Ponder this:

Saturday, May 28, 2011


The road crews are out all over these days. God bless 'em. I'd hate to have any of their jobs, all day breathing the flying dust, with those big machines going PEEEP PEEEP PEEEP every time they move in reverse. While I was halted one morning, waiting for the flagman to wave our mile's worth of waiting cars onward through the one available lane, I was within ten feet of one of the scooping machines, as it broke and picked up what used to be the road.
Between my car and the scoop one of the men in his fluorescent green t-shirt bent down and tipped broken pieces of macadam over to where the scoop could pick it up. You never realize, until you're that close, how gigantic those toothy scoops are. It was two thirds the man's height. It gave me an atavistic fright, Primitive Woman way too close to hungry t-rex. 
After a few twenty-minute waits during recent commutes, I began using an alternate route to work: a little road that takes me through my village over the hill and down again into Small Pond. Along the way is the School Zone, where the yellow flashing lights admonish me to slow from 30mph to 20mph, the theory apparently being that if one's vehicle strikes a dawdling child at 20mph, the damage would be far less than if it were to meet with the child at 30mph. 
I have an idea! Teach the kids not to dawdle in the road. Howzzat?


So from there, I crawl along the village street, and turn off onto the side road that passes the library and the local plant nursery. Past those two is a bridge. 
A narrow bridge. Not one lane . . . about a lane and a half . . . and should I find myself on the bridge with an oncoming vehicle, I hold my breath and, knowing that one inadvertently steers toward the object of one's gaze, dare not even cast a glance in the direction of the other vehicle. The other driver and I each hug our sides of the bridge and we both make ourselves very small and pass within inches of each other and then I'm off up the hill. The whole hill road is winding and narrow, with short intervals between SQUIGGLY ROAD signs
It's a pretty road, your basic farm-track-with-pavement, and the travel time is no longer than my usual when I take the interstate between home and Small Pond. As the days of road destruction/construction go by, I believe many people are following my lead. There seem to be many more of us, daily, squiggling along the bends, floating down the dips, clambering up again. 


Thursday morning, just as I had almost reached the apex of the hill and was about to begin the long twisty descent, I rounded a curve and was surprised to find a white sheriff's car blocking the lane. The chubby gray-uniformed officer came around from in front of his vehicle and indicated that I should turn off onto yet another farm-track-with-pavement: a detour within my detour. I have seen the sign for the road onto which I turned, always from the other end. I had never before traveled on that road. You wanna talk twisty and bendy? Take that road! The roadside leaves nearly brushed the sides of my little car as I traveled, all the way wondering what mishap had caused me to be where I was. At last, the state route appeared and I turned onto it and happily accelerated. I was only two minutes late to work.
Later the police chief enlightened me as to what had happened: a tractor-trailer had tipped over and dumped its load all over the road. I could hardly believe that a tractor trailer would be able to travel that road, and apparently it wasn't. On my way home, I saw the ravaged and broken roadside trees and the absorbent material that gets thrown all over sites like that.
I guess it'll take a while for everybody to get used to slowing down enough to safely navigate our chosen alternate route. The time may come when I would choose to sit in traffic watching modern day dinosaurs than to have to travel over hill and dale in avoidance of accident scenes and tractor-trailers.

6 comments:

Friko said...

You really need to come and live here, just for a spell. The last road you describe, the one-lane one, is like many of the roads I drive on.

Narrow? Mine go through farmyards and have grass growing in the middle! A two lane road, where cars can pass each other in opposite directions, is the height of sophistication round here. But then, they also lead nowhere, except deeper into the bowels of the countryside.

Grandmother said...

I live in Italy with insanely narrow roads made in the middle ages for donkeys and road signs in Italian (and lots of them because Italians LOVE road signs)- I so relate to this post!

Linda Myers said...

What a wonderful description of your detour! Where I live we have few of these backroads. We recently took a road trip to the midwest and made a special effort to get off the interstate and find them.

On the other hand, we didn't have to be at work on time.

Barb said...

This road sounds suspiciously like Route 1 along the Pacific Coast - also under construction at some points. If you go off the road there, you fall down a cliff into the ocean. When do you have a vacation so you don't have to travel that road for awhile?

June said...

Barb, no worries. If I went off the road, the trees would stop me.
In most places.
I have a week of vacation scheduled for the week of June 20, a week in July, and a week in August, but the construction will outlast all of that.

Joe Todd said...

There are days I seem to go in reverse and all I hear in my head is Peep Peep Peep LOL