James McClellan wrote about the traffic in Lower Arkansas this week in Bug’s Bleat. Since “retiring” a few weeks ago, he says
I’ve been working in El Dorado and consequently having to drive in the traffic headed east on US 82 each morning. Of course, South Arkansas “Traffic” usually consists of an occasional log truck or maybe 2 or 3 cars following a slightly slower vehicle. But, thanks to the highway passing lanes between here and El Dorado, those don’t slow anyone down for long.
When talking to folks who live in Dallas or Houston or Baton Rouge I also like to remind them that we have traffic problems here in Magnolia, too. Just this week there were five or six cars stacked up at the signal light on Frederic Street by McDonalds. It took me almost a minute to get though that intersection and onto US 82 business going east.
I gotta tell you, I miss living in Magnolia more than I miss my hometown. As a group, the people there were more like my family than any other place I’ve lived (aside from my actual family). And, of course, some of my best memories are there. For example, the worst traffic I’ve ever encountered. Here are my L.A. Traffic stories (note: what little tendency I have towards exaggeration, I learned from James).
When people in Baton Rouge complain about the traffic, I tell them they ain’t seen nuthin’. Once after the Christmas parade in Magnolia, we made our way through the crowds back to the car. Once we finally made it the 2 blocks to the car, we had to sit in traffic waiting to get out. This was probably the worst traffic I ever saw in Magnolia – it took us at LEAST 10 minutes to make the 3 miles back to our house.
Small town living entails a different attitude. Driving to El Dorado was an all day affair, to be saved only for weekends and emergencies. Living in “the city” now, I’ll drive that far two or three times a day without thinking about it – somehow, going to someplace that is just “on the other side of town” doesn’t seem as much trouble as driving to another town – distance isn’t the issue. Anyway, when we first moved to Magnolia (from Denver), one of the banks had a commercial announcing the opening of a new branch, “for your convenience” over by the college. What is it, 2 miles from the Main Street branch (down by the Burger Blast) over there? We thought that was hilarious – “These hicks can’t even drive 2 miles to get to the bank – they gotta have another branch around the corner.” Not so long after that I realized I had joined the ranks of “the hicks” when I pulled up to the ATM on Main Street to find it out of order, and my first thought was “Aw man, now I gotta drive all the way over to the college!”