Sunday, August 12, 2007

Old People Talk About Traffic

I'm not going to talk about traffic.

Old people talk about traffic. They continue on about illusory short-cuts to avoid it after. They tell you exactly how much they paid for gasoline, and where that rate is available if you will only burn a gallon and a half of gasoline to go get it. They finish off, generally, by explaining why a meal they got at a restaurant like the Olive Garden was a profoundly enjoyable experience, which is the one thing I'm most likely to think it is not. It's Sunday, so I'm going to pray: Please God, I beseech thee. Please strike me dead before I talk like that.

I swim upstream, mostly, in affairs of the home and business. Foolish people think I'm profoundly square. If I had skinny little glasses, a few tattoos, refused to marry my wife but had two children and stayed together anyway, watched whatever was on television, read whatever was on the NYT bestseller fiction list, and combed my hair forward, they'd probably say I was not square. Everybody I saw yesterday was all more or less acting and looking the same way. The alternative is now the norm, and part of that whole alternative thing is to stubbornly imagine you're way different. Just like everybody else.

It's interesting to participate in mundane things for other people because they are unusual affairs for me. I don't find them boring. Yesterday was like that.

Everybody wanted to get over the bridges to Cape Cod at the same moment yesterday. (Oh Dear Savior, I'm begging you now, please, no talk about traffic) But everyone has been trying to get over those bridges at the same time for as long as I can remember. When I was a child forty years ago, we would sit immobile for hours, in that very spot I was in yesterday, while cars routinely overheated and prolonged the agony almost exponentially. And no one had air-conditioning in their house yet, never mind their car.

Unlike most people, I do not live in the closest suburb to whatever job I can cadge, and then bomb down to the shore on Saturday morning to get to my second house or rental from Memorial Day to Labor Day. I live here all the time, and I almost never go anywhere. But I had to go to Cape Cod during the witching hours, and sit and steam along with everybody else. I found it interesting, because I realized there was no way I could do this much and still want to do it much. Your fun is too tiring and boring for me, all you non-squares.

There was no point in trying to avoid it. I was only trying to get to a place about 10 miles from where I was, as the crow flies. Then I was going 10 miles further, to another pleasant appointment. It took three hours and fifteen minutes to accomplish this.

I'm glad you all are able to enjoy the fruits of your labors, the company of like-minded persons, the ease of vacation, the comfort of your conveyances, which decidedly no longer overheat, even if a few drivers do. I'm glad you all like what you like, and it brings you joy, or at least a sense of belonging.

I just thought I'd mention that if I had to do it two weeks in a row, I'd make a disgruntled postal worker look like Mahatma Ghandi.


tjl said...

But Sippican, if it weren't for the needle's-eye effect of the two bridges, the Cape would be just as easy to get to as any other beaches in Massachusetts, and its special apartness would be lost.
Those two nightmare rotaries, those vortices from Hell have done more than any Planning Commission to save what Cape charm is still left.

Anonymous said...

Traffic is.

Ruth Anne Adams said...'d ya' do? Was the crowd groovin'? Was the party rockin'? Was the Sullivan lad singin'?

SippicanCottage said...

Anonymous wins the thread.

Ruth Anne- I forgot I mentioned that. We banged it out, and the party was an enormous success.I actually saw Steve, the groom, being a consumer of entertainment, instead of always a supplier. Fantastic.

Pastor_Jeff said...

Either that's an early use of asphalt to fix a long crack in the concrete, or somebody's got a very unhappy and thirsty engine. That will add to the pleasant tenor of the car trip.

We took the kinder to Six Flags last week because they had earned free tickets for their reading efforts. It's a challenge to find a time when the place isn't wall to wall people. You couldn't pay me to go on a Saturday. And it's a strange sort of manufactured amusement, anyway. I've never gotten the point of wasting 45 minutes of my life for a 2 minute ride.

People toil at jobs they hate so they can earn enough to can escape once in a while. Then the escape has to bear the weight of the pent up frustrations of everyday life, and the family becomes desperate to enjoy themselves. You can see all the themes of the middle-class vacation developed in the cartoons and films of the 50s.

If people were happier in general with their work and lives, they wouldn't feel such a panic to squeeze every last drop of "enjoyment" out of "vacation."

Anonymous said...

Pastor Jeff, those last two paragraphs are some fantastic reading. Well put!

~Bob D.

Pastor_Jeff said...


Thanks for the kind words. Two paragraphs worth of insight is about all I'm good for -- ask my wife.