This year for vacation we decided to head south, in July… no it is not exactly my environment or temperature rating, not even close. Nevertheless between in-law relatives and potential sites for future colleges that are far less expensive than up here in Vermont, it was a long overdue trip. We drove rather than flying. Less expensive by far and we have our car and so no need to mess around with rentals.
Years ago my wife and I drove all over the country many times over, literally. For 13 years we traveled before settling down in Vermont. We traveled through, visited and stayed for various periods of time in 47 states including Alaska and Hawaii. The roads were very different back then. We have not taken a long road trip together in a decade, not over 5 hours anyway, and in those 10 years the traffic and insanity of the highways has blown to proportions unparalleled.
The drive down through Vermont, New York, Pennsylvania, Maryland, West Virginia, Virginia to western North Carolina was about 20 hours. Once we left Vermont and hit the New York Albany region the traffic and peoples true colors began to make themselves known. From Albany down to southern Pennsylvania, where we stopped for the night, the traffic really picked up and people were like demons in vehicles. So we thought. The next day we drove south to North Carolina and the whole drive was insanity! People were driving like bastards the whole way. If the speed limit was 65 people drive cruising along at 75 to 80 mph. If the speed limit was 70 or 75 mph, people were barreling down the highway doing 90 mph. Not only was the speed totally uncalled for, but the manner in-which those idiots were driving, was appalling. If the speed was not bad enough, the fact that they were tailgating while driving 80 mph, bumper to bumper in both lanes side-by-side certainly topped it off. One blown tire and there would be dozens dead and hundreds or cars piled up and mangled on the road in seconds. 18 wheeler trucks are no exception here. They sometimes made up the heavy bulk of the traffic and they were speeding, tailgating and cutting cars off left and right. If you were driving 10 mph over the speed limit people would run up on your ass and pass you while flipping you off and yelling in their vehicles, tuckers included!
You get people in vehicles these days and they seem to lose all sense of humanity, self, relaxation, calmness and just about every other trait that can make a human somewhat pleasant. You get people in cars and it’s like they become possessed by some road-raged devil seeking to make it to their destination in the most obnoxious, unsafe and idiotic manner possible. They truly hate each other and on the road it shows like a pile of crap on snow. No matter how relaxed you try to be the insanity around you sweeps you up before you know it and the anger boils. I remained staying close to the speed limit while people cut me off and yelled and screamed all around me. I swear 95% of them are certifiably insane and should not have a legal driver’s license. They are maniacs. I had to wonder how many were on drugs??
When they saw a cop sitting everyone would slam on their brakes and create traffic jams for miles and miles back the highway. Once passed the radar scope they would floor it again, passing and yelling the whole way. Oddly enough we saw hardly any police at all on the drive down. A few could be seen near big cities, but beyond that, the roads seemed quite empty of them. We did not even see patrol helicopters flying. Once we left North Carolina and entered South Carolina we did not see a police car until we entered back into North Carolina on the far east side of the state. Not a single patrol car on the entire length of highway we drove in South Carolina and we entered clear on up in Landrum and did not exit the state until we were way over by Myrtle Beach.
I find it very odd that when many people get behind the wheel they get this craziness that seems to overwhelm them and they sweep away into some dark and vile place that they then openly vent upon every car and truck around them, seemingly forgetting that inside each one are other people… or maybe they never forget that fact and they just do not care. Perhaps the fact that they are inside the car makes them feel removed from being a person and instead feel like these people feel on the Internet who interact invisibly through lack of real names and photos. The anonymity of it all seems to dredge the ugliness of human nature. I think when people can interact with the world from a place of invisibility and not from their core, from who they truly are, foulness preys upon them and they act as they themselves would never act when their face and name are connected. Whatever the reason, driving on the open highways today is not what it used to be and for me has turned into an ugly and unpleasant business.
That was just the drive down mind you. We has to drive 20 hours back north again at the end of vacation and to everyone in the car it seemed as if people had gotten worse as we drove home, if that is even possible! 40 hours of chaos.