Tuesday, November 03, 2009

NaBloPoMo - Rubber Highway Markers

Continuing on with NaBloPoMo (National Blog Posting Month ) in which we’re supposed to write about things that interest us, I will now write about something that I used to be obsessed about that I’m sure no one else in the whole world has ever even thought about.

Back in the early 70s, the Texas Highway Department changed all the two-lane highway stripes from white to orange. I thought this was incredibly interesting as I was a 12 year old kid in a boring little town. Any changes of this sort helped to quell the boredom I was experiencing.

In order to paint the highway with the new stripes, the highway workers first applied these little rubber things to the center of the highway to mark where the painting truck was supposed to go. These little rubber things were a strip of black rubber, about two inches wide and eight inches long. They were then curled up sort of like a tortellini and nailed down to the asphalt in the center of the highway and spaced about ten yards apart.

Soon, all the highways in Texas had these little rubber tortellini things laid down the center of all the highways.

I became obsessed with them. I have no idea why. I was a strange kid.

On trips, I would just gaze out the window and try to get a closer look at them as they whizzed by at 70 mph.

I would plead with my mom or dad to stop and let me examine them close up. Of course, letting a 12 year old boy crouch in the middle of a highway really wasn’t conducive to safety and they never would stop.

Finally, one day I was with my brother and cousins as we were walking down the main thoroughfare, probably going to the dime store on the town square or something. I spotted some newly-laid rubber things in the middle of the highway and just couldn’t help myself. . . .

I darted out to the center of the highway and began tugging on one. I wanted it so badly! I finally had a chance to have my own rubber highway marker but it was firmly nailed down to the asphalt and wouldn’t let go.

An 18-wheeler appeared down the road and there I was, tugging away on this stupid highway marker. It began blowing its horn, but I was hell-bent on getting my little treasure. My brother and cousins were yelling at me, but I still wouldn’t give up on the task at hand.

Finally, it popped out and I scurried to safety with by beloved rubber highway marker!

I kept it for quite a while, closely examining its contours, measuring its dimensions. I’m sure I probably smelled it a couple of times.

Soon, all the highways were marked with orange stripes instead of white ones. The rubber highway markers had served their purpose and gradually disintegrated away. I don’t recall them ever being used again after that.

I’d like to think that if you go to my little bitty hometown in Texas, you’ll notice a couple of highway stripes that are just a little bit out of line – no doubt due to a rubber highway marker having been stolen by a weird little 12 year old boy.



At 1:17 PM , Blogger Bad Alice said...

That is a truly odd obsession. What dedication and stick-to-it attitude!

At 4:53 PM , Blogger Miss Healthypants said...

Man, you were a strange kid!! *grin*


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