Friday, December 19, 2008

It's Killing Me!

Just before getting to work this morning, I'm sitting at a red light and without any real reason begin inching my way into the intersection like I'm going to sneak through before it's my turn to go. I'm not kidding. The light was red but there was very little traffic going in either of the other directions. So, I start moving forward as if the light or the few cars moving through the intersection are of no consequence. It's my road and my life, everyone else is just a nuisance - at least that seems to be what I was thinking. I came to my senses before it was too late. I either need to cut back on my commute or find some streets that do not require me to share with any other drivers. I bet those around me were wondering what I thought I was doing. Sadly, I have to admit I wasn't thinking at all. This week has been one very long commute after another. Every single day had something going on that made it unusually bad.

This week has been the absolute worst week ever for commuting in Los Angeles. I do not pretend to have sound evidence of this but from my perspective it could not have been much worse. It started out with rain and Angelenos' inability to adapt to weather. Seriously, if someone were to spit out their window the extreme moisture would cause traffic to back up at least a mile. The news services were riddled with reports of accidents, overturned trucks and street closures. Monday was not a good day to be on the roads. Tuesday wasn't a lot better. More overturned trucks, some jutting out over the middle divider into oncoming traffic. Such madness stops traffic in both directions, which is better than those times when a flat tire on the shoulder slows traffic going in the opposite direction worse than the traffic sharing lanes with the obstruction. By Wednesday, we were wet again. The sink holes were fixed but the traffic wasn't. My commute home exceeded three hours for no real explicable reason. Thursday was dry and cold but the traffic conditions did not improve much. I had to leave work early because I wanted to be sure I was not late for the choir concert at the High School. After a quick survey of the freeways, I realize that surface streets were my only option. I considered this a wise move and thought my commute would not exceed 2 hours 20 minutes. I was sorely mistaken. Overturned trucks again! Seriously, what is the deal with drivers this week. We cannot seem to stay out from under each other. Well, this time the overturned vehicles were enough to cause problems to spread throughout the freeway complexes. All roads east of Los Angeles were slowed to a crawl. My thoughts of avoiding the traffic by sticking to the surface streets were foiled by like-minded individuals trying the same tactic. 3 3/4 hours later, I arrive at the high school only moments before the concert is to begin.

This was my driving week in review, which brings us to this morning. . . Argh! I've got to figure a way to reduce my commute. Maybe mass transit is my only answer. At least then, I would have some sense of my commute's duration. There would never be a long commute day. Alas, there would never be a short one either.

Few people living outside the Los Angeles area have any real idea how good their commute really is. Most people live in a world blissfully unaware of how bad traffic can truly get. Tonight I'll be sitting in some of the worst traffic all year. It is the last Friday before Christmas, which means about two million of the 12 million residents in Los Angeles are getting out of town. They will get in the way of the rest of us who are just trying to get home. They will think they have good reason for interfering in the standard flows of traffic.They will blame the slow progression on the rest of us who are making this drive just like every other Friday night. Well, not just like since the added traffic will slow us to a complete stop. We'll count our blessings if the way is clear of accidents, stalled vehicles or other delays.
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