I got to make a trip back into occupied territory this weekend for my great grandmother’s ninetieth birthday. I saw my two nieces and loads of family and while that was an amazing experience, I have something to tell you: Interstates are fucking terrible and are a cancer. They do carry goods from place to place with great efficiency, but they also act as blinders to our fate should we lose in our endeavors. I drove four hours on just normal two lane roads and byways through towns that probably twenty years ago were still alive yet passing through them now, I see that they are dying or already dead.
I saw rows of buildings laying vacant and destitute. There were boarded up windows shuttering every home. Houses that once were surrounded with well manicured lawns and little white kids playing with the family dog were now laying in ruin and disrepair, or vacated by the previous tenants for greener pastures and whiter towns. Trucks sat in the back of some old, long forgotten pasture, just rusting away like the dreams of the boy who bought it when the world was new and he had nothing but the future ahead of him.
I got onto the interstate again to go back into occupied territory; the alien world where I am from but is now more foreign to me than a long lost relative with Alzheimer’s forgetting my name. The interstate is so disgusting and sterile. There is no subtle architecture or creative form other than a billboard for Sneaky Pete’s Adult Emporium XXX adult shop. It’s only 10 miles to exit 43 and the scattered McDonald’s hawking the latest soy burger conglomeration. I passed semis and car loads of people looking for their destination and navigated through the gauntlet of speedtraps and endless road construction on interstates that are far below what one would expect from a country that is supposed to be functional and not teetering on the brink of absolute collapse.
I returned to Illinois and back to the local roads and started seeing families and shops and restaurants. Soon, dear readers, Small Town America will die, if we do not stop patronizing the Eisenhower National Highway System. Until next time brothers, call your parents, go to church, make your bed and mow your lawn, but most of all get off the damn interstate.