Wednesday, March 20, 2019
Gathering at the River: Cruising on East Speedway :: Essays Papers
collection at the River Cruising on East SpeedwayWhither goest thou, America, in thy shiny car in the night? -Jack Kerouac, On the Road Roll the windows down, turn the music up, and poking slowly. Now youre cruising. Cruising is the cheat of seeing and being seen, and in Tucson the center of this art is Speedway Boulevard. This six-lane pathway runs east to west through Tucson and is unitary of the busiest thoroughfares in the city. It hosts a mix of commercial and private buildings small shops, offices, restaurants, grocery stores, apartment buildings and old(a) homes, as well as the University of Arizona. Despite the apartments and occasional houses, Speedway is mostly a commercial street populated with strip malls and other businesses. Cruising is most visible along the more commercial, business-oriented East Speedway, which for the purposes of this essay is defined as the tierce mile stretch of road from Alvernon to Wilmot. Like most streets, Speedway was built for an solo practical reason to conduct automobile commerce from one plate to another with a minimum of waiting. This utilitarian reason is inverted by cruising. The purpose of cruising, unlike driving, is not to arrive but to not arrive. Cruising is a social activity wherein the cars become tools for meeting other people as well as a means of getting from one jell to another. The reputation of cruising, and of the nighttime Speedway, is not nearly so benign. As traffic slows and the music increases, the character of Speedway as a place - that is, a counseling for human memory and experience - changes to reflect the activities and desires of the cruisers. The character of Speedway as a place is temporal and spatial the street of Friday midnight is radically different from the street of Tuesday morning. Daytime drivers quickly change lanes in an attempt to find the one which will deliver them to their destinations the fastest. Speed and efficacy define the daytime Speedway. As the type of driver changes, so does the drivers reason for being there. The weekday commute is replaced by the weeknight cruise. The drivers also become, as a group, less diverse in call of age and gender. The majority of cruisers appeared to be teenagers. Also, though I saw umteen young women, the majority of cruisers were male.