We discussed reports we had heard of potholes being a big problem on Route 95. This of course was due to a bitterly cold and wet winter. I told my wife Tina that I had just watched a video of a guy rolling his car over as a result of hitting an unusually large pot hole. Oh, what you can learn on Facebook.
We made it out of Delaware, zipping along towards our destination. And then... we began to crawl.
I gave audible commentary as we crept along. "Elias", I said, "Don't ever move up here. If you move up here, I'm never coming to see you, ever." He said it wouldn't be a problem as by that time he would have built a small plane which could land on the pond near our home. It would not be necessary for us to come visit.
As we inched along, we looked out the windows to amuse ourselves. We were not amused. We crawled through a section of town with row houses within feet of the highway. "Why would anyone build houses so close to Route 95?," I wondered out loud. Then it occurred to me that perhaps the houses had been built first, and then the Interstate, built for the good of the many, was carved through it.
The houses were certainly old enough for that to have happened. As I stared off into the neighborhood, I then noticed the real sadness of the situation. Many of the row houses were vacant. And not just vacant, but abandoned, boarded up, and probably condemned. The yards of these houses were littered with junk. And then, right next door, the adjacent house in the row would be occupied by some family trying to make a home.
I thought of the privilege we have of living where we do. I wondered what it felt like to find yourself with no alternative but to live in such a neighborhood. Of course we have our share of poverty at home, but this was different. It was concentrated, and it was in my face. To be fair to the Commonweath of Pennsylvania, one would expect the worst housing to be along the Route 95 corridor.
Suddenly, out of the blue, we begin to discuss the idea of funding a school band program for a school that may have students who lived in the Route 95 corridor housing we had just seen. We talked about how those students probably had no ability to get into their school band program. We imagined our school band coming up here, performing, and giving instruments to the school.
Finally, our exit was approaching. I edged my way from the left, into the center lane. Then, just as I was about to move into the right lane anticipating the exit, Tina said "Don't move over, everyone is moving to the left. Indeed they were. All three lanes were merging into the left lane. This was the cause of our bottleneck. We quickly moved over too. And then we saw them. Three trucks, blocking the center and right lanes, fixing potholes.
But we were not the same. We had a new appreciation of how privileged we are. And we had the beginnings of a vision towards the future.