Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Driving in hell

Driving in new cities is always a challenge. The street layout provides no frame of reference. The landmarks are unfamiliar. North never seems to be where it's supposed to be. In-city driving is especially hard

That said, Baltimore is ridiculous. Like other cities, the streets are crowded. Downtown Baltimore seems to be wall to wall traffic. But wait, so are downtown Seattle and Los Angeles. Here, however there are two complications. First there are some of the local drivers. Driven mad by prolonged confinement in their vehicles, they exploit any tiny gap in traffic to cross three lanes to turn on to the one way street they seek. I also tried to play this game but simply did not possess enough of the suicidal impulses required to be very successful and merely missed my turns.

The other incredibly maddening characteristic of Baltimore driving are the pedestrian death squads. You would know them as jay-walkers. In friendly Seattle we would see these occasionally crossing against the light at a run or at least when it's safe. Perhaps you've even participated once or twice yourself. In Baltimore it's serious shit. Cross against the light, mid-street, through (hopefully) stopped traffic. B-town jaywalkers come in all shapes and sizes, colors and age groups. They're in great need of checking their med levels.

I've not determined the purpose of the crosswalks here, because nobody seems to use them. It all just contributes to the madness.

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