Saint Sava (saint_sava) wrote,
Saint Sava

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Driving in Issaquah.

Before the dawn of the Empire, the Pacific Northwest was dotted with small towns that had small roads to their small destinies. But when code became a commodity, the right side of the bell curve poured in and brought their SUVs with them. The two lane road that wound around the shores of Lake Sammamish, down past the Weyerhaeuser lumberyard, past the Darigold factory and the Masonic Lodge and the barber shop became a parking lot.

Front Street, the aorta of downtown Issaquah, is a two-lane road with few side-streets. Even in the best of times, congestion around the traffic lights ripples back for blocks, but when somebody needs to make a left turn against traffic, a clot the length of the entire town forms almost immediately. The scenario that arises when both lanes are capped by two cars, when neither one can complete their left turns because of each other, is difficult to translate into modern experience. Those of you who remember the autopsy from Crichton's The Andromeda strain share a metaphor with me.

In a way, I'm delighted by this. Washingtonians have an entirely different herd-mentality response to traffic congestion than most cultures. Nevertheless, I will be doing a lot of walking.

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