This Side Up

Sure cure to Warwick traffic: read while you drive


I’ve found the cure to the monotony of having to drive around the airport.

You’ve noticed to get to most places in Warwick you’ve got to take either Airport Road, West Shore Road or Main Avenue.

When I came to the city long before GPS and there was still Almacs, IGA in Greenwood and Governor Francis – not to mention a dozen pharmacies – I was amazed how the airport was plopped in the middle of the city, turning Warwick into a huge donut – a hole there was no way of crossing. Someone didn’t plan it well at all.

But we’ve got the airport and it’s only gotten bigger – I mean the hole, not the donut. It makes for some long drives when, in actuality, if you were a crow and didn’t get sucked into a jet engine, it’s just a short distance away.

My answer to this waste of time is reading.

No, I don’t have (although it would be fun to try) one of those self-driving cars. That’s got to happen here one of these days and I want to write about the experience – and come to think of it, I could be writing about it while being transported through Warwick.

And, no, I’m not stealing glances at an iPad or open book while squeezed between lanes on Main Avenue. Main Avenue has to be the city’s worst road, especially after a snowstorm and you’re centimeters from trucks with plows heading directly at you.

I’m talking about audio books.

I always thought my mother was stretching it when she’d announce she’d “read” some tome that I had dropped before completing the first chapter. More accurately, she had “listened” to someone else read the book from the cassettes and recorder she kept at her bedside. She never graduated to “reading” books while driving, which I imagine would have been the case had there been CDs.

For years I’ve turned to audio books as a great way to break up a long familiar drive, especially when at the wheel alone and it runs into the early morning hours. And I’ve found that usually I can get through most of a book between both segments of the trip – the way up and the trip home – or collectively about 10 hours. What’s left is a single disc that surprisingly doesn’t take all that long while driving around town, which goes to show how much time it takes to get around Warwick.

And then there was last week when the library notified me they had an audio copy of Bill Clinton and James Patterson’s book, The President is Missing. I planned on “reading” it on a drive north but got no further than the third disc by the time I was back in Rhode Island.

I was hooked. Suddenly, I was volunteering to drive to Dave’s Marketplace to get that loaf of bread Carol said could wait or running over to City Hall ostensibly to check in with the Board of Canvassers to see if everything was a go for tomorrow’s primary election. The intrigue had me caught up, would they be capable of identifying and neutralizing the cyber virus that could shut down the country, who was behind it and who in the White House staff had a hand in the skullduggery?

Remarkably, I found myself no longer riding the bumper of the car in front of me to make the left turn from Warwick Avenue to Airport Road before the light turned red and I’d be faced with a wait of several minutes. Instead, believe it or not, I was wishing the light would change and I could get to the end of the chapter.

“Reading” has taken the rush and aggravation out of city driving, motorists who can’t deal with the Apponaug roundabouts and even the proliferation of campaign signs. It beats talk radio and the classical station I turn to for relief.

Try it. It neutralizes that urge to lean on the horn or yelling to the motorist in front of you.

Who knows, they could be “reading,” in which case they wouldn’t care.


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we needs a firm hand at the mayeroral orafice that is willing to reopen the airport contract and rip the guts outta it so that we can have are city back. plus get rids of eye 95. and the railroad tracks. bring us back to the days when amurica wuz grate

Tuesday, September 11, 2018