Wednesday, August 31, 2005

I'd Like to Order Another Vacation, Please. To Go.

I need another vacation. I know, I know, everyone says that. Vacations are never long enough, but I’m serious. After I spent that glorious week on Lopez Island, feeling all relaxed and happy to go home to OF and OC, I drove south on I-5 which is where “it” happened. Folks, I hope you never in your life have to experience “it”, for “it” is a special kind of hell that should only be reserved for the likes of particularly evil people. The “it” is, of course, the clusterfuck known as metropolitan Seattle area traffic.

It’s not that I didn’t expect there to be some traffic while passing through the city; I did. I failed, however, to anticipate the depth and breadth of the clustering and the fucking, and what's more, to comprehend the purpose.

I thought I had left in plenty of time to avoid rush hour. I was passing through Everett, which is north of Seattle, by about 2:30 Friday afternoon. This is where traffic first slowed down. Up until that time, I had set the cruise control for a brisk 72 miles per hour. I was driving along, still delusively believing I’d be home before 6 pm. Oh, I was sooooo mistaken on that one. I felt the relaxation of the previous week draining away as I spent one hour, then two, in traffic that vacillated in speed between zero and 30 miles per hour. There were illusory moments where we got up to 45, only to screech to a stop a few hundred feet later. This scenario lasted for nearly three hours, during which time I traveled about 70 miles.

I did okay the first hour, but midway through the second hour I was starting to feel flaming pissed off. I mean, there was just no reason for it! There were no accidents, there was no construction, so what the hell was going on? Was everyone out for a Friday cruise? Did no one else have anywhere they’d rather be? I could not understand it. I listened to the radio for traffic, but the landmarks they gave were elusive. I don’t know the area well enough to know where the south hills were, or other places mentioned. I mean, south of what? There were hills everywhere. Ahhhhhhhh!!!!

I was ready to hurt people, and it scared me. I just wanted to go home already, and the worst part was there was really no way around the mess. There are no highways that parallel the freeway, only winding country roads that veered miles off-course. There was a small section of Highway 99 that my Thomas Guide showed paralleling the freeway for a ways, where I happily found cars that were freely moving forward. Sadly, this ended a few miles south when it junctioned again with I-5 and everything jammed up again. I had such hopes the freeway would just start moving in a few miles, and it did: 70 miles and three hours later!

I tried to be grateful, I really did. I managed to think that I was probably being held up for some reason, maybe to avoid some car crash later down the road. Who knows? I figured there was one. I mean, it couldn’t all just be pointless, right?!? I tried to settle in and listen to the radio and relax. It was hard because, you know, I was so anxious and pissed off. Finally, a few miles past Olympia, it cleared up and I could once again set the cruise control.

I made it home safely, where OC was waiting for me with a vase of freshly cut flowers. There was also a note in case I made it home before he got there, which said:

“To my beautiful OC,
Welcome Home! Unfortunately I cannot be here to greet you. Please enjoy these flowers until I arrive. Love, OF”

That note makes everything all better! Although he was there to greet me since I had gotten home so late, I love that he was prepared either way.

OC and OF are both safe and well, as are my friends and family. I feel relaxed again.

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