Why can’t I drive 55?


I have spent a lot of time in traffic the last couple of days. Why is my own business and not terribly interesting anyway? But the point is, I’ve had to put up with something I have purposefully avoided for the better part of 15 years. It’s the bane of the working man, aggravator of the patient, the one thing I’m convinced would make even the most patient of us throw out a cuss or two: rush hour.

As of writing this, I really have one trip left into the morning rush gridlock and I cannot wait to get it over with. I’m don’t eagerly wait morning, because sunrise usually means time for me to finally go to bed. But I’m willing to make an exception here. I can’t stand it. It “drives” me mad, to the point of using bad puns.

Bad traffic is one thing, but this mess is another. I am convinced that rush hour, is indeed, a pure evil living entity. It’s an entity that takes pleasure and nourishment from the misery of drivers. No matter what drivers do, this malevolent force prevents them from getting to their destination in any sort of timely fashion. I haven’t come to that conclusion lightly. I spent many hours in contemplative thought (mostly on Interstate 94) to devise the only logical solution to what exactly the deal is with the morning drive. It’s evil, pure and simple, and is out to get me.

This inertia-killer forces its way into the minds of everyday people who are going to their jobs, but made the mistake of driving on a major highway. These folks who are all nice and respectful by all accounts, are turned by this malevolent force into objects that cut me off, forget to use blinkers, speed up then slam on the brakes and just stop for no reason right in front of me.

It seems that not just driving habits are impaired by this “dark wind,” but seemingly all judgment itself. A couple of examples:

The man in the right lane, despite the fact that for the last two miles there have been signs saying, “Lane ends, merge left,” waits until the last second to merge, causing a backup, instead of taking that two miles to move over and save everyone behind him the hassle.

Or the motorist eating cereal while they were driving this morning. Cereal. I am completely serious. I don’t know what cereal it was, my guess would be “Fruit Loops,” but this guy in the car next to me had an entire bowl of cereal, and was chowing it down, milk, spoon, and all. It blew my mind, until I realized it didn’t matter because traffic was stopped because some buffoon didn’t merge when he was supposed to.

Like myself however, this demon seems to hate sunlight, and as the sun rises higher in the sky, the effect fades away. By then the damage is done. I don’t know how some people do that morning drive day in and day out, but let me say this, I salute you good sirs and madams, for you are more patient than I.


Chris Hamble is a freelance writer and humor columnist serving newspapers in Minnesota and Wisconsin, and is a lifelong Stillwater resident.