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  • dawnellenronco


Not to pick on I-540, because every public roadway has them — but I recently encountered all these types in the five-minute ride between the Falls of Neuse and Capital Boulevard exits.


For this guy in the Audi, the cars are obstacles on a slalom course. He weaves in and out with Olympian skill in a race to a distant exit, where (heaven forbid!) he might have to wait at a red light while the cars he passed catch up to him.

Careful, Harold

They’ve probably been married for 60 years. The driver can see better, but his wife is far more alert. Together, they manage to stay in the lane as they creep down the highway, she urgently advising him not to miss their rapidly approaching exit yet a mile away.


She’s had her driver’s license for, like, at least six months. Her parents’ SUV periodically drifts over the rumble strip, but she hasn’t noticed — her attention is on her phone, of course, where she’s just shared a hilarious meme with her BFFs.


The rumble grows louder until I see the grill of a huge silver pickup truck in my rear-view mirror. He’s impatient because he’s trapped behind me by the long line of cars in the left lane. When he finally sees his opportunity, he blasts by with his huge, after-market dual exhausts, a tattered flag snapping in the air behind him.


A freshly detailed Acura gleams ahead, but despite my legal speed, I overtake it quickly. Caramel highlights glisten from the driver’s hair; her lips move in sync with gestures from her French-tipped nails. As I pass, I see she’s conducting a Zoom meeting from the laptop on her console.

Duct Tape

The trunk is lashed down with twine. Duct tape holds the bumper in place, and the tailpipe spews white smoke. The driver would keep up with the speed limit if he could, but he just nods in apology as I pass, grateful his car moves at all.

Just Cruisin’

Yup, this is me and most of the other drivers — just cruisin’ by unnoticed, unhurried, unimpaired, undistracted, unthreatening, driving inspected cars with no agenda except getting from one place to another… Boring, right?

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