Friday, 05 October 2012 21:54

The 20-minute Rule

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Although we are not the kings of horrible traffic, being a relatively large city, we have our share of bumper-to-bumper moments, and more than complaining about the weather, we enjoy complaining about the traffic.

It is commonly thought that you can get anywhere in St. Louis in twenty minutes or less. Growing up with this rule, I had to reconsider it. First of all, you have to consider the weather.

St. Louisans can be divided into three categories when it comes to driving in bad weather. The first of which are the people like me, the ones who know how to do it. We buy good tires, we know how to drive in a manual gear, and we know how to tap the brakes when there is a sudden downpour or ice-over along the Eads Bridge. The second kind of driver is the driver who is not from St. Louis and has recently moved from California. He or she is aware of their shortcomings and stays in the house, or takes the metro in bad conditions. Those of us who can drive in bad weather simultaneously applaud these people and make fun of them.

The third kind of driver is the lone sedan who thinks they know how to drive in the snow, has bald tires, and tries to come to a dead stop from 75mph in a quarter-block distance. This one driver we can blame for the entirety of South Bound 270 clogged all the way from North County to Jefferson Barracks.

Another reason the weather affects the 20-minute rule is the moment we open our front door, no matter what time of year it is and how predictable the season has been so far, we inevitably have to dart back inside and take something off or put something on. For those of us who are seasoned Midwesterners, a good portion of our wardrobe stays in our cars. If you root around our vehicle interiors, you will inevitably find: a swim suit or trunks, rain boots, three umbrellas, a winter coat, extra pairs of socks, various jackets with detachable hoods for every degree Fahrenheit, pants with detachable legs, a coat for those five-inch-and-beyond surprise snow days with an attachment on the sleeve to hook your ice scraper, and extra formal wear for when those dirty chunks of ice come crashing down off the top of your car and splatters on your Ann Taylor right before a job interview. How many of us actually wait to get to where we’re going before we get dressed? And no matter what time of year it is, you spend your driving time in the car not paying attention to where you are going, but peeling off/struggling on these items as you weave all over the highway.

On good days, the 20-minute rule applies, but most of the time, it doesn’t. No matter how long you’ve lived here, sometimes it’s not apparent to why the traffic is stopped, and why you’ve been staring at that flapping Anheuser-Busch eagle for twenty-three minutes. So I have made a handy guide (HANDMADE) for you to reference the next time you find yourself in a jam.

traffic guide


So, drive carefully, folks. And stay away from the intersection of Skinker and Forest Park Parkway.