I had to go out to that cool map place again, which is on Lebanon Road just past Fessler’s Lane. I decided to take the interstate.
Now, like most sane people, I try to avoid the interstate to get places around town, because it’s always a nightmare of lost out of town drivers and pissed off truckers, but I thought it’d be quicker.
And, I have to admit, I kind of love that trip, from here to Fessler’s Lane.
I’m trying to think how to describe it…
Okay, imagine three soap bubbles stacked in a pyramid, two on the bottom, one at the apex. The bottom left bubble is formed by I-440, I-40, and I-65. The bottom right bubble is I-65, I-40, I-24, and I-440. The top bubble is I-40, I-24, and I-65. So, basically, you have four interstates that make these crazy loops around town and there are no stable lanes, so you can’t say “I’m on I-40 headed east into town on my way to Knoxville, eventually, therefore, if I just get in this lane and stay here, no matter what the other traffic does, this lane will remain I-40.” Oh no. If you’re going to drive the interstates through town, you’re going to change lanes.
I, for instance, just to get from my office, which is right off I-40 to Fessler’s Lane, which is also right off I-40 maybe three miles from here, had to merge onto I-40, then immediately get into the middle lane to keep from being shot right down I-65. Then I had to switch back into the right lane to prevent inadvertently shooting back up I-24 towards Clarksville.
The lanes come and go like a bad T-DOT dream, but what’s so cool about it, if you can just calm the screaming voice in your head that’s yelling about how you’re going to get crushed by that Roadway truck, there’s a moment, right after I-65 shoots off south and all the northbound traffic is trying to cross all the way from the right to the left to shoot up I-24 and all us eastbounders are trying to figure out if we’ve picked the right lane, where it’s like you’re dreaming right along with whatever engineer designed that nightmare.
It’s like the whole road goes quiet and no one brakes, but everyone slows down, and all the cars coming from the right slide across two lanes like it’s nothing, like I-40 and I-65 are ghosts passing through each other, hardly even suspicious of the existence of the other.
Don’t get me wrong. It’s a mess and whoever designed it should be regularly kicked, but sometimes, when I drive it, I’m dumbfounded by how beautiful it is.