The City Of Interstate.
  

The Interstate is a microcosm of humanity, and it’s a lot like the military once was, when there was a draft going. One of the great things about the draft is it threw together people of all walks of life from different cultures in a situation where they were obliged to live in peace. The Interstate is a lot like that, and despite the few who tend to have a disregard for their own lives, and the lives of others, the majority of people will follow the rules of the road, more or less.

 

If you were to count the number of vehicles that passed one spot in twenty-four hours at Exit Sixteen, in Valdosta Georgia, you would run out of fingers and toes to count them on in less than thirty seconds. Fifty cars a minute, nearly three thousand an hour, or seventy thousand vehicles a day pass that point. That’s an average mind you, and sometimes it gets crowded out there. To put this perspective for you, there are about fifty thousand people living in Valdosta. The entire population of the city passes through the city, once a day, and then twenty thousand more people pass through, too.

 

As much as everyone complains about Road Rage, if you stay on the road for four hours, like I did yesterday, then you’re going to be traveling with,( mind you this is all averages and stats for one section of road, but you do understand why I have to do it this way don’t you?) about one sixth  of that population that passes one point in time for a day. Traveling with twelve thousand other people without an accident speaks well for how other people are behaving.  We all have some degree of social acceptance of how to get from point A to point B or there would be a lot more dead and dying on the road, and fewer people would do it.

 

I did this same trip last year and hammered down close to eighty-five and ninety miles and hour. Hyped on good coffee and hard rock and roll, I got in behind a pack of  fast cars and we ran together like some metal wolf pack hunting down time. Incredibly, there were faster packs still, and on occasion we watched as some long legged beast torn down the barriers we had set for ourselves. At eighty miles an hour a mile goes down in forty-five seconds. In two hours I was one hundred sixty miles away from home and just on my third CD, and my third cup of coffee.

 

This year gas is pushing four bucks a gallon and the race was more restrained. At seventy miles and hour, I was still running with the fast pack, we were still being passed, but the pace was less frantic. Traffic has been slowed by the gas prices and there were fewer cars out there this year. There are fewer SUVs and very few RVs.  Like the volunteer Army, the four dollars a gallon Interstate has fewer and fewer people from farther and farther away. There were Georgia, Florida, and neighboring state tags, but not so many Yankees.  The early morning Interstate more resembles a ghost town with only the locals out with the dawn.

 

Slower traffic keep right is the rule, but there are those who will stay in the fast lane as other are forced to pass them on the right. But remember! You’re traveling with twelve thousand other people. The percentage of people who cut you off in traffic, block you from passing, and who drive as if they were rabid zombies with vision problems are going to eventually wind up being  a very small population. Cell phones continue to be a problem.  The number of people who cannot understand why dedicating most of their brain activity to talking while traveling one hundred ten feet per second is higher than it needs to be.

 

I never pitch brand names, but I’m going to for the simple reason I have discovered a device that operates exactly as advertised and it is totally useful and functional. I borrowed a Garmin from a friend and I was amazed at how well the little bugger worked! Garmin is a dash mounted navigation instrument that will tell you when to turn, where to turn, and how far away you are from your next turn. I was able to go from my house in Georgia, to a friend’s house in Saint Petersburg without so much as glancing at a map.  I punched in the street address, and Garmin took me there unerringly.  If you’ve never tried one of these little critters I highly recommend them for the geographically challenged.

 

I’m home again now, and even though it was a great trip, I’m glad to be off the road. The mutts are hysterically happy I’m home today, and not working. I’ve got some work to do, some things to get done, and I’ll write about a few other things later.

 

Take Care,

Mike


Comments:
 
StarPoet   StarPoet wrote
on 6/5/2008 11:37:58 PM
So much truth in your story. And I liked the way youtold it. A rare gift you have, Mike. And Wundrmom, thank God you kept your head during the whole thing. It could have been worse. I also feel sorry for the person that has to go home to an a*****e like that!

Mike Firesmith   Mike Firesmith wrote
on 6/4/2008 4:57:38 PM
How's the back, Pen?

penname   penname wrote
on 6/4/2008 4:55:43 PM
i loved this. until i got to the navigation system part. guys and thier "systems" and "devices" I'm a no road map girl gimme a north star, and some basic instinct (no reference to s.stone) and I will find my way without any glitchy shiny expensive devices. But I digress...i love your view on the world and some of the simplist of things. interstate- humanity---you got me thinking. alot.

Mike Firesmith   Mike Firesmith wrote
on 6/4/2008 11:47:18 AM
That's scary. Idiot fool to chase someone down to begin with, and to harrass a woman with a kid? That's very manly of him. I bet he was picked on by his older sister when he was a kid.

Wundrmom44   Wundrmom44 wrote
on 6/4/2008 11:40:48 AM
Hi Mike, glad you had a great trip, glad you had a safe trip... grumpy that you are paying less than $4 for gas still. Here in lovely SoCal the prices are somewhere between $4.25 and $4.50 ... sniff, sniff, heavy sigh.... I have a road rage story... interested? When my 16 year old son was, ohhh... 4 maybe? I turned left in front of someone I didn't see. Totally my fault... it happens. Mouthing I'm sorry was insufficient I guess, he screamed at me, and screeched off. Heart pounding, and breathing a sigh of relief my son and I continued to the signal which was red. A peek in the rearview mirror and I see the lovely man make an illegal U-turn in the middle of the road and come barreling toward us. The lane next to me, empty... of course... he pulls up, is practically hanging out the window, red in the face, cursing at me and calling me names I hadn't heard since my last divorce....(yuc, yuc) My son looked at me with a confused look and says... "Whatsa matter with that man mom?" I told him I didn't know, the light turns green and I started off with the "Incredible Hulk" following close behind.... (don't make him angry, you really won't like him when he's angry). I was scared, but at the next intersection he turned right and I went left. I don't know if I have a moral to the story. Be careful who you accidentally cut off in traffic? You know the thing I was most grateful for? That I didn't have to go home to an asshole like that anymore. The scene was eerily familiar. Have a great day... Kristina

Mike Firesmith
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writing Mike Firesmith
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Synopsis
At home on the road.
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