My hometown of Goose Creek, SC will celebrate its 50th Anniversary this year. What were once dirt roads and acres upon acres of trees in 1961 are now potholes on ill-designed intersections with several fast-food joints on every corner. Fun constitutes trips to Wal-Mart and the bowling alley at odd hours of the night—not much excitement or variety. But, it’s home. Goose Creek is roughly twenty-one miles from Downtown, and I make the trek five days a week for school.
My ‘01 Jetta gets me from Point A to Point B, but just barely. In the last couple of months, the “convenience” of being able to roll down my windows or open the trunk has ceased. I’m lucky I can lock the damn thing, much less have the luxury of interior car lighting when I’m in the darkness of St. Philip’s parking garage. Yet, I depend on this car; my family depends on this car. This past winter, I’ve detected a rattle in the engine, and when I turn the wheel all the way in either direction, some unknown part screeches like a banshee. I’m due for an oil change soon. Car problems are never-ending.
My car’s one among thousands, racing to get home. You turn on the 5 o’clock news, and Debi Chard’s pointing out the sluggish traffic around “The Merge” on I-26. That’s the life of a commuter. Driving through the same concrete jungle, five times a week, gets redundant. I’ve memorized potholes, manhole covers, and bumps along the roads. Traffic is my nightmare; more than fifteen minutes, I’m cranky and cursing like a sailor at the jackass in front of me who does not know how to accelerate and cannot brake without putting half of their body weight on the peddle. I’ve got the weak, decrepit knees of a sixty-year-old. Commuting doesn’t help them, nor does the uneven, bricked sidewalks on campus. But, it can always be worse; I could live in Moncks Corner or develop a limp.