This post first appeared on June 13, 2018.
Is road construction a good thing?
During my pre-driving days, I liked it, especially on long family trips. Bright-colored signs, flags, cones and barricades broke up eternal stretches of highway. Burly men (no women were road construction workers then) drove huge trucks, bulldozers and graders. Lines of traffic snaked along roads, semitrailers’ air brakes whooshed and horns honked — all very exciting.
Road construction kept Dad and Mom occupied. Flapping maps, they forgot to monitor my siblings and me. When who-was-looking-at-whom crises arose, we kicked each other freely.
Dad’s mutterings graduated to addressing aloud the sins of fellow drivers and construction workers. A pastor, he didn’t swear. Instead, he called them Zeke, Pete, Cedric and Mephibosheth:
“Zeke and Cedric, are you going to yak all day? Or actually work?”
“Park it or drive it, Mephibosheth!”
He addressed irritating women drivers as Gertrude. Unless he was really mad. Then they became Sister Shumpett.
“Sister Shumpett, you’ll send us all to Jesus!”
We kids loved the drama.
As an adult, I’m not so thrilled. Hostile plastic barrels target my car. Reduced lanes can’t accommodate a skateboard, let alone semis rocking around me.
Other drivers go crazy, too. Speed limit signs become mere mirages as they rocket past at warp speed. Others meander across skinny lanes as if they are middle schoolers riding bikes on a summer afternoon. Pete, Cedric, Mephibosheth, Gertrude and Sister Shumpett are alive and well on summer highways during this millennium, too.
So how can I ask a stupid question like, “Is road construction good?”
Before you add my name to the above list, consider this: The only thing worse than road construction is no road construction. In the Bahamas, Hubby and I nearly drove into the sea because no one had bothered to barricade a washed-out road, let alone, fix it. In Ecuador, we smacked our skulls repeatedly on a bouncing truck’s ceiling, following la calle para burros (the road made for burros).
We’ve also driven in Michigan, a state whose annual highway repair budget is $15.83. Unfortunately, for family reasons, we continue to drive in Michigan.
I’ll soon pull our pop-up camper, as Hubby insists I spell him. Look out, Zeke, Pete, Cedric, Gertrude, and Sister Shumpett!
And you thought you already were being driven crazy.
Your Extraordinary Ordinary: What’s your favorite — or least favorite — road construction story?