Crossing into the 10,000+ mile range of this trip, I am having a blurry epiphany, whatever the heck that means. I set out on the trip with a goal of “seeing what this country is really about”. While I have traveled far, I in actuality see just the tiinest sliver of a sliver, and most of that is out the car window.
But I am feeling a growing restlessness with the amount of “sameness” one sees everywhere. Yes, many of us rant about the plethora of Big Box strips that ring our cities but also our small towns. Just exactly where is this place?
It is everywhere. It is the Plastification of America, the spreading of sameness because it is comfortable, familiar, safe.
I’m feeling there is something corrupting in this, of our culture, uniqueness. I cant really formulate it, but from conversations I have had with a few people, I am just bubbling with something.
It got to me while driving down Interstate 85 yesterday (pictured above). The interstate serves a supposed purpose of faster transport, but it too forces that sameness on us, trapped in our boxes, shielded from towns by rows of trees and strings of fast food chains and fule stations. But it was the denseness of the traffic, the boxed in that got under my skin.
In the morning, I had a glorious drive on a state road, 360 in Virginia, and it was a different, wide open experience:
Sure you do not do 75 miles per hour, but there is no one boxing you in, and you see real homes, farms, places like McGill’s store, a front yard filled with Halloween Zombies, small towns with real main streets. Cows. Barns. Abandoned Churches.
It felt… Sunny
So I pulled off I85. I set my GPS to avoid highways. Sure it made my journey an hour longer, but I felt lighter. Joyous. I was drinking in the landscape.
So again, I don’t know what to do with this sense of discontent. But I am tired of being part of something plastic, paved over. Now I cannot be a hermit, and I do have to purchase my gas, and do partake of the boxes in some degree. But I find myself seeking the places that lack this shellac.
They exist because we feed them.