In Suburbia, I was surrounded on all sides by highway. It didn’t matter where you wanted to go, if you were going out of town more often then not the highway was your quickest and most direct way of getting there. Oh sure, there was almost always the option of taking back routes and what not, but why would you?
In the Catskills however, state roads are usually your only option if you are traveling through your own county and certain parts of the surrounding counties. And well, the county I live in…is the size of a state. Granted, that state is Rhode Island…the smallest state in our Great Nation. But work with me people. The county is as big as a freaking state!
So yeah, we spend an insane amount of time traveling. You want to go to the grocery store? Oh okay, drive 15-30 minutes to the grocery store. Need to go to Walmart? That’s a 45 minute drive. The mall? To see a movie? All about 45 minutes away. And forget about the daily commute to and from work…one to two hours commute daily depending on where you might live…and this has nothing to do with traffic. It’s because everything is so spread out and there are NO highways to jump on to zip from one place to another.
As you can imagine, since you have to travel to do just about anything…you tend to make a day out of even the simplest of errands even it’s not your intention. You might need to make a trip to the pharmacy to pick up a bottle of Tylenol but since your there, you might as well do your banking, do the grocery shopping, pick up your dry cleaning, etc. Next thing you know, you’ve used up a whole day.
Today my husband and I attended a Luncheon. The entire affair was less than four hours, but we were in the car for three additional hours. The place where the Luncheon was held was about an hour away. The rest of the time was spend backtracking as we were carpooling and had to pick up someone in another town…then backtracking almost to where we started the trip to get to the town where the Luncheon was held. There was no other way to get there. And this is normal.
When I lived in Suburbia, I took the ability to drive for granted. Oh sure, I had my own car since I was 19 but even if I didn’t drive a ride was close by. Relatives lived close by. There were several buses. Taxis. Here, forget it. Most towns don’t have taxis or bus service. Rail service up here has been discontinued for decades. Biking and walking are not often an option due to sheer distance and/or weather. I would probably go crazy if it wasn’t for being able to drive and having a car of my own.