When I was in college, I came back to Indiana for a visit. At one point, out with one of my best childhood friends and her parents, her mother commented that Hoosiers are some of the worst drivers. Ha ha ha, I thought, clearly you haven't driven in L.A.
Ah, to know everything like I used to. That would be great. Great. Just great. It'd be great. (Hi, Kyle!)
I actually haven't driven much in the area. Eh, not quite true, but close. I rode my brother's motorcycle when I was 12 because he told me girls couldn't ride motorcycles. Of course, that was when I didn't know the difference between the brake and the gas and couldn't understand why I kept going faster and faster the harder I turned the brake.
Driving in Valparaiso, sure. I've driven in the town. But not really to the town. Dad or Jenny or Jessica would pick me up from the airport or the bus station closer to home, so I haven't driven to town.
Today, however, I rented a car that I'll drive to Poultry Days, for my first chicken tournament. It seemed to make sense, even though I'm sure had I asked, Dad would have picked me up from the airport, no questions asked.
Using Kris' GPS unit, I plugged in Dad's address and started driving.
And started understanding just what Mary was saying about Hoosier drivers, though I suspect she was talking more about Illinois drivers.
I can honestly say, I've never seen a fully-loaded semitruck with trailer lay on the horn from the second lane, right next to me, nearly ram the car in front of it (admittedly doing only 45 on a 65 mpg speed limit road), swerve around it and accelerate away from us. I can't say I've ever seen a big-rig truck driver exhibit such road rage before.
This, after it nearly swerved left into me.
Did I mention they gave me a minivan? I reserved a compact car, figuring I needed a car big enough to sleep in the back seat, since I surely was NOT bringing a tent to the tournament. Too much to carry, and I prefer showers in the morning. Or so I thought. With all the hotels fully booked for 40 miles in all directions, that backseat is looking mighty comfy.
A few miles later, in my light grey minivan, I watched in train-wreck fascination as a trailerless tractor (Dad tells me that's what they call the front of a semi when it has no trailer attached) zipped in and out of traffic easily driving over 80 in moderate traffic on a construction filled 94.
I'm convinced Illinois is annoyed at people moving to Indiana, and has decided to thwart such commuters by having the entire stretch of road between the two of them under construction at all times.
This, with crazy drivers on the road.
I passed a frighted girl driving 40 in the first lane as traffic whizzed by going over 70 to her right (except me, of course, I was clearly driving ONLY the speeding limit, Dad. Clearly).
I drove behind a man who would drive a quarter mile between the lines painted on the road, then a quarter mile to the left or to the right of them, yet still on the road. I tried flashing my brights at him when he started to swerve off the road. Didn't help much.
I drove in front of a car that reminded me of the summer I worked for my dad, when he handed me a gun to put under the front seat. "I'd rather you be in jail than raped or murdered," he told me, after telling me of the van drivers who were running cars with single women drivers off the road, then raping them. I agreed with him, then showed him how to remove the safety, and how to put it back on.
I flinched as crazy drivers in Escalades came flying up behind my van as I drove with traffic, and watched as they slotted between cars to edge one, two, maybe three cars in front of us in traffic, wondering if I weren't really back in L.A. after all. Did I board the wrong plane?
And I reminded myself that I wasn't in any hurry when cars were flying by me, as I drove the speed limit in the slow lane. I'm on vacation, and didn't need to hurry home. I was in an unfamiliar car, on unfamiliar roads. Just because everyone else is crazy, doesn't mean I need to be, too.
I mean, there are crazies on the road tonight. One of them might even be driving and trying to take pictures at the same time. I mean, come on, that would be nuts.