Anywhere else, being stuck in traffic brings out the murderous in strained drivers.
Not in Beaufort.
Here, when the Woods Memorial Bridge swings open to let a boat pass, many stuck in their cars experience harmony rather than homicidal urges.
The view of the river calms that 21st century urge to go somewhere and to go somewhere fast.
"There is therapy in having to stop the car, put it in park and take in the beauty of the Lowcountry," said Lady's Island resident Christina Wilson. "The islands, the boats, the marsh grass and even the downtown landscape make those five minutes nearly magical."
It's likely just as magical for those for whom the bridge opens.
Any place else, a boater passing through the opening along the Intracoastal Waterway might expect a different reaction from the 200 cars suddenly stopped on the road -- shouted threats, blaring horns or clinched fists.
Here some motorists get out of their car to take pictures or wave. Some watch the water for dolphins or a rising sandbar. Others simply roll down the window and take it all in.
"The best thing to do is just pull up, put it in park and relax," said Lady's Island resident Evan Stiner.
As with all things mechanical, there are times when the bridge opens and won't shut. The reasons have to do with engineering difficulties beyond most of us. But even that can illicit an unexpected response.
If it happens early enough in the day, those of us who've been through it before see it for what it is -- an excuse to call it a day and head home. Call it a mechanical blessing.
Because it opened in 1959, the Woods bridge is generally known as the "the old bridge." That moniker stuck about the time the "new" McTeer Bridge was built in the early 1980's. In Beaufort, something over 30 years old is still considered "new."
"The old bridge" can sometimes provide one thing more.
In 2007, when the McTeer was hit by a barge and out of commission for months, the Woods bridge became the only bridge. Everything old was new again.
Sure, you spent more time waiting to cross.
But you couldn't beat the view.
Ryan Copeland is a Beaufort native. He can be reached at email@example.com.