The Toll Road.
Honestly I’m not sure if it’s supposed to be capitalized, but, for the purpose of this post, I’ll leave it as such.
The Toll Road can be a myriad of things: an emotional outlet for you to scream alone in your car, a time for you to be alone with your thoughts (lame), a stretch of road that allows for you to appreciate the beauty of Texas… The list goes on.
However, that last one is untrue because let’s face it. The Toll Road landscape is just super ugly. Yeah the speed limit is 80 and that’s fabulous, but I have to assume that’s because Speed Limit Deciders (actual title) know how boring the Toll Road is and they want you to be able to get out ASAP.
When I drive from Waco to Boerne or vice versa, my Toll Road journey is about an hour. During my most recent drive, I decided that the Toll Road is what I think Purgatory must be like.
Think on that for a second. Purgatory is not necessarily good or bad; time just…….goes on.
From henceforth, I shall refer to the Toll Road as Purgatollroadatory.
(According to the Interweb, Purgatory is actually bad, but that messes up my comparison. And who doesn’t love a good pun? Work with me folks.)
Purgatollroadatory is needing to go to the bathroom solely because you know you can’t. There are no rest stops (or civilization) throughout the entire hour. Even if you don’t initially have to go to the bathroom, you convince yourself that you do because that’s just the way life works. It’s like craving Chick-fil-A on a Sunday. And after you make that comparison while driving, you have to go to the bathroom and now you’re also hungry.
Purgatollroadatory is the paranoia that every other car is a cop. The speed limit is 80 (so you obviously go 90) and that’s swell, but driving that fast programs your mind to assume you could be pulled over at any moment. Every other vehicle on the road becomes a (not)cop. You see a Honda in the rear view mirror – policeman?! Nah just a (not)cop. Just got passed by a green Chevy – is it the po-po?! Nah just a (not)cop. Ugh I hate 18-wheelers OH WAIT is that the Fuzz?! Nah just a (not)cop. This constant state of terror makes for a rather unpleasant drive.
Purgatollroadatory is the absence of phone service. I don’t know about you but Spotify and Pandora are useless to me on this road. I’m left with the ancient art of radio. I have to settle for stations lousy with static that exclusively play a combo of Shake It Off and All About That Bass. Pepper in the occasional Beyonce and you’ve got the recipe for a seriously feminist roadtrip. But then you start feeling too womanly and empowered and, by no fault of your own, you’re going 92 and you see 8 more (not)cops. The cycle continues.
***Or you have spotty service which is actually worse because now you’re in fear of both random song-stops (at the best parts of all the songs) and (not)cops.
Purgatollroadatory is when the sun is riiiiight out of reach of the flip visor thing. I used to believe the earth rotated around the sun throughout the day. However, I know now that this was naïve. The sun can actually sense when you are on the Toll Road, and it makes the executive decision to remain in your eyes throughout the hour. In fact, it could be 11 at night and the sun will make its way back up to your driver’s side window just in time for you to enter Purgatollroadatory.
Purgatollroadatory is an unchanging, fixed, static, monotonous setting. You may notice I just added a few synonyms for “unchanging” to make the previous sentence more dramatic; sometimes I’m redundant. And repetitive. Anyways, since the setting is unchanging, you have to find another way to distract yourself in order to pass the time. You decide to create a mental to-do list.
But pretty soon, your to-do list overtakes your mental capacity and then you realize it only took three minutes to completely overwhelm yourself and now you still have 57 long minutes to drive and deal with the sweaty panic attack you’ve triggered.
Purgatollroadatory is that one car. There’s always that one car. That one car you pass, and then they change into your lane so they can tailgate you for a few seconds (I guess to teach you a lesson?) and then change back and pass you. You could ignore them but the competitive middle school athlete in you takes the bait and y’all keep passing each other and cutting each other off until either you lose interest or an inevitable (not)cop enters your peripheral vision. It becomes exhausting.
Don’t get me wrong. I enjoy many aspects of the Toll Road, and I certainly prefer it to driving through lovely a-3-hour-drive-becomes-a-17-hour-drive Austin. But to me, the Toll Road is just an hour of nothing. An hour of waiting. Not good, not bad, just waiting.
Anyone up for a roadtrip?!