I live off a state highway, not on some meandering country road but on a busy five-lane free-for-all. Six days a week, paper thin econo cars play chicken with semi trucks carrying full capacity loads. Commuters late for work and hot doggers in their show room, cowboy trucks barrel by, unaffected by the rules of courtesy or the laws of the state of Texas.
HoneyBunch says it wasn’t always like this. When he first bought this property back in the 80’s, he could count the total traffic that passed in one day on both hands. To see the traffic slow like that nowadays, I’d have to get up around 3:00 AM on a Sunday morning.
We witness several speeding tickets a day, one fatality a week, and two Hit and Run, Misdemeanors a year. Luckily, those hit and runs only take out mailboxes. Drivers will veer off the road or lose control of their vehicles and our mailboxes end up in the property next door. All we will find the next morning are a bent post (or what’s left of it), tire marks, and our mailboxes and their contents socializing with cornstalks or cotton plants. The perps who caused the mess never stick around.
Because of all this, I am extremely careful when retrieving the daily mail. I stay off the shoulder and wait in the grass along our property line until I see my chance, then I sprint out like a pit crew mechanic at the Indy 500. There’s always some clown in a truck who finds it funny to honk at me as I hurry to get back onto safety.
I was coming home one evening at dusk and had to turn across the traffic onto my drive. I was in the middle turning lane waiting for the thick flow of cars and trucks to thin out, when a young man in a white truck grew impatient. He decided to pass everyone and charged up the middle lane towards me. Instead of stopping and merging back onto his side of the road when he saw me, he sped up. He was bound and determined to pass everyone up, no matter the cost.
I braced myself for the high speed head-on collision. The traffic slowed, horrified at what they were about to witness. The punk took advantage of this and veered back on to his side of the road, barely missing the front left corner of my Jeep’s hood. My car rocked from the gale force he created.
We were all so close, the two drivers in the front cars in the two lanes (a woman and a man), the young hoodlum, and I, that we saw each other clearly. Except for the smirk on the hotshot’s face, we all looked like characters in an Edward Munch painting, our eyes bugged out and our mouths dropped open.
The traffic moved on, but it took me a while to find the strength to tootle up my drive. I hope that young man got to his destination with time to spare because he took several years off my life that day.
Yup, I live on a state highway. It was once a meandering, peaceful country road. It now resembles the streets of Le Mans during racing season. Like everything else in our lives, we are all in one big hurry to get somewhere. No time to slow down; no time to stop and render aid.