Speed trap

Unfortunately, one of my worst fears came true this weekend. Fortunately, I lived. And now you get to hear me tell my tale of woe.

One of the major highways I use all the time has been under construction for quite a while. Currently, the highway splits at a certain point–two lanes continue to the right, while one lane veers to the left and is surrounded by concrete dividers on either side. Every time I drive this stretch of highway, I notice that the single left lane moves faster than the two right lanes. I usually avoid taking the left lane because, well, there’s concrete on either side of you as you drive and it’s a little confining. And by “a little confining,” I mean you are COMPLETELY AND TOTALLY TRAPPED until the left lane rejoins the rest of the highway three miles down the road.

This weekend, the traffic was heavy and I decided I’d probably save some time by taking the left lane when the highway split. I have never been so wrong in my life.

At first, the traffic in that lane was moving just as slowly as the other two lanes. I couldn’t change course, however, since I had already committed to the left lane and, you guessed it, I was surrounded by concrete barriers on either side of me.

Then the traffic in my lane started moving even more slowly than the traffic on the main highway.

And then it stopped. Like completely.

There was no movement, no progress, not even a bumper-to-bumper situation. All the cars were just sitting there. I realized what was happening right quick, and a million thoughts were zipping through my head that included, but were not limited to:

  • There must have been an accident or something up ahead and we could be sitting here for HOURS. It could be days. OMG, I AM GOING TO BE SITTING HERE IN MY CAR FOREVER.
  • I am going to have to use the bathroom at some point and what am I even going to do?!?
  • I will undoubtedly run out of gas at some point and then I will die.
  • I AM TRAPPED I AM TRAPPED I AM TRAPPED FOR THE LOVE OF GOD SOMEBODY GET ME OUT OF HERE.

I tried to talk myself down and was thankfully distracted by watching the people in front of me get out of their car and speak to the lady in front of them who had also gotten out of her car with her dog. Which she let roam. On the stopped highway. Without a leash.

I tried to search traffic information on my phone to figure out what was going on, but no such luck. It was the weekend after Thanksgiving and I don’t think the traffic people really cared that day.

Well, we sat there for half an hour and then suddenly, the cars started moving. I still don’t know why traffic stopped and what happened up ahead, but I’m back home now and never leaving again. Or at least never taking that left lane again. I have never been through anything so harrowing.

  1. Marianne Dougherty

    December 3rd, 2019 at 12:17 pm

    Another great one. This is the thing about good writing. There are no boring stories, just boring writers. Meredith, you are never boring. You manage to find the story in any situation.

  2. Meredith

    December 3rd, 2019 at 12:28 pm

    Thank you so much, Marianne. Coming from you, a talented writer, that means so much!

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