Interstate Five

A Datsun Z80 honked its horn at me yesterday while I was in the left hand lane, the fast lane, doing a little over 70 miles an hour.


I became a little mad. The Z80 veered around me and went down the highway. I was a little mad and wanted to get in front his car and cut him off. I wasn’t livid or anything but I wanted to teach him some civility — that is how I thought about it only it wasn’t as articulate as that — it wasn’t that I wanted to teach him anything except I felt a little ashamed that I was in the fast lane and I wasn’t driving fast enough.

I don’t really like driving down the freeway at seventy miles an hour even in light traffic. On an empty highway it is sort of nice, but among traffic going anywhere from fifty miles an hour to over ninety it seems like I am going to slam into a car at any second. The surface of the freeway itself is scared with high speed gashes, long streaks of rubber, broken pieces of car on the shoulder, strips of split tires, hunks of metal, and dropped garbage from overflowing loads, cushions, blankets, fragments of plywood. For the last several weeks I keep passing the front end of cars. On the Mercer On ramp there was the front end of an Acura or Toyota sports car lying in the shoulder, the entire thing with the license plate and everything. For several days it lay against the cement wall covered in ivy except where it was gashed from high speed collisions and then in inexplicably it had been carefully set on the ground, and then several days later it was gone. I saw the same thing gold instead of red ten miles south coming north on I-5, the front end of a sport car laying against the cement dividers abutting the shoulder.

I have yet to see a wreck happen on the highway, although I see the aftermath of wrecks in various state of clean up once a week or so on the interstate. Usually it is in a region of merging traffic mixed with high speed and low speed streams of cars. The wrecks cars are pulverized. Their front ends mashed. Their doors ripped off.

Last week an ambulance headed to Harborview passed me. I could see it a mile behind me on the freeway coming through the traffic. Everyone pulled over and slowed down to fifty miles an hour and then it kept by as it passed I finally heard the siren and then it was kept moving through the traffic causing it slow and move to the right as it inched its way at eighty miles an hour closer to the medical center.

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