If you’ve been reading any blogs from Calgary, you’ve likely heard reference to the “bitter cold” we’ve experienced as of late.
Yesterday found yours truly in traffic.
At rush hour.
For those of you from Calgary, you know what I drove yesterday! It took me an hour to drive from our MacLeod Trail to 14th. Street via 6th Avenue. Essentially this is the East / West length of our downtown core. It took me an hour to drive what normally – outside of rush hour and the weather – would have been a 10-minute run… if you in fact hit a few red lights along the way. What struck me as odd was that the road conditions did not appear to be the culprit. It was the sheer volume of traffic. As I sat in my van listening to local radio, inching forward… and I mean INCHING forward, I began to think of the endless number of souls around me who drive this route EVERY DAY. I began to wonder,
“Is it by CHOICE that these people do this?”
We’re insane, truly we are. I know of no one who LOVES driving rush hour traffic. And since the volume of traffic has increased dramatically over the last number of months, it seems all the more ludicrous.
What I experienced was a taste of aggression – not quite road rage, but awfully close! Something really interesting happened, too. I allowed a fellow to change lanes in front of me. I looked left, straight at him, gave him a wave as if to say,
“I’ll let you go ahead of me…”,
and the look on his face was that of a man who must’ve just won the lotto! He smiled, waved frantically back – his passenger doing the same. I thought to myself,
“Wow… I only let you in, it’s not like I handed you a wad of money!”
I was soon to discover, however, that under these driving conditions, I may as well have handed him money. The value of an unencumbered lane change is that of precious metals!
I’m truly out of the loop – working at home and driving to events in non-rush-hour conditions. As I was sitting there, watching the world not go by, I remembered driving roads like this once. It was in Seattle in 2002. I found myself in absolute grid-lock in the middle of the evening drive home. Anyone who’s driven Seattle at any time will tell you that there is no place worse for a stand-still. Oh, and they have drawbridges in Seattle too. You think waiting for a C-Train slows you down? NUH-UH!!!
I now understand, having experienced first-hand the effects of traffic jam, why my friend N. calls me up on occasion around 8:00 AM to meet him for a coffee. He’d rather sit with a java and wait the traffic out than sit IN the traffic.
I heard a rumour that Wednesday is to bring us balmy conditions of around –2C.