Tag Archives: traffic

40 Before 40 … 40 Accidentally on Purpose Random Acts of Kindness … Continued

26 Jan

It’s called the thank-you wave.

You’re supposed to use it when someone is kind enough to let you merge into their lane. They’re basically giving you their future spot. A traffic sacrifice, if you will.

They don’t have to let you in.

But they do.

Then there’s the other situation. The one I was in … I was forced to merge. Minding my own business until I hit construction. The flashing orange arrows forcing me into the other lane.

Did I want to go there?

No. I didn’t. But city improvements forced my hand and I found myself turning on my blinker, which for some reason always seems to have the opposite effect around here. I’m letting people know way in advanced of my intentions, but they seem to speed up, even if they’re two cars away. People enjoy their personal space and the space they intend to inhabit with their vehicles.

So as you might have guessed cars started speeding up, behind me. However I realized that the cars in front of me had this pattern going on. Let one car in, other car drives through. Let one car in, other car drive through. Let one car in …

And so on …

But when I got to my place in the pattern, the cars sped up and created this no-pass zone. So all I could do was wait until the traffic died down.

So I waited. And so did my blinker.

I saw the line of cars in my rear view mirror and sighed.

I thought I would be there at least ten minutes. I prepared myself and changed the station, good music makes the wait go faster. Then as Tim McGraw started to sing sweet nothings into my ear this blue four-door Mazda paused.


I looked up and smiled. He didn’t have to do it,  the line was still long, but he did.  I maneuvered my way into the lane and stopped at the red light ahead of me. I looked in the rear-view mirror and gave him the thank-you wave. But I still felt that wasn’t enough.


40 before 40

40 before 40


So I looked into my glove compartment and raided my chocolate stash. I found my tastiest piece of cacao treasure and made a mad dash for the blue Mazda. I tapped the window and asked him to roll it down. Now normally people don’t do this in my neck of the woods, we keep our doors and windows locked at all times. But I got the friendly California smile that makes you trust a person like myself.

He rolled down his window and looked concerned.

I waved the magic of chocolate before his eyes and handed it to him.

“Thanks for letting me pass through,” I said.

Then I got back into my car and drove away.

It was the first time I had seen the response to one of my kind acts. The last couple of times, nobody had seen me or knew who had bestowed a kind gesture upon them, but this time was different.

And his reaction was awesome.

I was so glad to have witnessed it. Made my 40 before 40 adventure even better. It was something little, but it made a significant enough impact to change his state. Chocolate has the effect.

I was grateful for that.



Surviving the Wall of Death

1 Oct

I don’t know what it is, I really don’t. But I am in serious fear of The Wall of Death. Have you seen this life-threatening monstrosity rearing its ugly head mile after mile along the fast lane of your not so favorite highway?

Usually you have a buffer zone between you, the center divider, and oncoming traffic. It’s a nice cushy shoulder, perhaps about five feet. But it is the most desperately needed five feet on earth. Now I’ve been driving for a while now, and I’m usually a little give or take on the miles per hour on the highway. But when it comes to The Wall of Death, I am barely at the speed limit. This thing freaks me out. And it makes no sense because no matter what, the lanes are always the same width, right?

The Wall of Death

Well, maybe. Driving alongside The Wall of Death makes you think twice about that. Inches count here. Realistically, I know the lanes stay the same. They have to make them wide enough for gass-guzzling Exaggerators and semi-trailers. But without that shoulder as a buffer? Without those five feet?


This weekend those precious five feet were taken away as I was driving back from a friend’s house. Construction. Damn construction. I don’t know what they were fixing, or why it needed to be fixed, but from the looks of those concrete barriers and the tire skid marks adorning the side walls, this freeway makeover was taking longer than expected. But when it comes to construction, when does it actually finish on time? I mean they could use the Extreme Homemaker guy for these things. It would help my blood pressure.

But they don’t. So there I was … driving about ten miles alongside the Wall of Death. I was trapped, bounded by those double yellow lines that separate the carpool lane from regular traffic.

My heart was pounding, my anxiety shot up, and I got tense all over. I was holding onto that steering wheel for dear life. I tried raising the volume and singing along to some of my favorite tunes, but that wasn’t working. I tried some Lamaze breathing, but that didn’t seem to work. I mean it didn’t work during labor, so I don’t know why it would work then. But I was trying anything. Nothing was working. The only thing that helped, was getting the hell out of that lane.

But those damn double-double yellow lines were screaming … don’t do it, don’t do it! Big ticket, lady. So seeing how I didn’t need an encounter with the lovely highway patrol, I decided to cowboy up and do my best to try to stay centered, but the fear kept driving me toward the white dash lines, the ones with the reflectors that gave the car the bump-bump-bumpity-bump rhythm as I drove over them.

I don’t know it must be the chick in me. I don’t know any guys that sweat the Wall of Death lane, but it is what it is. After about ten miles, I saw the opening and I took it. I had survived the Wall of Death once again. I had to deal with an extra twenty minutes of traffic, but I was fine with it. My blood pressure thanked me.



Weekly Photo Challenge: Regret

14 Feb

Ugh ...


I regret making a left and not a right.

I regret not being able to take the side streets.

I regret not leaving 15 minutes earlier.

I regret changing lanes and thinking this one would be faster.

I regret not fixing my radio antenna.

I regret not packing a bottle for my baby who’s about to lose it.

I regret not having chocolate in the car.

I regret not being part of the Jetsons family so I could fly over this.