I Do Not Like You, I-Nine-Five

Happy Tweety sailing along in his ancient minivan....
Happy Tweety sailing along in his ancient minivan. He’s singing “Life is a Highway.”

Bad day on the highway? Want to keep it loose? Go all out Seuss. Yep, it’s time to take on the traffic beast in rhyme.

We all love our summer vacations–the beach, the mountains, amusement parks. If only we didn’t have to take the highway of hell, also known as Interstate 95, to reach them.

Sadly, it’s hard for us East-coasters to avoid the 2,000 mile monster stretching from Florida to Maine. It’s always lurking, whether you’re the hapless commuter (late again), the carpooler trying to get to jousting camp (melee, anyone?), or the stressed-out vacationer trying to get to a place of relaxation (oh, the irony). In summer, all worlds collide on I-nine-five… usually thirty-nine miles behind a stalled semi-truck.

So with apologies to cute Sam-I-Am and his grumpy hybrid friend, here’s my ode to I-Nine-Five. Enjoy, and good luck with that drive.

Ode to I-95

That I-nine-five./That I-nine-five!/I do not like you, I-nine-five.

Why, don’t you like a long long drive?

I do not like a long, long drive./ I do not like you, I-nine-five.

Would you like me here or there?

You know the thing I cannot bear/Is that we’re always Here Not There./ If you could get from here to there/Then I might like you anywhere.

Would you, could you in a car?/Drive me! Drive me! Through that tar.

Not in a car! Not through the tar!/I do not like your endless tolls/That suck the marrow from our souls./I do not like the news at five/With all your traffic jams shown live./I do not like the way you drive./I do not like you, I-nine-five.

 Would you, could you, in a truck?/Would you, could you, with some luck?

I would not, could not in a truck/I’d use a word that rhymes with cluck./Nor I do not like that SUV/That honks and honks and honks at me./As for luck I do not see/That there’s enough to service me.

But I can get you to the beach/And I can place your friends in reach./Could you, would you/Just one day?/Could you, would you/Come and play?

If you will let me be/I will try you./You will see.

(Eight hours later)

I do not like your roadwork signs/I do not like your big ‘ole fines./I still despise the way you drive/I do not like you, I-nine-five./But there is a lot I’ll bear/To reach the beach, the sand, the fair.

So I will drive you, coast and town/I will drive you up and down./And that’s because/ (Said with deep sigh)/You’re all I’ve got, and it’s no lie.

I’m so glad that you’re my friend/Ignore that wreck around the bend.

But wait!/Wait, what is that I see?/A train! A train!/I could like you from a train!/We’d glide by your daily pain.

You do not see that train right there/You’re having heat stroke, please beware./Just keep your eyes on road ahead/And you will reach your nice cool bed.

Wow, what a thump!/My car went bump./And now I see the train is gone./I guess that maybe I was wrong?

 Ab-so-lutely!/Go drive safely.

I think I thank you/I-nine-five./After all, I did survive.

Sad Tweety, face plant at the traffic standstill. New Jersey or Delaware. Poor Tweety.
Tweety traffic face plant. Delaware? Who knows anymore? Poor Tweety. Poor driver.

Author: Kristin O'Keefe

Kristin O’Keefe has bartended in Scotland, written speeches for college presidents, and led communications & marketing for an economic development organization. Her writing has appeared in The New York Times, The Washington Post, McSweeney's, Barrelhouse, Your Teen, Grown and Flown, and Scary Mommy. Find her on Twitter @_KristinOKeefe and Facebook at Kristin O'Keefe, writer.

11 thoughts on “I Do Not Like You, I-Nine-Five

  1. Kathleen Wilks says:

    Brilliant! Funny! Sad but true! As one who’s driven up to CT and back, then to NC and back (evacuated early due to hurricane), and to Long Island – in just the past three weeks, I have felt your pain! And as you say, it’s all we’ve got but we’ll do anything to get to the beach:) Keep up the great writing!!!!! xo

    1. Kristin O'Keefe says:

      I know Kathleen, it’s so awful, yet it gets us to such beautiful places. I started this last year coming back from VA Beach and finished it coming from Vineyard. The destination’s worth the journey–and it is material 🙂

  2. Elise Lipoff Mayer says:

    Very clever!! I-nine-five is even horrible in south Florida!!!

  3. Deb Ford says:

    Thank you, thank you, kristin, for the clever and enjoyable read (I have a smile on my face). You almost make me feel sorry for I-95 – but then, I find myself driving on the road from hell . . . . Enough said

  4. Darlene Campbell says:

    Ha! How did I miss this post? I LOVE it. Really got a feel for what it is like to drive I-95. EEK! My favorite part is Tweety face down on the dash at the end of the essay. You’ll have to bring Tweety back into another essay.


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