Thursday, November 26, 2009

Traffic Magnet

DELAYS FROM HERE TO ETERNITYI drive on the highway only once per month. But the last two times I drove on the highway left me hoping that they really were the last times.

Both times I've encountered huge traffic delays. I mean huge, like a 45 minute trip taking an hour and forty-five minutes.

I wonder if the folks I meet with at the end of these treks believe that I'm a traffic magnet. I imagine them anticipating what roads I'll drive on in order to avoid driving on those same roads: "Hey, SP. I got a job interview tomorrow morning. You're not by any chance planning to drive on the Mass Pike from nine to ten tomorrow, are you? Just curious."

The latest trip, which was two nights ago, started out fine. I left 15 minutes early in case I got into the usual rush-hour delays. The trip to the highway was uneventful. But as soon as I turned onto the entrance ramp to the highway, I saw a sea of brake lights.

The highway alert system sign simply said, "DELAYS 5 MILES." "Oh well, this is just the usual rush hour backup," I told myself thinking that there might be some slow downs. But because I don't go that way often, I didn't realize this was too far from where the usual rush hour traffic starts.

Had the sign been more specific, like "LEFT TWO LANES CLOSED IN 5 MILES,"1 I'd've gotten off and taken a detour. Those signs are certainly capable of delivering such wordy messages, such as the one I saw in town this morning that read "HAPPY THANKSGIVING! REMEMBER TO BUCKLE UP!" on two alternating screens. And the fact is, when you're going a mere two miles per hour, the messages can be quite long indeed since you have about ten minutes in which to read them.

Before I end this post I need to do two things. First, I want apologize to the driver of the emergency response vehicle. I'm sorry for flashing my lights and beeping at you. I wanted to alert you to the fact that you pulled out right in front of me and were blocking the only remaining open lane with your vehicle. Admittedly, I ended up expressing anger at you for having a conversation with an EMT pedestrian in the middle of my escape route. I now realize that you were focused solely on the trauma of the collision and that you were unaware of the several tens of thousands of irate drivers behind me. I hope I did not alarm you by squeezing my vehicle past yours and tearing off at full throttle. Next time I promise to tear off at only half throttle, assuming there is a next time. Cheerio!

Second, I wish to publicly admonish the thoughtless cretin who entered "DELAYS 5 MILES" onto the sign. You utter Dickwad. Next time be more informative. Be precise. Oh, and have a Happy Thanksgiving!


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