Ponder this:

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Stopping by cow pasture on a sunny morning

I have told you before about the obstacle course that my daily commute has become this summer. Considering the great change the state is making in the road, it's gone very quickly, really. 
So it's almost over. 

One day, when I had chosen the squiggly road option in lieu of the long-wait-in-the-dust state route, my heart fell (Here too???) as I rounded a curve and came on a ROAD WORK AHEAD sign, the feet of its spindly-looking metal standard held in place by dead woodchucks. They're sandbags, but they look like the corpses of expired large rodents. I drove a third of a mile and saw no ROAD WORK. Maybe it was a sign left up from the previous day?
But no . . . another curve and there was the young man standing in the road with his handheld pole with the sign at the top that says STOP on one side and SLOW on the other, and he was holding the STOP side in my direction, with a couple of cars already halted and obediently waiting. 
On such a curvy road you can't see the reason for your wait and it seems pointless and neverending, but it was a pretty morning and I didn't want to ruin it by allowing myself to get frustrated. I looked around to notice things I might not have seen had I been traveling at the breathtaking speed of thirty miles per hour. Green fields that stretched up over the hill, a home that used to be a farm . . . I could still see where the cows had been pastured. There is a certain look that cow pastures have: bumpy, and growing not-quite-grass, with the odd mostly-buried rock poking up through the green, impressions of the cows' paths still meandering across and up over, however many years since no cow's hoof has touched them. I watched the man with the sign, too, and thought about what a drag it must be to stand all day, holding a sign, knowing that people are mad at you just because you are there, impeding their progress. He was a stocky young man, and tall, with a chubby face. The guy who holds the sign, I suspect, ranks near the bottom of the road crew hierarchy. Poor slob. He must have people being surly with him all day long.  
While I mused, several more drivers accumulated behind me.

The young man held his big boxy radio close to his head for a moment, and then began to walk toward the first car in line, stopped and said a few words to the driver, nodded his head, moved on the second, said a few words, came to me. As he came close, I said, "How y'doin'?" 
"Good," he said, "How're you?" and gave me some words of explanation that I don't recall. Before he passed on to the vehicle behind me, I said, "Lemme ask you somethin'."
"What's that?"
"How long did it take you to put all that duct tape on your shirt?"

ILDOTTS Hi-Viz T-Shirt

I was pleased to see that he was nonplussed for a moment. He looked down and chuckled heartily, stepping away to the driver behind me. 
Made me happy to have given the guy an amusing moment in a long day of standing in the sun, holding a sign, looking at people who wished he weren't there.


Friko said...

So, how long did it take him?

The next time I'm stuck in a road works queue I shall have to remember your philosophical approach and take in my surroundings. So much more sense than sitting and fuming.

Pauline said...

long lines and waits are perfect times for gratitude and humor!

June said...

Friko, it took the guy about thirty seconds to rip that premade shirt out of its plastic packaging.

VioletSky said...

I wish I such surroundings when I am stuck in traffic for road works.

word verification is 'crying'. I'm glad to hear that you were smiling and not crying with this obstruction to your journey.

Jacqueline Donnelly said...

Thanks for this story. I like to see how you added a smile to an otherwise annoying situation.

Rubye Jack said...

Normally, I'm one to hate lines such as those in the grocery store, but when it is in the country and there are things to see and ponder, then the wait is fine.

Linda Myers said...

Nice surroundings for your stop. I love back roads.

Tom said...

Good 4 u

#1Nana said...

We were stopped on I82 yesterday. The freeway came to a complete stop and we pulled off and spent 45 minutes at Mulnomah Falls enjoying the falls and then reading in the car before rejoining a, by then, slow moving line. Several miles ahead there was a van totally burned by the side of the road. It's hard to be mad at the delay knowing that someone was in a terrible accident.

Meryl Baer said...

Just returned from an 8 hour trip; the first couple of hours on two lane rural roads. Construction stoppages--there were two totaling 30 minutes--adding to the time have no upside. Just adds to the exhaustion and final relief upon arrival home!

Suze said...

That was kind of sweet. And I like the Frost meme that popped into my head simply by reading your title.

Vicki Lane said...

I've taken some decent pictures when stopped in line like this!

Loved the kaleidoscope in your last post!

Morning Bray Farm said...

You're a good person, Miss June. xoxo

Carolynn Anctil said...

Sometimes it's just best to breathe and take in the moment quietly and calmly. Fussing about it isn't going to make anything go faster other than your heartrate. Love the description of the pasture. I had a total picture of it in my mind.

Midlife Roadtripper said...

Interesting contrast. Have always thought how incredibly boring holding the Stop/Slow sign would be.

Love the title of this post.