302 - Freeway

I seem to have fallen under a freeway curse. I was going to pick Bob up from the airport on Friday... left work at 1 pm, should have taken about 20 minutes to get there, his flight was going to land at 1:30. First there is a funeral procession preventing me from getting to the freeway. No problem, I respect that... I can wait a couple of minutes. It took 10. This is a four lane road they've blocked for 10 minutes, my respect has a 3 minute time limit. It's 1:15 now, and his flight is actually early. Awesome! But also... crap!

My tank was low, so I stopped and got gas. And thank God I did...

I get on the freeway and traffic slows to 12 mph... 5 mph... 2 mph... soon we're going nowhere. We creep up a foot at a time for 40 minutes. I see a cop on a motorcycle go flying by us on the shoulder so I'm thinking eventually they'll clear the accident and we'll start to move, but Texas is so frickin' flat that I can't see anything but the ass of the truck in front of me. I decide to get out of the 'fast lane' and into the slow lane so I can get off the freeway at the next exit and take an alternate route (one that I hope no one else is thinking of). I put my signal on... a mistake, because it lets people know you want over... It took me another 45 minutes to get from one exit to the next. Our exits aren't that far apart... 1/2 a mile, maybe 3/4 of a mile? At the end I drove on the shoulder because the exit was within my sights and I was about to have a panic attack, took me a minute... had I sat in traffic it would have taken me 15. I also had to pee. It wasn't at that painful brace-your-feet-against-the-floorboard stage yet, but that feeling of being trapped always makes me freak out.

When we evacuated for Rita - the hurricane that didn't even hit our area - it took us 18 hours to get to Bonham, Texas... that's a 6-1/2 hour drive under normal circumstances. We sat on the road in gridlock for 18 hours. No way to get off the freeway, nowhere to go, no bathroom, no food except what you had in your car. We let the cats out to attempt to use the litterbox once, but they wouldn't go... they held it the whole time. My cat almost died... he had diabetes and got overheated because the A/C doesn't work so well when you're not moving. It took me almost a year not to freak out when I saw brake lights ahead of me. This brought it all back. I'm sure the people next to me thought I was crazy because I was yelling at God to get me off the fucking freeway... not in a minute... not soon... NOW.

So I finally got off the freeway and took another route. I stopped by a convenience store to use the facilities and get a soda for me and some water for Bob (neither of us had eaten lunch... was planning to do that after I got Bob... it is almost 3 pm at this point, and Bob has been sitting outside the airport for an hour so I was sure he was thirsty). I managed to choose the right direction on Beltway 8, and I was at the airport in 15 minutes.

On the way back, traffic was backed up on the southbound side, but I was able to get off the freeway before it became gridlock. No way was I going to go through that again.

Turns out, an 18-wheeler hopped the concrete divider and they shut the northbound lanes down completely, the southbound lanes were funneled down to one lane. It took me two hours to make the trip north. I have a 6-speed... my clutch foot was NOT happy. Luckily when I saw Bob, all the stress and frustration and panic melted away... When we went out later I made him drive... Well... made sounds like I forced him, he's a car guy, the fact that he got to drive Trixie actually made him pretty smiley. So it was a good weekend. Bittersweet, because it's over now and it'll be another week before I see him. I think I'm going to end up in Austin next weekend. The following weekend we're planning to go to a friend's family's picnic, so I'll be travelling a lot. Keeps things exciting. =)

Oh, and last night when I was on my way to a friend's house to watch movies, I was on the freeway and I saw the brake lights... I got off the freeway... I don't like the freeway much... hate it actually...


  1. That's what I hate about the freeway, you never know what's gonna happen. I know it's obsessive, but I have alternate routes to everyplace I have to go to...Even if it takes me that same amount of time to get there on surface streets, at least I'm moving...know what I mean?

  2. Kristy, I have been following your blog (obv) and although it may seem strange that I am going to comment about Bob in THIS post, as opposed to any other one....but.....YAY FOR BOB!! I am happy for you :)

    Not to take away from the shit-tastic situation. Because I am the same as you girlfriend, I cant stand feeling trapped.

    No way, no how.

  3. Pat - It's not obsessive -- it's smart! And I know what you mean... 30 mins of going nowhere or 30 mins or moving... even if you get there at the same time I'll take moving.

    Kato - KATO!!! Miss you girl! Yeah, Bob's pretty darn wonderful... I like him. As for the freeway, I imagine this is similar to what clautrophobia feels like... I can't take it. At all.

  4. Wow, you let him drive TRIXIE??? This must be someone special....
    I hate nothing more than sitting in traffic, that must have been a nightmare. You feel so helpless, and so frustrated...

  5. Yep. I let him drive Trixie. :)

    I wish I had Inspector Gadget abilities... I'd raise up Trixie on stilts and drive over everyone... laughing all the while... I was a little envious of the trucks that could just cross the median and hop onto the frontage road.

  6. Must be getting serious if you let him drive Trixie Ha Ha

    I have a love/hate relationship with the freeways, I love it when they are moving I hate it when they are like you explained---give me the country roads instead.

  7. Winding, hilly, country roads... FUN!

  8. Sounds like you may have accidentally crossed state lines onto the LA freeways. (?) It's never pretty there.

  9. Your poor cat. I didn't know cats could get diabetes (insert the voice of Wilfred Brimley here)

    How come I can't highlight your posts so there will be a blue background so I can read it easier? Do you have a highlight block on or something?