The horrible thing about car accidents, is that no matter how much your day sucks because you’re waiting in traffic, someone else’s day is sucking SO much more.
I think we’re still in New Jersey. A charming state that was once described to me as “the place where they make farts”. The place where the neon construction signs on the sides of the roads are permanent structures.
The interstate has been shifting regularly between 4 and 1 lanes, with speed changes from 65 to 30. The pattern of slowing and speeding, the pulsing and sliding of so many energetic bodies – it should be sexual, or at least entertaining. But it’s just painful. Emergency vehicles add their own flavour, with flashing reds and strobes and probes of light. Yeah, somewhere ahead of this blockade of 1am traffic, filled with tired truckers and late-night wanderers, there’s someone having a really bad day indeed.
The red flashes flatter Heather, but, you can’t wax too poetic while sitting in traffic, waiting for movement. Perhaps a poor choice of words, Heather needs to peeeee!
And magically, movement comes. There must be official direction ahead or something. Everyone’s switching lanes, everyone’s moving, and the honking begins.
“And whoever’s honking needs to be fucking shot.”
I agree with Heather on this one. I do think traffic officials should be issued LAWs or something. Something powerful enough to thoroughly disintegrate the plastic and steel of an offending mini-van. Or in this case, the white Celica next car over. Man, L.A. and legality aside, I need a gun.
And if God doesn’t understand, He can drive in New Jersey post-construction, post-accident, asshole laden traffic.
Assholes and potholes. There’s a song in there somewhere.
A lot of travellers on the road. South Carolina, Ontario… another Marylander in front of us. REPRESENT!
Heather’s drumming on the steering wheel, I’m contemplating getting brushes. I could be an Hell of a drummer after a couple months of drumming on the dash.
Ani’s coming percussive through the speakers, counter-point tapping of the keyboard and palmflesh on the steering wheel. The movement was a lie. We’re back to our wall of steel. And I’m wondering, have there been emergency vehicles? If it’s construction, someone will die. We’ve been through enough. Heather’s on the phone, and I think Jayson’s encouraging the same activity. Heather’s declaring “killing’s not good!” Sigh. It’s Yom Kippur. That’s the ONLY reason she’s stating this.
Aaand, Jayson’s online, looking at schedules. And he thinks it’s construction. And Heather’s GOT to PEEE!! Jayson suggests using a cup. We don’t have one, I don’t want her to use one, and she doesn’t want to use one. We DO have some bottles, but they’re not empty, and I think that that would require more of the MAD SKILLZ than I think she has (no offense, my Lady, my Laden Love). We also have a plastic bag, but I think that’s a last resort beyond even us trading places while she runs to the guard rail and leaps into the woods. Last thing I want to deal with is Heather coming back with deer-bites. That would just be…. that would just be too much. sigh.
We got caught here, 30 miles short of the New York border, back at 12.48am. (or at least, that’s when I first looked at the clock – it was probably about 15 minutes earlier) – it’s now 1.22am, and we’ve moved about 5 car-lengths. This is what it was like back when I was commuting between Kensington and Herndon. A 25 mile drive that occassional took up to 3+ hours. Gosh, what a fucking nightmare. I remember that traffic would get so bad while driving home from work, I’d literally leave my laptop open on the passenger seat and play Solitaire on the way home. Well, I’m on my 15th game of the night tonight.
Traffic jams – thinking.
I remember being stuck outside of Baltimore. A broken water-main or something, though we didn’t know it at the time. All we knew was that it was 3am or so, and the back-up was solid and immobile. I got to sit and play guitar in the car. There was a drummer in a hatchback nearby, and we all lounged in the gentle breeze on the Jersey barrier. Sitting and waiting. The first clue to the water ahead was when a man approached us to redirect traffic. He was soaked to his armpits.
There, now the engine’s off too. I’m aware that all around us, fellow drivers are probably nodding off. Thank goodness I’ve got such good company. A laptop, a fine woman, and Will Schaff in the stereo. Now, if only the late night breeze was ripping through my hair at 60 miles an hour or so. Or fifty. I’d settle for five. (Headlights behind us just went out)
1.51am. Stuck in traffic. I didn’t see Heather stick this God AWFUL Lemonheads CD in. Curse the world. I think when we reach whatever’s blockading the road up ahead, Heather’s gonna pee on it. The “Reduce Speed – Construction Ahead” sign is a) permanant, b) the worst of bad jokes.
2.01am – Montana license plate.
2.17am – Heather’s new theory – We’re being herded into a giant ark, and we’ve been declared a decent cross-section of humanity. Luckily, the two of us came as a pair. Anyone who DIDN’T bring their own mate will be forcibly mated with someone of the DOT’s choosing. Punishment for not car-pooling.
2.33am – Jesus Christ, I’ve never seen anything like that. It was like the airline wrecks where you just can’t even tell what anything is. It’s just twisted metal and debris and body bags. At least three 18-wheelers, and two cars underneath them. It was funny when we first came up to them, because the first thing we saw was a Perdue chicken truck, with spilled chickens and crap all over the road. And then we rounded the tow truck (there must have been eight or so there, plus the a flatbed or two) and we saw what was left of the cab. I can’t imagine ow fast it must have been going, but whatever it hit was solid and stationary. It was like the front had simply disintegrated. There was a boat involved there too, scattered in pieces all over the road. The final thing we saw as we were ushered down the highway was bodies being loaded into a big black truck.
I knew the DOT had large hearse-esque vans for large motor vehicle accidents. First time I ever saw one. It reminded me of the body clean-up crews they have in Baltimore. The neccesities of keeping the world moving supercede the niceties of Life (and death). Men with hoses come out. They wear yellow suits and wash the blood into the gutters and down the drains. They disinfect the side-walk with giant brushes, and they sweep away broken parts of people.
Heather: “I’m glad we didn’t leave a little earlier.”
The thought of a car accident with Heather really, really scares me. I Love her lots and it churns my stomach to think of her coming apart into the engine of another car.