Longing for the days of the old familiar travel hazards

October 18, 2020

The mass exodus has started, or it will shortly. This phenomenon appears slowly, as if no one would notice, like when a Mafia don hasn’t been seen for a while. And then a lot of questions are asked, mainly by Robert De Niro. Although health experts are advising folks to stay home, due to coronavirus risk, some folks will still need to travel.

Here at home, we know what has happened. When it comes to people leaving the area, we don’t have to take the Omerta, the vow of silence. People are packing up and heading to warmer climates. Suitcases are packed, masks and sanitizers are riding shotgun, and RVs are loaded. And grandparents are strapped to the top of any moving vehicle. Then the occupants will idle for hours in the driveway, where fights over everything from the air-conditioning setting to the type of music will be settled peacefully with the game of rock, paper or scissors.

But with the beautiful weather we’ve experienced, it doesn’t seem possible that time of year has arrived. Or that folks would pack up and leave.

The warmer climates are beckoning, though, with such inviting local headlines as, “Giant boa constrictor breaks up mahjong game into a mad fleeing full-blown riot,” or “Twenty-foot alligator devours family’s mailbox.” All right, that’s more like it; who could resist the lure of a getaway?

Now I’m all for heading south. If you are uncomfortable flying, and who isn’t, you can always take a car trip. The one trip I took by car was very eye-opening. I got to see all the history and just imagine what things were like years ago. OK, so that’s when I became a frequent flyer.

Wherever you go, your car trip will be monitored by the local sheriff’s department, not because it is illegal, although I suspect it is, but because they see a northern state license plate. The good news is they usually don’t stop you, because the khaki polyester pants stretched across their thighs are so tight, the seams threaten to pop like a zit when they have to get out or their police vehicle and tell you to move on.

The other observation was all the gas stations along the way that had only one gas pump. Was this the movie “Deliverance,” or what? Now don’t expect fast service when you pull in for a fill-up. First you have to find the attendant, who usually is the sheriff out on patrol in those tight khaki polyester pants, and then you have to explain that Delaware is not the capitol of New Jersey and what you are doing on an American highway without an NRA sticker. Of course you also have to take an oath that you are not from New York City. They’ve heard things.

This takes some doing, with all the drug dealers and terrorists speeding past while you are stopped. You have to hold your stomach in and lean into your car so they can get by, what with all the pit bulls and white powder hanging out their windows. It is a fun trip, though, and you get to meet a lot of new people, like the lunatic in front of you at the local convenience store who is holding up the line because he doesn’t believe he has to pay for his coffee because he is the pope and just got here from the Vatican.

Personally, I like staying here for the winter. There is nothing like the smell of a fireplace flue that someone forgot to open or gloves roasting on an open heating vent. Bring it on – or not. Whatever you choose, stay safe.






  • Nancy Katz has a degree in creative writing and is the author of the book, "Notes from the Beach." She has written the column Around Town for the Cape Gazette for twenty years. Her style is satirical and deals with all aspects of living in a resort area on Delmarva.

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