Sorry for the blogging silence, but I have spent the day on the move without actually going anywhere. This morning, I didn’t work because I had to bring my son to the orthodontist, which is one town away from me. Then, I brought him to school, which is a different town away from me. Then I went home and worked briefly before going to a client. Then, I raced home in time to catch the bus and the sprint really began. My daughter has a Thursday activity a 15 minute drive south of me — that is, if there’s no traffic. My son has a Thursday activity a 25 minute drive north of me — that is, if there’s no traffic.
Because I’m the parent volunteer for my son’s activity, I usually have friends drive my daughter to and from her activity (since their daughters are involved too). Today, though, the system fell apart. The first inkling I had that things were crumbling was when the gal who was to drive my daughter there had to cancel. So, I packed my kids in the car, drove South for 15 minutes and dropped my daughter off at her activity. As I drove away, I saw her grumpy face, only partially resigned to a chilly 15 minute wait.
I then made the 15 minute drive back north to home base to pick up my carpool. Car packed with boys, I headed even further north, into the serious traffic, for a 35 minute drive to the next destination.
It was on this drive that I learned that there was no one to pick up my daughter, since the Mom who was to bring her home canceled too. I therefore dropped off the boys, hurriedly told the choir director that I had to get my daughter and headed south again. Forty minutes later, I had my daughter in hand and headed north again.
Forty-five minutes later (with traffic thickening by the minute), I returned to my son’s activity, with a very grumpy daughter in tow. I spent 40 minutes doing my volunteer work there, and then bundled my gaggle of kids (my own and the carpool into the car), only to hit the worst traffic of all. Fifty minutes later, I finally made it to the carpool rendezvous spot, relieved to be headed home at last. Even cook dinner and taking out the garbage seemed peaceful and meaningful compared to the (rat) race I just ran.
I know that many of you spent many hours in traffic, while I, a self-employed lawyer, usually don’t. I think therefore, my tolerance is low. But what really hacked me was how unnecessary the traffic jams were. The reason the traffic was so horrific was gridlock. At every intersection, I had to wait through several lights because impatient drivers, incapable of taking their turn, simply put themselves into the intersection, knowing that it would turn red on them, but willing to block the traffic so that they could have their way. Not only is that kind of driving selfish, it’s also dangerous, because hot heads get so impatient they do really stupid swerving and passing stuff eventually. Had a few malcontents been a little more patient and followed the rules, everyone would have saved time in the end.