I currently live in a very small, isolated town in Florida that is about two hours from the nearest real city. Driving here is more of a challenge for me than when I drove through Miami traffic. Sure, there were the occasional gun shots and fender benders in Miami, but the patterns were predictable, and I could find my own niche and get from point A to point B with minimal blood loss. But driving here is a true challenge.
Let’s start by discussing the roads. Almost all of them are one lane highways that circle lakes, trailer parks or golf courses and go up and down over small hills. Winding is the term some use, annoying is my term. Often, they go through huge orange groves and there are few turnoffs.
There are only two types of drivers in this county. The very old and the very bubba. You would think that would be easier than dealing with the numerous types of drivers in Miami. But it isn’t.
First is the retired people. They come from small trailer parks in the mid-west and northeast and after dying, they relocate to Florida. They play golf and bridge. Often, they try playing bridge with a nine iron, when everyone knows you need a wood. They drive large Oldsmobiles, Buicks and Pontiacs. Their top speed on the highway is about eleven miles per day. They can’t see the lines in the road so often veer from side to side. All the sides of the roads in this county have been driven over so often they are just sand now.
Then there are the bubba drivers. These are the locos, I mean the locals. They are all related to each other as evidence by the recent county law stating that if you get divorced your ex still remains your sibling. These people drive a variety of vehicles from old Camaros and Mustangs to gigantic monster pick-up trucks. They know every inch of the local roads and can drive it at 90 miles per hour at night with their lights off in a rainstorm. Until, of course, they come up behind a dead driver.
This is where I come in. As my luck will have it, when I get on a very long winding road through orange groves inevitably, I’ll get behind a deceased person driving an Oldsmobile at eleven miles per hour while veering left and right, banging the oranges off the trees on either side of the one lane highway.
OK, I can be patient. I am certainly not going to attempt to pass a weaving vehicle on a one lane winding road. I’ll just sit back and drive slowly too.
Then it happens. A Bubba pulls up behind me in a rusty Chevy truck. And when I mean behind me, I mean his front bumper is kissing my rear bumper. If a deer or bear trots out in the road and I have to hit my brakes, the hood ornament of the chevy will be lodged in my butt. Meanwhile, the Oldsmobile in front of me just ran through a trailer park car port and then back onto the road where it took down three orange trees on the other side. Yes, at eleven miles an hour.
This being Florida and summer, the next event is a hellish thunderstorm with rain so intense it chips my windshield.
During these times I long for the nice traffic of Miami, with seventeen lanes, all under construction, face eating zombies and $10 tolls every half mile.
What do I do? Not many choices. I usually slow down. Traveling eight miles an hour will infuriate the bubba behind me who will pass me, often on the left but not always. His rambling rattling truck will zoom pass me as he gains speed to pass the wandering deceased driver in front who now thinks he is in his easy boy chair trying to change stations. One or two things will happen. Either the Oldsmobile will cut into the chevy truck as he passes, and both will dive hundreds of yards into the orange grove or trailer park, and I will then speed up to 40MPH and arrive at my destination unscathed. Or as often occurs, an oncoming 18-wheel semi-trailer truck will add the Chevy truck to their hood ornament collection.
Regardless, the next time I get the urge to go anywhere I hit the Amazon Prime button instead.
Driving in the country is just not safe.