I’m always late. It’s not my fault in any way shape or form. The problem is everyone else.
What’s with all the slow poke drivers in this city? I will admit to having the mindset that it is only going to take me 15 minutes to get anywhere in Charlotte…but I’m from Vermont where that is really kind of true so that can’t be helped. In theory – and mileage wise – I feel quite strongly that I SHOULD be able to get from one end of the city to the other in 15 minutes but the problem lies in those pesky other drivers on the road. I spend most of my travel time sitting in rush hour traffic on 485 and 77. For about an hour and 15 minutes, I stare at my speedometer which generally hovers between 7 and 35 miles an hour.
This is aggravating for several reasons – I drive a stick (sidenote: I grew up calling it a standard. As in, do you drive standard? Why, yes I do. But then I moved down South and no one knew what that was. So now it’s a “stick” or a “five speed”. But I digress…) Driving a stick in stop and go traffic is about as fun as giving yourself a swirly. It’s exhausting – clutch, shift, downshift, brake. Clutch, shift, downshift, brake. COME ON. Besides, how’s a girl supposed to update her Twitter and Facebook statuses if she has to shift every 2 seconds? Another reason I hate driving in rush hour traffic is because my A/C doesn’t work right now. It’s hot. REALLY hot. I am not a huge fan of air conditioning but when there isn’t any wind blowing through your windows, and you are sitting still in 95 degree weather, well…one wishes for an icy blast of chemically saturated freon to cool off with.
Also (I think this is reason number 3) I like to rock out in my car. This is hard to do when your traffic neighbors are also crawling down the interstate with the pace of a turtle and are awkwardly driving next to you and can see everything you do in your car. Plus, my windows are down because of the A/C issue, and I don’t want someone to think I’m a total nerd if I am blasting Jonas Brothers or something. In addition to all that excitement, there will undoubtedly be a car full of teenage boys, or men from another country (ahem) that think its funny/flattering/ok to whistle, yell, wave, gesture at me. Trust me when I say this, you don’t want to be the 16 year old boys yelling and hooting out your window at me after a long day of work and an air conditionless drive home. I will track down your mother and make her give YOU a swirly, do not try me on this. I don’t appreciate feeling like a cougar at 5pm on a Friday afternoon, ok?
Plus, I have this seriously weird fear of being trapped alive when an overpass falls apart and comes crashing down on my tiny vehicle which just happens to be stopped directly underneath it. I do try to avoid this happening by stopping right before the overpass, which no doubt highly aggravates the cars behind me, but I make no apologies. If they want to be crushed to death by a rickety old overpass, they can go around me.
Now, whenever I complain about Charlotte traffic people love to chime in with comments about how Charlotte traffic is nothing compared to (insert name of large metropolitan area here). But friends, I am from Vermont where the interstate has but 2 lanes on either side of the double yellow line and roads are aptly named things like Skunk Hollow Road. My 18 mile commute dragging on for 75 minutes continues to shock and irritate me, even though I’ve been doing it for a year and a half. The way I see it is this, if I’m on an interstate – my car had better be in fifth gear. Anything lower than that, and I’m feeling a little ticked.