Sorry we’re late, but Alabama had to mow the grass

June 19, 2019

Wendy Parker


interstate (highway)

One of the main roads that are part of a U.S. system of large roads that go across states to connect many cities: “You’ll get there quicker if you take the interstate, I-95.”

I can’t speak for I-95, but I do know no one was getting anywhere quick for more than an hour on I-65 through the lovely state of Alabama yesterday afternoon.

They were mowing the highway.

To be fair, it wasn’t the whole highway, just three-and-a-half feet of the Granny lane and the lawn beyond the breakdown lane. Because apparently all Alabama has in the lawn-care coffers are 15-foot mowing decks.

Don’t get me wrong, I appreciate a nice lawn. I am a mower. I love to get outside and mow the grass. My house is on a road. It’s not an overly busy road, but if I happen to be mowing right beside the road, I always give cars the right of way.

Of course, our experience on I-65 wasn’t quite the same. We were on an interstate highway, not a residential plat road. As far as I know, cars and trucks have the right of way on an interstate highway – hence the “no pedestrians, horses, go-karts or other sundry items lacking the ability to go with the flow of traffic are prohibited” signs posted at the get-on ramp.

That’s kind of the whole idea with interstates. They were built to provide safe and quick movement of motor vehicles, and should generally be an environment free of things like lawn-mowers and bus stops.

I realize the importance of having a maintained highway and I also realize the reason they need the grass short is so they can easily retrieve body parts that might fly out of vehicles directly following high-speed impacts. I get it. What I don’t get is possibly causing one of the aforementioned high-speed impacts by mowing the dang grass.

I’m not bagging on Alabama. Hell, my daddy’s people are all from Alabama. I have traveled Alabama – it’s one of the few places I’d been before losing my mind and jumping in a big truck to travel around the USA with George. Alabama has more hidden gems than a dragon’s cave. It really is a beautiful state, so don’t take this personally, ’Bama.

The point I’d like to make here is that you can do all the trip-planning in the world and never cover every delay.

Who the heck knew Alabama mowed the Granny lane? I kid you not, the maintenance crew drug that deck for 15 solid miles at the speed of an ice cream truck, on the highway. I would not have been surprised in the least to see confused children run out of the woods waving dollar bills and screaming for popsicles. It was just crazy.

It’s moments like those I wish so much Ray Martinez, head honcho at the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, could be in the cab to hear the CB chatter.

Which brings us to the other point I’d like to make. All these so-called “safety” experts need to get in a truck and ride for a while so they can see the things drivers see.

I’m not talking about the lady shaving her legs and talking on the phone while traveling over the Joseph A. Roebling Suspension Bridge in Cincinnati, although she still haunts my nightmares.

No, what I want them to see it the professional manner in which the goods continued down the highway toward a destination at which the driver may have to pay a fine for being late, or an exorbitant lumper fee, or just plain ol’ assiness from the dock manager because they lost that hour on the highway so Alabama could tidy up the grass in the Granny lane of I-65.

Thank you drivers. We see you, and we appreciate you.