Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Overseas Highway

I know I am not alone when I say that the Overseas Highway this winter has been a perfect hell to drive. And I am not sure why as visitor numbers are down according to the keepers of statistics. Despite the lower than usual occupancy for the busiest time of year the single road through the Keys has seen the normal number (I guess) of minor and major wrecks, a few fatalities and endless slow moving lines for no visible reason whatsoever. It drives me crazy.
 I have come to the conclusion that no matter what the speed limit drivers in the Keys will proceed at ten miles an hour under in any and all circumstances. And that doesn't necessarily mean they are paying attention, keeping in their lanes or even enjoying the views of which there are several.Most likely they are playing with their infernal cell phones  and I am forced to believe a few of them must be drunk. They are after all in the land of "island time." That cutsey phrase drives me crazy.
The problems is that fact, unavoidable, that Highway One, known properly as the Oversea Highway (usually spoken as the Overseas Highway, the name I give it out of an uncharacteristic) desire to conform), is the only way to get from one end to the other of the islands. That means that if I am late to work and you are just starting your vacation we are likely to have different driving styles. I loath island time because it doesn't really exist. I'd like visitors in their expensive homes and hotel suites to accept that island time extends to their privileged bubbles. No room service? Island time! Sloppy boat ride crew? Island time! Restaurant out of your favorite food? Never mind, island time!
 In point of fact it's only island time when looking for an excuse to behave badly, like getting drunk in the middle of the day, but when services are required everyone expects services to be provided shipshape and Bristol fashion and promptly in a very first world fashion. I feel like answering 9111 Island Time! We'll get there when we get there, mon, and see what happens (after I get fired). So as a result in winter I start my commute at least ten minutes earlier than I do in summer. Often it still only takes 30 minutes but I can never be sure...island time is not what my colleagues want to hear when I am en route to relieve them!
The other stress is the passing game. Not many Americans have training or confidence to pass on a two lane highway. Those of us that can and do strike irritation into the hearts of those exposed as less than entirely skillful. I enjoy passing, it relieves the monotony of the same old drive day after day, and even though it may not save me much time in the grand scheme of things I enjoy exercising the skill. Safely. I don't pass at any cost and I prefer to fail to pass than have a close call, but when I pull out I pass as fast as possible and dick back into my lane without delay.
Some days it feels better to sit back and enjoy the scenery and that's another way to vary the drive. I guess my plea to visitors is look at the speed limit sign and now that in Florida you can drive five miles per hour over the posted limit and not get a ticket. Don't drive dangerously, pay attention and my basic rule is keep up with the vehicle in front. Even that simple desire is so often thwarted as visitors take it upon themselves to keep everybody five or ten below the limit. For those that know not how to pass the rage they feel could induce a coronary. I pass when able.
It's a wide well built road, flat, mostly straight, beautifully marked with  few cross streets of any size with any traffic, almost no pedestrians and occasional bicycles too dense to ride the bike paths, so you'd think we could drive 65 the whole way. Not a bit of it, but if we are held down to 55 ad 45 I wish everyone could keep their focus on driving and keep up with the vehicle in front. That is all and take your island time and shove where you like, just not in my face. I'm not retired yet!