The metro area of Columbia has nearly 500,000 people. As I drove ... and drove .... and drove... to get anywhere, I realized just how spoiled I am in my little haven here. I have to admit it.
I'm a traffic snob now.
In our little boonies town, with less than 1,000 souls residing, there are about 20 different streets and the same amount of stop signs. We have one 4-way stop up by the school and one very small subdivision on the edge of town.
There are no stop lights. We're even a good bit off the nearest highway, a true "blink and you miss it" town.
The speed limit is 20 mph. Many streets are dirt. Many in need of repair. People drive golf carts and four wheelers around (there was a city meeting about this at some point before I got here). I've even seen people go by on horses.
In Columbia, I found myself constantly underestimating how long it would take me to get somewhere. It was a minimum 30 minutes, but traffic or construction could increase that significantly. Thirty minutes of stopping and starting, stopping and starting, driving and driving and driving, cars whizzing by me, trying to find someone, ANYONE, who would let me get over into whatever lane I needed to be in.
One time I got on the wrong highway and ended up two exits down from where I needed to be. It seemed like I wasted half my day in the car.
I've forgotten how to drive like this. And the thing is, I don't want to learn again!
Don't get me wrong. I did enjoy the wide selection of restaurants, parks, museums, department stores, grocery stores, gas stations, etc. Here we don't have much and there's exactly one of anything we do have.
But there's a measure of freedom in that simplicity. The longer I am here and let this style of living seep into me, the less I am cut out for the big city.
It was fun to visit, but it was also nice to come home.
|No big trucks on our little streets!|
|We have street posts instead of street signs.|
|There are lots of gravel roads around here.|