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On getting out of town

I’ll be road tripping north today, and on past trips I noticed that some towns feel faster to get out of than others. I’m finally taking a moment here to notice it a bit more.

On past road trips I’ve noticed that different places have different departures times, and its route dependant. Some shorter, some longer. The exit tomorrow is longer, one of the longest I know. The other “longest exit” is getting off Long Island to head back upstate. Takes forever.I don’t feel like I’ve really gotten out the door until I’m on I-5 Interstate 5, USA. That’s about 1.5 hours drive from where I start when there isn’t any traffic. There is always traffic.

Something peculiar about it is that this particular exit is the fast one, even though it adds 30 minutes (according to the maps) to the total time vs another faster-in-total route. The other faster overall route takes 30 more minutes to feel like I’ve “left”, bringing it to about 2 hours. Feels like an eternity.

In looking for patterns in this, I noticed that both places I mentioned already, the Bay Area and Long Island / NYC, are very large metropolitan areas. Maybe it’s that I don’t feel that I’ve left until I’ve crossed some frontier of the metro area. That sounds like a natural thing to think. And it holds up when I think about different size places I’ve lived. It also survives the test of exiting town via the nearest frontier; in my case a southerly exit is the quickest.

But the journey began when I left my house, so what does the city have to do with it?

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