I’ve written before about the terrifying conditions of a typical Detroit rush hour. I haven’t driven in every city in the U.S., but I’ve driven in a few, and the closest match I can think of is Chicago, where traffic flies along at an insane speed, bunched up so close you can smell the other drivers’ sweat, until it can’t anymore. Detroiters love driving, and driving fast. They bring a certain skill to the endeavor, but it only takes one jerkoff to make a mistake, and lo, there are many on the road on a typical rush-hour weekday.
My new job requires twice-weekly days in Lansing, and Thursday was one of them. I left extra-early, with the aim of getting to the office shortly after 8 a.m. I switched on the radio once I reached cruising speed, and the first traffic bulletin informed me westbound 696 was closed at Orchard Lake Road, after an accident involving a pedestrian. Poor bastard, I thought. And then: WAIT. CLOSED? I’LL BE PASSING THAT EXIT IN 10 MINUTES. Or rather, I wouldn’t be passing it, but would instead be neck-deep in stopped traffic, being shunted off at some surface street on the far west side, with no idea how the hell I’d ever find my way back to I-96. I’ve been a work-from-homer for so long the whole west side of the metro is terra incognita. What to do? What to do? The I-75 interchange was seconds away. I took it south and executed a move I’m christening the Davison evasion, hopping onto this little-traveled spur of a freeway, a mere five miles or so in length, that connects I-75, the Lodge and a little more in both directions, but mainly exists to remind old-timers that no one really needs to get from one side of Highland Park to the other in three minutes, unless they’re running from muggers. Maybe you old-timers know the use for the Davison, but it was certainly welcome Thursday morning.
A helpful illustration for you out-of-towners.
The guy who died was an Ann Arbor firefighter. That’s the worst thing about freeway commutes — it’s so unnerving and stressful that you remember a well-executed evasive maneuver rather than the fact a man died. It’s the chariot race, for sure.
At this spot, there’s a sign posted on one of the ramps that says, “Follow the signs, not your GPS.”
Picking on Rick “Dead Man Walking” Santorum seems a bit of a waste of time, but what the hell, Charles Pierce does it so well.
America loves Skrillex? Not according to my daughter.
And I’m so tired I’m off to bed. Enjoy the weekend, all.