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driving crazy

Although I dread owning a car, I jump at the chance to keep my driving skills current. So I was thrilled last night when a friend requested my services to bring his wife's car home. He was working late, so the roads were quiet when we started.

He picked me up and we headed downtown where we hopped on a highway I did not know existed. This was the beginning of entering the warped "car zone". The car we were picking up was in one inner-ring suburb, west of the city and we were taking it to another inner-ring suburb located north of the city.

We got to the car and then with very little idea of where we were going (but a cell phone in my pocket in case of emergencies) I followed him from one suburb I've never been to another one just as strange.

Zooming behind the little yellow bug, driving a grand old boat, I entered an alternate Minneapolis that was previously unknown. We couldn't have driven for more than fifteen or twenty minutes but we were hopping highways so fast my head was spinning - 394 to 94 to 694 to 57 to 63 to 42 - I lost count. It was all cement around me, roads, roads, and more roads. I vaguely recall obnoxious large signs by the sides of the roads. I must have passed trees and plants but they were all so far away they never reached my radar. All the highways were at least three lanes wide (on each side), sometimes more.

The comfort that my friend knew exactly where he was going made me realize what a large aspect of the city I do not know. The highways, the suburbs, I can't tell them apart and they all blur. However, from the distant the city looses its distinctness as well. When you just drive around it each day the crime statistics and the scare stories can stand out more than any positive news that trickles out.

It once again made me reflect on how much I loathed Dayton (Ohio), where I owned a car and lived in the suburbs. I wonder if anyone who moves to the suburbs directly really ever gets comfortable and enjoys the city they live around.

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