While we sat in a small enclosed porch overlooking the street, and I drank the coffee that seemed to serve as emblem, vehicle, and baseline of hospitality in every Palestinian home, Sam presented the day’s schedule. We would be driving to Nablus, where he had an appointment to meet the owner of a soap factory, and along the way would be paying a visit to a newly opened Bravo supermarket there. Sam apologized; he was afraid it didn’t sound like a very exciting day. I assured him, truthfully, that the most fascinating places to visit in foreign countries were often the ones, like supermarkets, that were superficially most similar to places at home, and that it was always interesting to see how common household objects were manufactured; but there was more to it than that. I was now sitting in a house, and soon I would be driving in a car, and then I would be standing in a supermarket, and after that touring a soap factory, in a country that was living under military occupation. Anything that we did today would partake of the novelty—to me—of that circumstance.
In an attempt to improve highway safety, Prunty County last year lowered its speed limit from 55 to 45 miles per hour on all county highways. But this effort has failed: the number of accidents has not decreased, and, based on reports by the highway patrol, many drivers are exceeding the speed limit. Prunty County should instead undertake the same kind of road improvement project that Butler County completed five years ago: increasing lane widths, resurfacing rough highways, and improving visibility at dangerous intersections. Today, major Butler County roads still have a 55 mph speed limit, yet there were 25 percent fewer reported accidents in Butler County this past year than there were five years ago.