As I was driving across the country a few weeks ago, I came to one undeniable truth: I hate Lightning McQueen.
In the interest of full disclosure, I’ve never been a huge fan of the Cars movies. They are definitely my least favorite Pixar movies, but they have grown on me a bit since they seem to be all my son wants to watch. My feelings for the movies, however, have no real bearing on the intense hatred that I have developed for the lead character over the past month.
The intense distaste actually stems from the route that I used to drive across country. For the vast majority of the trip, I was on I-40, just cruising across the south at whatever speed the law would allow. The problem is that I-40 tends to run parallel to (and intersects) Route 66 for quite a ways. If you remember from the movie, Route 66 was the historic highway that rolled through Radiator Springs before they decided to save 10 minutes by building the interstate around it.
Therefore, every time I passed a sign saying “Historic Route 66: Next Exit,” all I could picture was the cute little town on the other side of that butte that was slowly disintegrating into nothingness. There was probably a little old man running a bait & tackle shop that hasn’t had a real customer in 3 years. There was a gas station with a single pump and a 50 year old Coca-Cola neon sign in the window. I’m sure that it’s premium gas, and I would also get my windows cleaned and a terrific story about how great small town life is. There’s definitely a diner that specializes in chicken-fried steak and mashed potatoes where a cup of coffee is served with a smile. Unfortunately, all of these people are slowly going out of business because I’m flying down the interstate at 70 mph. To paraphrase the movie, I was driving to make good time instead of driving to have a good time. By the end of the trip, I was so disappointed in myself that it started to make me crazy.
Therefore, I sincerely apologize to all the small towns in the Southwest that I destroyed with my impatience. I specifically apologize to the Italian tire-shop owner that would have spruced my ride right up. I’ll never know what I missed, but if it’s any consolation, once I win the Piston Cup, I will definitely set up my racing headquarters there.