Friday, July 31, 2015

How MODOT drove me to insanity today

I was all set to pick up Zoe from camp today. All ready. We made plans to meet the other parents on the school tennis courts at 1 p.m., leaving immediately for the 50-minute drive to camp with time to spare on the 2 p.m. pick-up time. We left promptly at 1. Ten minutes later, I was screaming inside my head.

We started crawling on the highway, and then we started barely creeping, and then we stopped. Completely. The text messages were flying back and forth. Four mothers were melting down in four cars.

MODOT, in their infinite wisdom, closed two of three lanes on the highway for no reason. Forty-five minutes later (45, people, FORTY FIVE) we came upon the bottle neck. And we found two MODOT guys in a truck, backing slowly up in the two closed lanes and removing the cones that closed the lanes. M drives on this highway every day. He drives on it twice a day. He went through there yesterday, once in the morning and once at night (that would be twice) and he drove on the lanes that were closed today. The lanes were open last night, and they were closed this morning. And then they were s l o w l y being re-opened when we squeaked through with five billion other cars. There was no discernible reason why those lanes were closed when they were functioning just fine yesterday. The screaming in my head intensified and included expletives, including a few I made up.

We arrived at Zoe's camp 45 minutes late, with the guilt practically dripping off me. I was crushed. Zoe didn't seem to care a bit, but I kissed that Mother of the Year award good-bye yet again.

Normally I do okay with traffic. I'm not a road ragey kind of person. I figure there's nothing I can do, so why fight it? Listen to some good tunes, or turn on talk radio and learn something new, sit back, enjoy the ride. I'll prattle on incessantly about the most mundane crap in the world and every once in awhile M might interject something (the ratio of words, A to M, is usually roughly 5732:1). Today, though, I was unable to do this. Maybe it was my anxiety to see Zoe. Okay, most likely it was my anxiety to see Zoe. I was not calm, and I could feel my blood pressure creeping up. Poor M, normally the poster boy for road rage, sat quietly in the driver's seat and proceeded to ignore my rantings and ravings.

"Why are we backed up? Why? What is going on? You said there was no construction yesterday. If there was none yesterday, why is there today? If we get up there and find a bunch of dudes in orange vests just lollygagging around I am going to come unglued. Seriously? Zoe is going to be so upset. And her counselors. I mean, we are supposed to be there at 2. We are not there at 2, we are stuck here on this stupid highway with these stupid cars and not going anywhere at all. This is ridiculous. Who can I call about this? Someone needs to know what is going on. Why do we keep stopping altogether? And all three lanes are stopping. Which means no one is going anywhere. Are they having a parade up there? Do you think if we get stranded here on the highway we can raid that taco truck two cars ahead of us?"

M let me go, probably sensing that 1.) it was pointless to try to stop me and 2.) it was helping me not have a heart attack. Then, he lashed out against the traffic in his own way.


It was cathartic for both of us. I mean, it did nothing, but it felt good. The people stayed on their brakes and we stayed on ours and we stopped and creeped and stopped and creeped and finally we made it through and we made it to camp, where a little girl's arms flung around my neck immediately brought my blood pressure back down and put a grin on my face.

She talked nearly the entire way home, except for when she was singing. There was something about a moose who was swimming and then sleeping and then dead. We heard about her hikes and activities and meals and everything else she could think of to tell us. When we hit more traffic on the way home (of course) I didn't really give a shit because we had picked up our package and were together again.

She's gone already. We got home, cleaned her up, and I delivered her to a birthday party. The child is in high demand. I imagine she will collapse upon arrival at home later tonight, and will sleep like the dead until sometime tomorrow. I don't mind at all. She's home.


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