Yesterday Jerry and I decided to go on an adventure. Getting stuck in traffic was not part of our plan. Yet, there we were. Riding in our Buick along I-10 at the speed of one-inch per hour. Our tires bumpity-bump-bumped in a slow crawl, then came to a full stop, then back to bumpity-bump-bump.
“What’s going on?” Jerry wondered. “It can’t be construction. Look at the machines. No one in them.”
Bulldozers and Genie Lifts sat idle on the side of the freeway. Our life had evolved into an endless stop and go cycle: Go-Brake-Stop-Go-Brake-Stop.
I glanced at the opposing traffic on the other side of the median. Cars sailed along without a care in the world. The drivers seemed so carefree, some shook tambourines and yodeled in their joyful freedom.
My envy knew no bounds.
Finally, after hours of stop and go, we discovered the culprit~a four-car crackup. No one appeared seriously hurt. A lady in sunglasses frowned in her distress as she stood at the scene. One badly dented car had the look of a crunched pop can strewn at the side of the road. Red and blue lights flickered on police cars like adrenaline-fueled strobe lights.
“Look at that,” Jerry said, “They’re in the lane that’s marked off for construction. They’re not even obstructing traffic now. Why is everyone slowing down?”
“Well, Jerry,” I said, “Everyone has to stop and gawk. After all, we did.”
Here’s my first thought: Oh, poor people! My heart goes out to you.
My second thought: Oh, thank goodness, it’s not us.
After passing the sad scene, traffic took on speed. I sincerely felt bad for the people involved in the multi-car collision. But I have to say, it felt good to finally feel free of the traffic congestion. “Yahoo, we’re free!”
Just to make sure we really were free, Jerry hit the gas and passed the pokey, white Honda in front of us.
Human nature doesn’t appreciate the good until it knows the bad. Jerry and I flew along the freeway (at the speed limit, of course) with a new appreciation for the carpool lane.
“That guy ahead of us shouldn’t be in the carpool lane,” Jerry observed. I focused on the car and could see only one head in the driver’s position. Maybe the second person reclined in the back seat. I had serious doubts, though.
I said to Jerry, “If you or I tried that, we’d get pulled over.” (It’s the old syndrome “we never get a break while others ride happily all alone and ticket-free in the carpool lane.”)
Jerry’s attention turned to the vanity license plate on another vehicle. It read: ‘LftsUp.’
“What lifts up?” Jerry wondered.
This had us confused. If you’re going to get a vanity license plate, at least have it make sense to other drivers.
“I can say this,” Jerry added. “His truck bed doesn’t lift up, if that’s what he’s getting at.”
I said, “I always liked the white van that had the vanity plate ‘VanaWht.’ Remember that one? Now that made sense.”
We took the next exit, which turned out to be the wrong exit. With much reluctance, Jerry pushed the On Star button and asked for directions to our destination. The On Star person downloaded a recording to direct us. We were there within minutes, but the female recording refused to believe we had arrived.
On the drive home, the recorded voice, (who spoke in deep, soothing tones and sounded a lot like 1940s actress Lauren Bacall), kept telling us to turn around.
Realizing we weren’t following her direction, the recording stopped and asked us if we wanted to cancel. We shouted “yes.” Then she ignored us and asked if we knew how to whistle and told us to put our two lips together and blow. No, she didn’t tell us that. That’s Lauren Bacall’s famous line. The recording just kept demanding we turn around. “Do you want to cancel?” she asked in her soothing voice. “Yes, cancel!” we shouted. The recording responded by telling us to make a U-turn.
Jerry called On Star. When a real, live person answered, he asked if they would turn the recording off. At last, Lauren gave us a break and relieved us of her chatter. Still, our nerves were shot.
I admit, I had fun moments on our adventure; frolicking in a farmer’s field of towering sunflowers, admiring organic produce at a vegetable stand, enjoying a great Mexican lunch, purchasing a table at an antique market, and trying on all kinds of clothes at a sporting goods store. Even so, I have reservations about a future Saturday adventure. The next time we get the desire to take off and explore the sights of Arizona, we might consider staying home. ♥βω