Welcome INDY I-95! The road! The Rage! The Horror! The route that dares you to drive the speed limit. When you have merged onto I-95 from Route 1 out of Christiana, Delaware bound for Philadelphia, you are entering the Thunderdome! Where speed is a drug, lanes are your life, and exits are your escape.
The Rage is a purr! The horror is a nursery rhyme! The Road is simply a road. The first few weeks after COVID placed her hand on the world. The roar of the Thunderdome was suddenly quiet: no more screams, no more drugs. The lane is merely a lane and your life is yours. COVID has shown us what I-95 was meant to be and a prayer for what we hope it remains.
I am a country boy. Born and raised in the southeast corner of Arkansas. I traveled on my first Interstate when I was a child, but I did not drive on my first Interstate until I was 18. I was used to backroads. Backroads, county highways, and dirt roads were familiar. They were predictable. Only those who knew dared navigate, and I knew them all. You had to know them all when you grew up in the country.
They were large. They were fast. Many people didn’t follow the laws of the state and instead followed the rules of the roads. You flow with the traffic, not the speed limit. You drive offensively, not defensively. You merge regardless of the other drivers and vehicles that occupy the lane. You learn quickly that if you don’t follow the rules of roads, you will be prisoner to roads.
Driving back and forth to Philly from Delaware, I knew the rules. I was the rules. No matter how tired you were, you knew you had to be alert on I-95. This highway was not for the weak. I feared the road but I would not let the fear control me. So, I dared to face the fear and avoid being a prisoner to the road.
Businesses shutting down! Stay at home orders in place! Traveling came to a stop! And to my surprise, so did I-95. Like a toothless old tiger wandering the jungle, it was a beast in name alone but in actuality, NOT!
The few drivers all seemed confused. What is I-95 without road rage? Without combat merges? How do you keep up with the flow of traffic when there is no traffic?
The gates were open. The guards seemed disoriented. Is it even a jailbreak if everyone forgot this was a jail?