05 October 2008

Parsing the American Road System

The highway.

The slow way.

The medium sized way.

When we get in the car to go someplace, sometimes we have to get on the highway. If you want to be precise about it, it’s the parkway, as opposed to the Expressway or the Thruway (which ought to be the Dew Way, because after all it’s really the Thomas E. Dewey Thruway, and spelling it “thru” is an abomination, but I digress). Anyway, I call it the highway.

One day, Miss M. chirped up after I’d gotten off the highway and said “now we’re on the slow way?” Sure kid, local roads are slow, therefore “slow way” works for me.

Last week, we went to visit my mother. At some point, we were off the highway and the child was perturbed that I wasn’t going faster, stuck as I was behind a large yellow truck. Finally, the truck turned off, leaving the road in front of me free and clear. She encouraged me to speed up. I said “No, I really can’t, it’s not that kind of a road”, because it wasn’t.

Says she, “I wish we were on the medium-sized way. “

What slays me about this whole naming of roads is that she’s allocated three different measurement schemes to her one classification of the road system, mixing metaphors if you will.

Poetic license at age four? Because keeping all the measurements consistent is so boring:

Highway – Low Way
Fast Way – Slow Way
Large Way – Medium Sized Way – Small Way

What do you call the opposite of the highway?

24 comments:

the mama bird diaries said...

I don't know. I'm sort of confused now. Maybe the opposite of the highway is the sober way? Oh no, nevermind. Don't tell her that.

Mental P Mama said...

The Merritt? The no way.
95? The death trap.

Aren't I just a barrel of fun tonight?

Kyddryn said...

I'm boring - the interstate highway is the highway, state roads/highways are secondary roads, and everything else is a tertiary road.

Yawn...

Shade and Sweetwater,
K

susan said...

We go for highways (or Big Roads), and small roads. Not sure what's in between, but I'll pay more attention to this the next time we take a road trip!

flutter said...

the driveway?

Jennifer (ponderosa) said...

A road.

cactus petunia said...

My way.

Jenn @ Juggling Life said...

Her in California we're all about the freeway and the side road.

Nora Bee said...

This is profound. I love words with no opposite. When I was around that age I started accusing my mom of taking "long cuts" (which she claimed were shortcuts, of course) when driving.

noble pig said...

In California we are the freeway and the toll road..ugh. Both suck.

Kelley said...

We have freeways...

Lets see her get her little head around that one. Maybe she will pay you to take her places?

PicaboMama said...

My daughter has taken to shouting, "Faster! Go faster!" from the back seat. We don't even watch Nascar...

Janet said...

We use the highway for major highways, the expressway for the smaller ones around home and, um, I don't think we can the regular road anything. The street? The roadway?

painted maypole said...

a driveway, of course.

makes no sense, I know.

When I moved to Los Angeles people laughed when I called freeways "expressways"

niobe said...

The low road?

Kyla said...

Here, the non-highway is called the feeder. What sort of sense does that make? Texans are crazy.

phd in yogurtry said...

Red lights and stop signs? I'm at a loss. Her system makes sense.

womaninawindow said...

Dirt road. Lots of 'em. And some morons still think they can go 60mph on 'em.

I like that kid!

Amanda said...

No answer, just another nod of admiration for the thinking.

Aunt Becky said...

I love her.

julochka said...

i always thought parkway was an apt name for those bits where the traffic clogs up and you're actually parking there on the freeway(that's a rather california word for it, isn't it?). :-) in danish, it's the motor way. :-) i'm rambling. need coffee.

Susanna (A Modern Mother) said...

We're lucky, we can walk most places from our home -- to school, to the grocery store, to Starbucks, to the doctors, to French class.

So when we do go somewhere (like London) drive on the Motorway.

leopardspots said...

My children are quite boring. We use the word freeway and all my kids want me to do is "get there faster!"

harassedmomsramblings said...

My kids encourage me to go fast on any road - big or small! Highway or not!

We call them freeways or highways!

Fortunately I can avoid them most of the time!

(popped over from Under the Big Blue Sky)