Thursday, May 22, 2008

American driving habits

We don't get long weekends where I work. Well, the editors don't.

The reporters sometimes get lucky when a holiday falls on a Monday (which it often does, but only 6 holidays count), but normally everyone just gets two short days off from work each week.

On a recent Saturday evening, our reporter David told me he was going to see a friend in Virginia as soon as he was done with his last story. I froze and looked at him, eyebrows raised.

"Isn't that, like, really far away?" I said, then realized how blonde (and foreign) I sounded.

"Yeah," he replied. "It's 360 miles."

His plan was to drive all night Saturday into Sunday morning, spend Sunday with his friend when he got there, perhaps take a nap, and then stay until Monday evening when he had to turn back to get to work again by Tuesday at lunchtime.

"You're crazy," I said.

But David isn't crazy at all. He doesn't drink, doesn't do drugs, doesn't bungy jump, walk on hot coals or party real hard. He doesn't really do anything... unexpected.

After thinking about it for a while, I realized that driving 360 miles for a weekend is completely normal to an American.
My host family used to drive to Vermont from New York several weekends a month to go skiing. The drive took about 4 hours, one way. So you have a day and a half at the ski lodge, then you turn around and go back home.

I once drove my friend Nina to Canada during a rare 3-day weekend off from work. I was supposed to make the round-trip in 2 days, but we encountered some trouble at the border (perhaps I'll tell you all about it in another blog entry). The trip from Bethany, Connecticut, to Fredericton, New Brunswick, took 9 hours one way.

Sometimes it's better not to judge who's crazy and who's not. It's better to just keep driving...


BluePlastic said...

Well, that's a bit of a broad brush statement. I'm American and I think David driving that far to spend just one day with his friend was crazy too. Especially in an SUV, with $4 gas. Yikes.

Vickan said...

Maybe that's why his car broke down last week...

I wonder if we're going to catch up with European gas prices soon.

Anne Sofie said...

Petrol (gas to you Americans) is up to 13.59 SEK/litre now. That's $8.70 per gallon. To me $4 is cheap!