commuter complaints

I haven't had a terribly difficult time making the transition from New York to Michigan. As a farm girl, I'm a little surprised that I haven't even been overly opposed to living in the city of Plymouth. However, there are certain aspects of the small city life that I don't particularly enjoy. Trains and traffic in general are right up there in my Top Things I Hate About City Life.

First, trains.
While I love the John Mayer song "Stop This Train," I do NOT love the trains in Plymouth. When I lived in western New York, trains were pretty cool because I rarely saw them. Occasionally, one would chug through little old Albion, stopping traffic for about 5 minutes, as small boys (and probably their fathers, too) watched in amazement. I even came to think of trains as an old-fashioned means of transport. No longer. Downtown Plymouth is, quite literally, surrounded by train tracks, which allow trains to invade our quaint city multiple times a day... and night. I can't even count how many nights I have been woken - just at the precipice of my REM cycle - by the incessant blare of a train horn. Really? We see you. I can understand a warning toot on the horn, but honestly - laying it on for 10 seconds straight? UNNECESSARY. In addition, some of these terrors have been known to hold up traffic for at least 13 minutes at a time! And that was only after I decided to watch the clock after I had been waiting for a bit. As if they don't know I'm in a hurry to IKEA? I've been here for almost 8 months - I don't think trains are something one grows accustomed to.

Second, traffic. I can't decide whether I hate driving around here more than I hate trains in the middle of the night - it's a close call. There are several factors that play into my frustration. While I love the 70 mph highways, I hate Michigan drivers. It's a bit annoying when I'm driving a comfortable 78 mph and multiple drivers are still riding my bum. I'd expect it if I was going 68, or even 70. But 78? Back off! To roughly borrow an idea from my dear friend Jeanette, someone had better be dilated 10 centimeters and pushing in that truck.

Outside the 70 mph highways, the highest speed limit near us is 50 mph, on a road I scarcely travel. Our city limit is 25 mph. Twenty-five. Because 30 would just be reckless.

Let's also discuss the state of the roads in metro-Detroit. Holy pot holes. Apparently these conditions are so treacherous because of the nasty winter weather and large allotment for truck weight. Whatever it is - it is sucking the life out of Michigan roads. People talk about craters on the moon - have they seen my route to work?! I'm starting to buy into the theory that dinosaurs went extinct because a meteor struck the earth, and that meteor landed right on Ann Arbor Trail.

I'm never alone on the road. There is always someone driving 5 mph under the limit or 15 mph over. I can never just drive leisurely at my preferred 5-8 over. There is no such thing as a "back road" in metro-Detroit. The closest thing we've got is Hines Drive, which is everyone's favorite route to and from work because there are so many fewer lights than every other road. I miss the roads of Barre and Kent and Lyndonville, etc. I expect rough roads in the country. I do not expect rough roads where the average income is greater than the sum of all incomes in Orleans County.

I've just decided to take all this as another sign from God that I'm meant to work at home. And by "work" I mean bake, read, and make ornaments.


  1. i am with you on trains. i have lived at my house for 4.5 years and i still hear the trains. i think that people who claim to have grown accustomed to them are seriously just deaf. i lay in bed at night imagining myself as a giant and plucking up and throwing those horn-blasting trains as far as i can. (i also imagine the same thing about the semi's flying past my house using their air brakes or whatev it is that makes such a ruckus).

  2. word. yet another reason why it's hard for me to love others.

  3. all I have to say is: amen.

    and as far as trains go... when I was younger, I lived about a quarter mile from the train tracks. At 1am, never failing, I would wake up to the blare of the horn, and then be rocked back to sleep by the train making the ground move.

    and-I have been caught at the train tracks near Ann Arbor Trail for at least a half hour a couple of times! I wish they built bridges over the train tracks so we could just pass...