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by Jeff Wilkin

Type A To Z

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Features reporter Jeff Wilkin on pop culture

Rumble Seat

For the past 25 years, I’ve driven from Albany County to reach Schenectady County and the verdant journalistic pastures of the old Gazette.

In all those years, a bunch of miles on Interstate 890 has been part of the process. I’ve always taken the Erie Boulevard exit — 4B, just past the Scotia and Route 5 Exit 4C — and prayed that maniacs would obey yield signs. I’ve avoided many an accident when idiot motorists have veered out right in front of me as I’ve approached the end of good old Erie. I swear people are out to get me.

That’s still a concern, especially now that I’m driving a sometimes deep blue, sometimes deep purple — it really depends on the light — Hyundai Elantra. I invested in late 2011, so this is still a new car. And I’d kind of like to keep pebbles, rocks, people and fenders from other cars away from my hood, windshield and driver’s side door.

With Erie undergoing what seems to be a never-ending renovation, I’ve been worried about something else. Driving the boulevard lately is like driving the Appalachian badlands. There are lumps and uneven spots everywhere, and it seems like manhole covers have been bolted several inches into the pavement. That means more bumps for me and my new damn car. It feels like driving on a nutty planet, or in Los Angeles during an earthquake.

I’m worried about wear and tear on my shock absorbers. I wonder if one of these jolts is going to knock my front end out of alignment. Maybe a particularly vicious shot will damage one of my still sort-of-new Hankook "Optimo" tires.

I’m sure someday, there will a nice stretch of smooth blacktop on the new, wider Erie Boulevard. Right now, the road just looks blasted and beat up.

I’ve got a feeling the situation is going to get worse, as warmer weather shows up. There will be more construction, more delays and more temporary repairs. I think that if my car could talk, it might say something like, “For God’s sake — and mine — can’t you find smoother damn roads?”

That might be the best option. As long as there are no rotaries on alternate routes. Idiot drivers are out to get me on those damn things, too.

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