Saturday, September 1, 2007

45 minutes
I-69. Don't go there. It's a mess.
You know those 60-million Americans (or whatever) who are traveling this weekend? Well, here's one of them. And after last night's drive to northern Ohio, I'm kind of regretting that.
I-69 was worse than a race track. At least race car drivers know how to drive according to the conditions. We normal humans do not.
Bad enough trying to get onto the highway on that new feeder ramp at Dupont Road. Thread the needle, cos no one is getting over anytime soon.
And around Auburn, stay sharp. Too much rubbernecking the huge crowds and parking lots and buildings and cars.
And I hope you are traveling with someone who has left slightly before you, and gets caught in a construction jam just north of Angola, and calls you and warns you, so you can get off at Rt. 4 and go around the thing through Angola, taking 20 on up to the Ohio Turnpike. Because then YOU end up ahead of THEM on the highway.
But not for long, because you stop for a rest break. And when you reenter the turnpike, guess who's right behind you, waving madly?
And you drive by the next exit and not 1,000 feet past it come up on a wall of traffic that looks like it lasts until Toledo, well, sometimes one's timing is just a bit off. So you pass the time with cell phones and the Indians on your XM radio.
Forty-five minutes later, at a crawl all the way, around mile marker 56, the cause. Because there's enough flashing lights for what seems like 10 wrecks, including four Ohio State Patrol cars, two flat-bed wreckers, two ambulances, and two vehicles that do. no. look. good. at. all. An empty gurney. A lack of urgency in the first responders.
And those traffic jams and that long 45 minutes don't seem so annoying. Because you are on your way, then, traffic picking up. Those minutes have passed, and you are none the worse for wear. Your mom is going to understand you were "caught in traffic" and are a little late.
But you know somebody's life is not just 45-minutes late. Somebody's--probably, several people's--lives are changed forever, there by mile marker 56 on the Ohio Turnpike, just west of Toledo. A couple seconds, and somebody's not going home. Their mom is still waiting.

Watched the Toledo news when we arrived in Norwalk. Two fatalities, another person airlifted to Toledo.

That 45 minutes--I've love it back. But not as much as those folks at mile marker 56.

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