Saturday, April 19, 2008

Doing The Speed Limit In Your Sleep

It was late and it was my turn to drive. Ed had already climbed into the sleeper, getting himself ready for a nice Rip Van Winkle rest. On this particular trip, I'd be going through St. Louis, passing the Gateway Arch.
I love passing the arch at night, specifically when it's very late and there is not another soul on the road. It's so much easier to stare at the beauty of the arch when you don't have to watch what four other lanes of traffic are doing. Tonight, the moon was bright, its luminescence dancing in the Mississippi river with the rest of the city lights. The arch was lit up and its brushed stainless steel gleamed from the very same moonglow.

When entering certain cities, there are several ways to pass through. Sometimes, we just stay right on the interstate, other times we take the loop around. It really depends on the time of day and the traffic situation. I like to plow straight through, as I don't mind the traffic, but Ed likes to go around. Sometimes figuring out the route can be confusing if not familiar with the area. I often rely on our GPS (we use the Tom Tom program on our PalmPilot, and fondly refer to it as "Tommy"), Ed relies on his experience; he's been through these cities literally thousands of times over the past twelve years.

Tonight before he climbed into bed, he said to me, "Wake me up when you get to St. Louis. Don't listen to what Tommy says, I want to make sure you go the right way. And don't take the loop. Take 70 straight through." Hmm. This was something different, letting me go through the city.

I usually just read the signs. I mean, it's not hard to figure out how to get through the city; I've been through here hundreds of times myself and I'm not an idiot. But, I do what he said and woke him up when I was approaching St. Louis.

"Baby! Wake up, I'm in St. Louis. Do I go 55 or 70?" I said to him.

"Do the speed limit." he answered. He sounded groggy.

"What?? No! Do I go 55 or 70???" I'm talking about which interstate to take, he's talking about how fast he thinks I should be going. Typical.

"Just DO the speed limit!" he repeated.

"Are you freakin' retarded?? You need to answer me NOW, I'm coming into the city. 55 or 70?"

No answer.

"OK, fine. Since you're not telling me, I'm going the way I want to go!"

Silence. He must have gone back to sleep. Which is fine, because he's never very lucid when he's tired anyway.

The thing is, 55 and 70 are the same road for a bit, as it crosses over the river. I don't remember these things about every city in the country, I just wing it when I get there. Once I saw the signs saying 55 to 70, I knew I was going the right way, and I knew I had to cross the river to get to Illinois, so there was a big 'ol clue.

It's clear I don't need Tommy or Sleepy Head Ed to give me directions, and if it weren't for my wanting to take a good long look at the Arch, I could have done it with my eyes closed.


Ann said...

I grew up in St. Louis, and really miss the Arch. Every city should have one!

Anonymous said...

Where's the picture?