Trina Machacek: Travel envy and politeness

Trina Machacek

Trina Machacek

Over the river and through the woods and across miles of ribbons of highways and byways, it’s travel season.
Oh, not summer travel season of vacationers suddenly stopping and not pulling off the road far enough so they can view a gaggle of gliding and landing geese or a heard of buffalo just standing looking at the crazy humans. Oh no my fellow scurrying friends. It’s hurry up, we are going to be late to grandma’s because of the weather or shortness of time off. Yes the holiday travel season is upon us. What a lovely thought.
I just returned from a few days away and on the drive both ways I did something that I suspect you would do if you had had my mother. Here’s the scenario. Two lane U.S. highway. Cars going 70 mph in both directions. Quick math says that if two cars hit that is like the two would be hitting at 140 mph. That’s really, really fast.
Now there are a lot of long flat stretches to pass on this road. But! Yes a fast scooting “but.” There is always someone who just needs to be out front. First in line. Has that “get there no matter what” attitude. Twice I needed to slow down as an opposite direction approaching car needed to pass someone and come too close for comfort as they pass aimed directly at me.
This causes me to become my mother. As these nuts come toward me I put my hand up in my windshield and wag a finger at them in a “NO. NO. NO.” reminder that there are those of us that wish to arrive alive. Uh not the middle finger. Mom was not like that. Me, however?
Don’t get me wrong. I have, on occasion, very, very few occasions, driven faster than I should. Wink. Wink. That’s not what I am saying. I am talking about someone putting MY life in their hands without the least bit of concern. Who does that? What is so important that someone needs to “get there” by taking minutes off my heart as I see them coming toward me on my side of the highway?
Living where I do I have come upon more than my share of accidents. Daylight or middle of the night. Never a good thing to be the first or last person to come upon an accident. So, when I wagged my finger at those drivers I was sending a message that possibly they saw and will remember as they travel their lives away on the highways that zip along under their comfy seats in cars and trucks at speeds faster than a clock ticks away their lives.
I recently talked to someone about the many long miles in the west that I travel. Where towns are a hundred or more miles apart. Travel in more populated states back east came up. Where there are towns close together and they go by over and over again.
I said that I found when going through states like that, that the time seems to go faster as the miles clicked off. I was surprised to hear her say that is not how she saw it. The speed limits changed so often it made for harder driving. You had to pay attention as to not miss any speed limit changes and risk the penalties. Out here in Nevada its miles and miles of the same speed limits until a town or city is in sight. I guess both have their ups and downs. That is travel envy on both sides of the road isn’t it?
It has been a few years since I have endured the pleasures of air travel. Apparently things have changed dramatically in those few years. Oh the stories I have heard on this front. I’m saddened by the changes of air travel. I LOVE to fly. But I am not at all looking forward to new flying regulations. I suppose learning and accepting the new flying process is no different than learning that new math stuff. AARRGGHH. At least we are not tied to our chairs until we get it right. Are we?
Yes today travel is different. Joyfully at the end of the road we’ll get there and be welcomed and held dearly by our loved ones. Also, if you are the destination, have your welcome mat out and a libation waiting for your guests. Undoubtedly they will welcome it with open hands ready to grasp and enjoy. Throw in a huge hug too.
Travel politeness and envy can go hand in hand. Here’s to us using all our fingers when waving at passing travelers.
Trina lives in Eureka. Her book, “They Call Me Weener,” is available on or email her at to get a signed copy.


Use the comment form below to begin a discussion about this content.

Sign in to comment