I live near the traffic jam on the front of our local weekly. The mess is because they’re putting in a tram line, which is very cool, but apparently a nightmare for drivers.
The beautiful thing? I had no idea. I ride my bike to work now, and if I didn’t ride, I would take the subway. So the traffic patterns of my car-centric (for Sweden) Solna are a mystery to me. We are talking about getting me a driver’s license but never for the day to day.
Here is something from a passage I wrote on why I still hate to drive:
But it took New York and New Jersey to finally take me from fast to angry, as I completed the crazy car trifecta of the Southland (LA), the Balkans and now the Tri-State area. I took a newspaper job that meant hours of driving up and down a 8-lane stop-and-go boulevard of dusty exurban strip malls. On weekends I suffered the potholes and chaos of New Jersey highways, the hell of the Brooklyn Bridge on a Friday night, and the gridlock of the West Side Highway on a Monday morning. I got buzzed time after time after time, almost always by young guys taking their rage out on me, never with the fastest car, now in a hand-me-down four-cylinder 2002 Dodge Neon.
Mine is not an aggressive rage. It is defensive, built on honor and a sense of outrage. I will not get in your face. But do not dare get in mine. Even then my anger does not ignite into a big ball of flame. I fume, sulk, hold a mean grudge. This withdrawn, quiet anger is just as male as the raving lunatic beating his chest, mirrored in how I cried easily as a child, and then learned not to cry.
Instead I learned to seethe.
The only problem with the bike riding is the dark. I had to go buy a fluorescent vest today, to go with my bright yellow helmet. It’s safe. It’s necessary. But I shudder to think what my 12-year-old self would say about me now.
Ahhh, to ride free in the California sun.
But I’ll take dorky over dead. And I’ll take dorky over the traffic jam …