Road Worrier


tumblr_nogrpoI9Bw1qaseldo1_500For the most part, I like Orlando.  The theme parks are fun when you can go to them at your leisure and not have to worry about cramming them all in during a single family vacation.  There are plenty of non-attraction things to do if you just look east of Disney.  The weather is generally pretty good, with enough indoor entertainment where you don’t mind how hot it is outside.  And the whole no state income tax thing is hard to beat.

But any time Satan wants to rise up and claim the road system in this town for the abyss, I’d be perfectly okay with that.

I left work a little after 5:00 today.  I was in my car by about 5:10.  I had to go fifteen miles to get to Sci-Fi City for our weekly Doomtown night.  And I walked in the door at 6:20.  Which in itself was a miracle, because there were at least three points during my drive when I thought life was too short to spend the rest of it on these roads and I should just go home.

Traffic is a nightmare in this town in general.  I-4 has been a rush hour parking lot for years, no matter how many improvement and adjustments they make to it.  But at least it doesn’t have traffic lights that seem designed to make sure you get a good long look at every intersection by stopping you at all of them.  Then there’s the expressway that was supposed to have gone toll free once it paid for itself, but, in a routine that would make Ouroboros proud, it keeps costing more money and therefore requiring more tolls.  There are times when it’s not so bad getting around — late at night, early Sunday mornings, hurricanes —  but for the most part, you’re pretty safe adding at least ten minutes to your travel time wherever you’re going.

And that, of course, is without taking into account the evolutionary dead ends that are on the road with you.  The ones who have apparently never seen either rain or their turn signals before.  Because they slow down in awe at the first one and never use the second.  The spectacle of water falling from the sky is enough to bring any road to a dead stop, as if it doesn’t do this for more than 250 days a year around here.  And I’d love to know where the rest of this psychic utopia the rest of these people live in is, because they sure expect everyone to read their minds when it’s time to change lanes.  I’m sorry, but matching my speed and glaring at me isn’t how you tell me you want to get into my lane.  It’s the little stick on your steering column.  Get to know it.

Tonight’s drive was particularly stressful because, thanks to the constant press and release on my gas pedal due to the crawl, my foot cramped up.  So for a good three or four miles, I couldn’t feel how much pressure I was or wasn’t exerting when I hit the accelerator or the brake.  Wedged in the middle of five lanes of traffic is not a good time to experience this.  I tried alternating with my left foot, but that was an exercise in terror that didn’t really help the situation.  By the time I got to the store, I was a frazzled wreck who just wanted to sit down and play my stupid card game and not be in a car for a few hours.

Of course no one was there yet.  They were probably stuck in traffic.

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