Cheers 4 the memories ; )

Megan said...

That cornbread looks sooooo good.

I do love the idea of a small town, but I don't think I could live in one for the rest of my life. Definitely a city girl!

AngelMay said...

Megan: Not to worry. Seattle is just a short drive and a ferry ride away. :)

Dreamhaven said...

once upon a time
In horse and donkey years
You may dodge road apples
But at least the skies were clear.

Happy TT

tony said...

"Ummm CornBread" (in his Best Homer Simpson voice!)

Dot-Com said...

That bread looks nice! Something to nibble on while stuck in traffic maybe :)