I have spent more time driving in nasty traffic the last two days than I have in years. I can’t be in stop-and-go traffic for more than a few minutes without thinking of a Dr. Who episode (okay, I am a major sci-fi geek) where there is a ring of traffic circling a city– for years–waiting for the ramps to open so they can enter a new and better life. The drivers and passengers live their lives in their little space RV’s, receiving automated messages from the city apologizing for the delays in opening the ramps. Actually, everyone in the city is dead and the ramps were closed to prevent the pathogen or whatever from spreading, and there is no one left to open the ramps now that the danger has passed, but the drivers don’t know that and the story is about how insanely optimistic they all are despite the evidence. I can’t decide if that is a British thing or a human thing.
When I am on the road I have a good view of the world from the cab of my F-150. I enjoy checking out the logos on the vans and the interesting loads the trucks carry (really, what was that?) I am fascinated by the behind the wheel behavior of other drivers: the gestures and the acceleration, the bold use of the road’s shoulders and the seemingly magical way some drivers can insinuate their vehicles into gaps half the size of their cars. I make up stories about what is going on around me. One car moves past me in the next lane in a hurry, then inexplicably slows and keeps pace with another car a bit ahead. Is the first driver slowing to answer a call or is there something spectacularly eye-catching about the vehicle it is pacing? Perhaps that driver has an elaborate blue hair-do, or is masked and mustachioed? Maybe the two are long separated lovers who have encountered each other by chance on the interstate at 70 mph. Eventually the first car speeds off and I move up alongside the slower vehicle. Nope, nothing particularly interesting there. Ah well.
I make my way using my lovely Nav (see post below) to find alternate routes around the more epic delays where traffic is stopped for miles. I wonder what is going on in those driver’s minds. I doubt if they are feeling insanely optimistic, but no one seems to be shooting anyone else or driving off the bridge. It is summer in Minnesota and we all cope in our own way with the fact that there is only so much time to get the roadwork done before the snow falls again. At least we can be sure that someone would tell us if ALL the ramps were closed. Right?