Me vs. The Beemer

I may have mentioned before that I have a long commute.  Because of this I have possibly more than my fair share of traffic related rants in my arsenal.

Today it became very clear to me that I have some anger issues with the BMW driver.

Why?  Well, let’s recap this morning’s events, shall we?

I have a four mile stretch of road that is driven twice a day that goes through a suburban downtown area.  This area has been on the “revitalization” track over the past two years – causing gridlock on this little stretch of road on a regular basis due to construction insanity.

INSANITY.

Right now eight lanes of traffic are being whittled down to two – because they’re repaving the road.  I’m glad that repaving is taking place as the multitude of potholes was getting obnoxious – but TWO LANES????

This morning while I watched the light change from red to green to yellow and back to red again (without moving my car a single inch) I saw a station wagon inch up the shoulder on my right – BEHIND the construction cones.  This vehicle then made a sharp turn into the six inches between me and the bumper ahead of me – and then they gave me a little wave out their window.

The vehicle?  Yes, that would be BMW.

Seriously fellow driver (aka Cutter-in-Line), I only let you in because you gave me no choice.  I’ve been listening to the futile honking of horns for 15 minutes.  I want YOU to wait in line and experience this fun just as much I AM.  (And just a note: your little wave infuriated me.  Passive-aggressive much?)

So – win #1 for The Beemer.

I wouldn’t get all uppity – except then my lane disappeared and I had to merge into the one on my left.  The person who wasn’t going to let me in?  Oh yeah – BEEMER.

I’m only slightly ashamed to say I muscled my way in.

Let’s just chalk a win up to me – even if it wasn’t earned with sportsmanship or good humor.

(It was right about this time when I got cut off again by a different BMW.)

Commuting is turning into more and more into a TRON race these days.  It’s kill or be killed.

My vote: make it home alive and sane.

I realize that’s pushing it – but it’s all I’ve got.

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Its a Bit “LA Story”

I’ve mentioned before that I drive a lot.

150 miles a day a lot.

In that mileage I do a giant circle and have a pretty broad tour of the San Francisco Bay Area freeway system.  Here’s an idea for anyone who cares:

Highway 4

Highway 242

Highway 680

Highway 24

Highway 13

Highway 580

Highway 92

Now for the ride home…

Highway 92

Highway 580

County Road (aka Death trap) Vasco Road

Highway 4 Bypass

Home!

Large circle of fun with various sights to see along the way.

(Right now my favorite is a marquee in front of a retirement community that states: ELVIS SIGHTING! followed by the date and time *in the future*.  I’m not sure why this entertains me so much, but I’ve had a chuckle each time I’ve seen it over the past week.)

However, on to the reason for this post:

CALTRANS has been generous enough with the Calfornians’ tax money to provide large information signs throughout the highway system, kind of like the one in LA Story with which (whom?) Steve Martin’s character has a relationship.

These signs have the ability to be awesome.  Whoa!  It’s going to take me 45 minutes to drive the next 10 miles into Oakland?  There must be an accident!  Or, the also helpful warning on the bridge that the right lane is going to be closed in the next 1/2 mile.  (Note to self: move over now as no one is going to be kind enough to let you in later!)

But, more often than not I just have to laugh at what someone decides to publish for the entire commuting community to see.  Last week there was VERY heavy fog.  Fog so heavy I couldn’t even see the bridge from my office parking lot that actually butts up against the bridge base.  The sign at the base of the bridge was kind enough to inform me of this fog.  (I think that is what it was telling me anyway – it was really foggy….)

Then, there is my personal favorite message:  a message informing me that the Bay Bridge is going to be closed for the weekend – but not THIS weekend.  No.  President’s Day weekend.  The weekend 15 days from now.  EVERY single sign – including some extras that CALTRANS put out on medians, etc. – has this message on it.

(It’s actually kind of distracting.  Where are all these extra signs from?  Is there an emergency?)

All other possible helpful information has been bumped for this tidbit that I have no use for until month end.  (Or, let’s be real.  I don’t drive into the city on purpose for ANY reason.  I take public transportation.  I don’t care if the bridge is closed or not.)

If history is going to repeat itself my guess is that this message is on ALL freeway signs in the state.  So, even if I’m driving AWAY from San Francisco toward Tahoe or even the mecca that is Disneyland, I’ll have this information in my back pocket for future reference.  Seriously – this deserves a great big What The?….

Last year there was a giant freeway re-route/closure in the greater Los Angeles area.  I got those messages of closure during my daily commute.  I had no idea where the 205 freeway was.  Thank goodness for coworkers and local media who were constantly telling me about the impending “Carmageddon”.  Imagine my relief when I realized I could stop thinking about it – because it was taking place 350 miles from my life.  Whew!

I guess I just get to appreciate the effort that the state is going through to keep me informed and laugh at the result.  Now, if they could just put that much effort into patching up those potholes…

The Ribbon

I like ribbons.  I especially like them when there is a gift nestled inside one tied in a bow.

However, this totally isn’t about a gift.  It’s about traffic.

I’m not a huge fan of my commute in the winter when it’s dark both coming to and returning from work.  However, there is one highlight – the view of tail lights on the freeway/country roads in front of me miles in the distance.

I realize to many this may just be stressful.  LOOK at all that traffic!  I’ll never get home!

But, for me, who spends about 50% of my non-working and non-sleeping time in the car – I’ll take any bit of beauty I can get.  I love cresting a hill and seeing a ribbon of red stretching out before me miles in the distance surrounded by darkness and twinkly white lights.  I think it’s pretty.

Then, when I reach the 20 mile twisty country road/ death trap throughfare at the finale of my commute I can use this same ribbon of light to gauge how long I’ll be sitting in stop-and-go traffic up a big hill.  (Seriously, whomever decided to change the lanes on this road to make the longest bit of stop-and-go be on the uphill slope of a giant hill needs to drive a stick shift for awhile.  Grrrr….  At least my clutch skills are improving!)  I can see this hill for just a moment on the approach as it peeks between the summits of two pastures.  In the summer when it’s still sunny I don’t have the ribbon of light to tell me if there is a backup here.  I’m not yet close enough to gather if there is traffic on that bit of blacktop in the moment the road is visible.  See – the ribbon of light is both pretty AND useful!

(I’ve really wanted to try and take a picture of this ribbon.  There are several places on my commute home where I have a great view.  But – I don’t car pool.  I’m just guessing me trying to take a picture of traffic lights while piloting a car at 70 mph in heavy traffic isn’t the best choice.  I’ll just have to hold off on that one for awhile.  Please use your immagination to picture the beauty.)

Here’s to taking a moment to enjoy the little things in life.  Beauty really is everywhere.  Sometimes you just have to put the road rage aside for a moment to realize it.