Sunday, July 16, 2006

My wife and I have been on vacation this week and have been out of the state and away from computers for part of that time. Here are some observations from the road.

We were in Virginia to visit my mom and we hate taking I 95 all the way to the Richmond area. So, for years, we have been using US 301 for part of the trip to avoid the headaches of traffic around Washington DC. For a long time the route was a joy to drive: mostly small towns and farming areas.

Not any more.

It was astonishing to see just how built-up these one-time sleepy areas are now. Outside of Wilmington, Delaware, there are scores of new houses and big box stores to obviously fill the need of folks escaping from city life and waiting to create suburbs out of the country.

The traffic was horrendous in areas where it was once smooth-sailing.

Now I will admit that I generally despise the 'burbs. They have all of the disadvantages of living in a city (closeness to your neighbors,etc) and none of the fun of country life. The creation of more developments on one-time farmland is a mortal sin in my book.

I'd rather see our cities re-need than our rural areas taken away.

That's just me. But I would also like to see more mass transportation, the development of electric cars, more urban gardening projects and an emphasis on renovation of existing buildings.


Seen along the road: crabs fro $99 a bushel basket. You've got to be committed to seafood to pay a hundred bucks to some guy for a big basket of crabs that need to stay alive until you cook them.


We love Wa-Wa, a chain of uber-gas stations with a fantastic selection of food items for folks on the move and clean rest rooms.

A word on rest rooms: people can't be trusted.

Step into any public facility today and the odds are the toilets and urinals will flush themselves. The faucets and soap dispensers will be automatic as will the paper towels.

Obviously we can be trusted to flush things, turn off the water and tear off the right amount of towels.

Now I know these things are done in the name of cleanliness and thrift, but it goes to the heart of the matter that people are pigs when it comes to the use of public restrooms.

As someone who has had to maintain rest rooms for the public I will never understand the psychology of walking into someplace that will be used by another people and urinating all over it.

Is this our instinctive marking of territory manifesting itself?

Oh, well... Just know that in the South, Wa Wa has clean restrooms. Thank all that is holy!

©Gordon Michael Dobbs 2006. My words alone.


Kip W said...

Where did you go in Virginia? We moved up here (to West Springfield) from Newport News (after 20 years) just almost one year ago.

Mike Dobbs said...

My mom lives outside of Richmond. My family left Massachusetts in 1986 (my brother and his wife) and 1987 (my parents). My wife and I stayed here, but have visited frequently.

Kip W said...

Ah. Thanks! I still have friends all over Hampton Roads and up to Richmond.

Craig D said...

Gosh, we just finished driving from NC to NY through VA & WV and we didn't see a single WA-WA! I don't know that I've ever seen a WA-WA. I'll have to look for them on the next trek.

(We did find "The World Famous Mystery Hole" during an unplanned detour in VA. A quonset hut with a VW Beetle smashed into it. Huh?)