Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Then cometh the rain

Ramblings Post #323
Sometimes the words get muddled. The milk sours. And in those moments where the storm pounds down upon our heads, we can only see the rain and hear the thunder and for a brief instant, we are horrified that maybe it will go on forever. But it can't. It won't. My grandfather once said that if you get caught in a storm you keep moving. Because the storm can't last forever. But this isn't about a grand teaching parable that will guide us in those moments of despair. This is about traffic in the rain in Atlanta. But this sounds like it's leading to something so epic, didn't it?

What is it about Atlanta traffic?

Leaving the office today.

In the parking garage, there is a line to leave. Inside the garage. I get up, swipe my pass, and get through the gate, and the driveway to the street is full. The short street that dead ends into the major thoroughfare, at which we all have to turn right on, is bumper to bumper across all four lanes. I need to get on that street, get across all four of those lanes, and make an immediate left at the light....all in the space of what, forty yards? My usual thing is to make a left drive out of the garage, drive to the other end of the block and make two rights to get onto said major thoroughfare whereupon switching lanes becomes easier. Smart, right?

The car in front of me, and the six or seven cars between it and the end of the street all are determined to make that right onto the major thoroughfare right here. So we wait for a good Samaritan to let the first driver in. Then another, and another...just so the congestion right out of the garage clears. Five minutes.

I make the left, and at the first intersection before the end of the block going away from traffic is...a standstill. Not inching along, I mean gridlock. For another five minutes. Then we move, a little, the bus in front of me is letting off people even though there is no stop. Rain is pouring, another five minutes. Edge along a little as cars getting out two different other garages ease into gridlock. Pull up a little further and ...there are three cars sitting in traffic with their blinkers on. Waiting. I only wish they were broken down.

At the intersection pedestrians have the right of way, and most of them shuffle along like they haven't a care in the world and it's not pouring buckets of agua from the sky. Guy in front of me can't make a left turn, won't even ease out, even after traffic abates for a brief fifteen second count. (Seriously, I counted.) He finally makes the turn when someone is halfway through the crosswalk. I make the FIRST right turn, and for a brief moment my car is going faster than 2 mph. Wooooo!

Next light, next right and suddenly we're stopped again. I turned wide, because I could, and now I'm in the third lane over and have just one more to go. I see the people to my right - lanes one and two, easing up, why are we stopped? Someone else trying for the fourth lane has decided they need to get over NOW, in the middle of the block. We wait behind because we forgot to mount lasers on our hoods. He gets over, gets to the end of the block...and keeps going straight. So why did he have to get over right then?

I finally get back to the front of my building. I glance at the clock in my car. Twenty five minutes have passed and I'm literally right in front of my building. Make the left, miss the bus which is hanging across three lanes, pull in and up the hill. And why is this guy driving so slowly? The lanes headed the other way are bumper to bumper. The way we are going is clear. Why is he doing twenty? Intersection, we're right next to one another. And there is a truck trying to join the bumper to bumper traffic and lo and behold he's in my lane, broadside, when the light turns green. Oh joy.

He finally joins traffic and I press on, oddly catching the slowpoke two lights later where he's just getting to the intersection. And the worst part is I'm not even at the bad intersection yet.

If only Marta was worth a damn.

Barkeep. You have no idea.

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