Steve Hansen: Navigating traffic is ‘knot’ enjoyable

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By Steve Hansen

Former QCS Managing Editor

Before I moved to Tucumcari from the Los Angeles suburbs about eight years ago, I dreaded driving in Los Angeles proper.

Downtown Los Angeles was a maze of one-way streets and narrow lanes lined with parked cars that never moved. Parking in a lot usually cost more than whatever you wanted to buy in the city.

For drivers, Hollywood was not the capital of film and glamor, it was a nightmare of no left turns. There were no arrows or turn lanes, so gridlock was the rule.

I have become so accustomed to Tucumcari’s simpler way of life that I now look at driving in Albuquerque with the same dread as a drive in L.A.

I was in Albuquerque for a few days last week, and it seemed that every street in the city was occupied by more cars than the state could hold, all driving at speeds beyond reason.

That means I had to  know exactly where I was going and where and when to turn, because there was no time to read the street and store signs.

I was reminded of how carefully you have to pick your way through a crowded parking lot, even while some other car is on the verge of placing its engine in your trunk.

Then there’s the phenomenon of seeing a storefront you were looking for from the main road, only to find that you can’t get there from where you saw it.

One such store required three trips through a maze of parking-lot lanes before I found the obscure side alley that actually got me there.

After three days of negotiating Albuquerque, that knot in my stomach that I used to get from driving in Los Angeles had returned.

Some nostalgia you don’t miss.

I used to scoff a little when Tucumcari residents told me they could never live around Albuquerque because of the fast pace and the traffic. It could never compare to Los Angeles, I thought.

But now it does, and unless I really have to go back into the middle of Albuquerque or any large city, I’d just as soon leave that old knot untied.

Steve Hansen writes about our life and times from his perspective of a retired Tucumcari journalist. Contact him at:

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