Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Drives me crazy!

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.

Downtown.

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.

Happy motoring.

6 comments:

ipodmomma said...

dude, that is some COLD weather!!!

stay warm okay? :)))

Anvilcloud said...

I'm glad that I seldom encounter rush hour such as Toronto's, but I heard of a report in which some claimed that it was a good time of the day for them. Either you can get used to anything or the rest of their days are really unfortunate.

Badoozie said...

do they "chose it" of course they do.. everyone has a choice. some times people think they HAVE to do stuff, but really they don't. you could work from home, making home woven handicrafts...or jellies of some sort....you get my point. speaking of which i signed you up for jelly of the month club.

Misty said...

The unfortunate weather hit me more on Monday, causing the bus to be 20 minutes delayed and me to be 30 minutes late picking up the kids --- an expensive delay for me.

Although it did not appear tht the roads were too difficult to manuever, we must take a moment to be thankful that there are cautious driver's in this weather.

I think that even if I drove, I would still opt for Transit, so that I can enjoy the words of 1.5 chapters of any novel I'm reading while the driver's of the city have nothing better to do than listen to music, while inching along, staring at the back of someone else's vehicle.

I suppose that the rush hour traffic is a main motivator for choosing to be self-employed in the industry you are in. Enjoy it!

Granny said...

Brrr. We hit just below freezing here on Thursday morning (early) and I was cold.

I try to let people into a lane (or leave room for them to get there). They always have the same look your fellow did.

Is courtesy dead?

Anonymous said...

It's been awhile since I've stopped by, since reading this and now with the nice weather we are having, one realizes how much this city isn't ready for the snow and cold.

I used to have to drive through downtown to get to work, and on the best of times the trip north on MacLeod Trail could take forever with all the traffic lights.

I'll have to stop by more often, you have such an interesting blog here.

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Calgary, Alberta, Canada
English student, Pottery enthusiast, Yoga novice and lover of all people. I make friends over a warm handshake and a beverage. I discover, every day, someone willing to help me along my path.