I Drove in Miami and Survived
I hate driving. I’ve done it for more than twenty-five years as either a pizza delivery driver or as a newspaper carrier and supervisor. More than fifteen hours a day at times, I was behind the wheel dealing with the idiots who must have bribed or threatened the DMV for a license. Once I went to writing full time, it was great relief that I hung up my keys for the most part.
And then we started traveling.
Now, I don’t mind long-distance driving. It’s actually quite relaxing. You get on a highway, set the cruise control and enjoy the scenery. This year alone the girls and I have taken at least six or seven trips and we have a minimum of five already scheduled for 2014. This past weekend we were in Miami to help fellow author, Taylor Fulks, celebrate winning the Reader’s Favorite Gold Award. The drive down wasn’t bad, at all. Driving once there, however, was an entirely different matter.
I thought rush hour traffic during holiday season here in my quaint city of Melbourne was bad. The people in Miami are downright crazy. The speed limit was 45 and they were doing 80. Horns were honking and I never figured out why. It was probably a warning that they were coming and to get the hell out of the way. At one point the traffic signals went to flashing yellow on one side and red on the other. Now the ones with the yellow weren’t cautious at all and kept going. The traffic facing the red kept edging their noses out into traffic waiting for someone to either stop or hit them. Drivers who wanted to switch lanes just switched and it didn’t matter that someone was already there. There were several that would race across four lanes of traffic merely to slide back over after passing one or two cars. I was surprised there weren’t more accidents littering the highways.
After the writer’s meet and greet Friday night, the girls and I along with authors, Taylor Fulks and Margie Miklas, decided to return to Bayside Marketplace for dinner. The traffic had thinned somewhat but there was still a back up on the ramp we had to get off of. Now that sweet, obnoxious GPS lady was telling me I had to make a left and then a quick right. The traffic seemed all to one side and I thought I remembered this street being a one way street, so I dodged to the left and went around.
It wasn’t a one way street.
I found myself in the wrong lane, but like the rest of Miami, I didn’t care. I kept going and jerked the van to the left and onto the street I needed. I felt like a native.
I noticed that Miami had two speeds really - a dead stop or light speed. We were either racing trying not to get run over or waiting in the long lines of honking vehicles to move another foot. There never seemed to be any in-between speed. We spotted police with radar one night, but for the life of me I didn’t know what they were going to call speeding. Everyone was already forty miles over the speed limit.
We made it out alive, I am pleased to say, but by the skin of our bumper. I am quite content with the rush hour traffic back home and will no longer complain. That is until holiday season really kicks in and then I’ll be waving my fist at all of the idiots on the road that need to be sent to Miami.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~