If there is a hell, here’s my vision of it: Bumper-to-bumper traffic jamming a six-lane highway to a complete standstill, thousands of drunks lining the roadside to gawk at the traffic jam, loud music blaring from every direction, overwhelming fumes of poorly tuned motors, idiots walking out into traffic without bothering to look, and nowhere to escape the madness because I’m delivering pizzas into the middle of the throng. Unfortunately, this hell exists, and it occurs three times a year.
Yeah, it’s rod run time in Pigeon Forge again, and for the next four days, I plan on staying as far away from it as I possibly can. The good part is I no longer have to deliver pizza up there to supplement my income, but as a survivor of eight rod runs, I can tell you that the memories and scars have never fully healed. Just the sight of the first hauler rolling into town takes me back to those nights — the frustrations of sitting in traffic for two hours to deliver one order, only to be stiffed at the room because the people are upset that it took me two hours to get there; the anger at putting in a 14 hour shift and only earning $50 because the rod runners don’t tip; the rage at having drunks block every possible turn-in and parking space so they can watch cars sit still. If I live to be a thousand, I’ll never willingly go near another Pigeon Forge rod run.
I’m usually a live and let live kind of guy, to each their own if you will. But I hate the rod runs with every fiber of my being. To me, it’s like NASCAR without the race, just thousands of people looking for an excuse to drink to excess and act like complete morons. To me, there is not one single redeeming quality of these weekends, and every year I hope for rain just so those jerks won’t get to have their “fun.” Why anyone would willingly subjugate themselves to that hell is beyond my comprehension. How anyone can find joy in sitting for hours on end to watch a traffic jam baffles me.
The forecast for this weekend looks clear, so I guess I’ll have to Tebow harder for the next 72 hours. Tomorrow, I’ll try to write a more positive and inspirational message, but last night, I saw a couple of haulers coming in, and suddenly I was back in my car on Saturday night, stuck twenty feet from a hotel entrance with a pizza I’d been hauling for two hours with drunken idiots blocking my every move. Those are memories I wish I could forget or let go of, but I just can’t shake them. So this weekend, I plan to stay as far away from Pigeon Forge as I can. If any of you voluntarily venture up there this weekend and get stuck, don’t call me for help until sometime Monday.