...or tries to...

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Federal Highway




The Dadaists would have loved Route 1. In this part of Florida we call it Federal Highway, which makes it sound starchy and solemn. But it's not. At all. In a way, it's a mess here, all mismatched strip malls and empty lots, broken concrete, abandoned shops, car dealerships, billboards, with confusingly brand-new Italianate town homes sprouting up in between. It makes as much sense as the entire human story, I guess, with different purposes overlapping, banging into each other, crumbling away, scabbing over. Maybe its weirdness is basic: everything is just slightly removed from their original purposes: wicker chairs, cinderblock buildings, giant fish, cement cows, plush giraffes in mardi gras beads, all waiting to be returned to their intended uses. Which means you can make a hundred little collages in your head just by stopping, looking through chain link fences, rolling into empty parking lots, wandering into stores with bland glass windows that warehouse the world's stuff and go on forever.
























4 comments:

Daydreamer said...

The Amazing thing about Route 1 is that it stretches the ENTIRE length of the East Coast of the USA.... and it is like THAT for the Entire length!!! (Well, there may be a few gaps where it passes along marshes without the old commercial leftovers in the way!) Can you imagine what it was like to have it be THE Highway? The way between here and there? Before the Interstates took over and speed became the ruling factor.... What a different World that was!

I Love those Blue chairs, Amy!

Amy said...

Isn't it the coolest concept? My brother used to be able to see Rt 1 from his apartment in NY - I used to think, keep driving north for a few days, and I can wave right at him! 1-95 just doesn't have that adventure 1 must have had, with towns sliding by in sign-name only, one after another, after another...

Sans! said...

Route 1? As in the Route that was the beginning of Route 66? If you know what I mean.. Over here, we have loads of Avenue 1, Street 1 and Zone 1. In the US, does every state have its own Route 1 or is there only 1 in the entire country?

And Amy, you make the mundane and the ridiculous look picturesque and scenic :).

Amy said...

Thank you, Sans.

I know it seems like we have a million routes here, and we do! But there really is only one Route 1, it runs from Key West Florida in the south, up to New Brunswick, Canada. We bypass it with Interstate 95, which makes the east coast fly by your windows, but Route 1, which would take forever, would be slow and much more interesting. Same with Route 66, celebrated in song. Someday I would like to see the western US on from 66, when there's time. We always need time...