I’d bet dollars to doughnuts I’m not the first to find the gridlocked quagmire at the west-end of East Sheridan grating.
How many irate drivers have shrieked these words: “I can’t believe I keep forgetting this endless, maddening intrusion! I think I’ll just throw this thing into reverse for a less congested route.”
As I have, they discover an equally irate driver hugging the rear bumper and everyone’s stuck until the dozen cars in front find a merciful opening amidst the dozens of cars in the right lane of 17th moving at a snail’s pace, too frustrated to grant even the simplest courtesy.
Some of these shell-shocked innocents may very well lose their jobs due to recent, habitual tardiness caused by poor traffic memory. Maybe they sit idling, seething in this maze while silently plotting revenge on city planners – likely a repeated thought process that befuddles even the most peaceful, unflappable among us.
I don’t bemoan on behalf of myself. Seldom working and nowhere in particular to arrive late to, I have no dog in this fight. No, my tears fall for that single parent, family breadwinner with a job interview scheduled – a job that if secured, could be the answer to financial hardship.
Who will pay reparations to these victims watching every vehicle coming down the 17th Street hill stubbornly hugging the right lane while emasculated drivers backed up from Buffalo Bill Village to ProBuild sit through endless light changes?
A selfless advocate for the poor and disadvantaged? No, I’m simply a mouthpiece for those without a voice. And not just the mute, but the hearing-impaired as well, and don’t accuse me of identity politics. Color me paranoid, but could it all just be another entrapment to thwart the driving-while-impaired crowd? Perhaps that’s a sore spot with me since I was once among them.
I’m not talking the sleepy, swerving, public menace, but the .08 alcohol content, social drinker trying to safely creep home, landing among a dizzying myriad of obstacles and signs saying, “Keep right” and “No left turn.” They’re over a barrel … literally! Who could blame one for shaking a fist while screaming.
I’ve been there; dead sober and heading east on Beck, waiting for an opening onto 17th. There I’ve sat, staring at signs and barrels, feeling as if I’d fallen asleep and woken up in a Pac-Man video game. “Hmmm, if I go straight and veer right at that arrow, will I find myself heading uphill braving a myriad of headlights coming downhill, speeding directly towards my grill?” A slight navigational error due to mixed signals and night blindness should not cause one’s insurance rates to skyrocket.
I’ve been less confused on the Billings, King Avenue roundabouts, and bear in mind, on my last encounter, I rubbed my eyes and was suddenly on Monad Road with no idea where or how I got there.
Lastly, while not seeking office this political cycle, I have been installed as a Norm Sedig for School Board, campaign strategist. I’ll strategorize at a later date, but for now I present our campaign slogan: “Bored with the board? Tired of the norm? It’s high time for a new Norm.”