Friday, October 5, 2012

What a Difference 40 Minutes Make

Tori had an in-service day at school – no students, just meetings – so I didn't have to driver her in as early. (We still have only the one car, the Beast. Still growling like a gravel truck. More on that below.)

We've been leaving the house at 6:30 and making the roughly 15-minute drive to school down the Earhart Expressway, the sun rising like a big red ball over the skyline of New Orleans as we come down the incline into the city. It's so muted and red you can stare right at it, although I guess that's still not a good idea. Then as it scales the skyscrapers it turns orange, then a burnished gold, then its usual bright yellow. There's other traffic, but not that much.

Anyway, today we got to leave at 7:15. And boy, as soon as we got on the expressway it was tight, traffic thick and slow (like the blood oozing through my cholesterol laden arteries.)

At the end of the expressway there's a rise where the road passes over some train tracks and a canal, then dips down into the city streets, narrowing from three lanes to two, then stopping at a stoplight. At our earlier hour the traffic congests right about at the light. Today, it was slow and go from before the start of the incline.

And naturally, while most of the traffic moved over into the two left hand lanes, a dozen or so vehicles tried to use the vanishing right lane as a chance to zoom to the head of the line and cut in. Assholes. And ahead of us a couple of drivers in the center lane, the one that was about to become the right lane, pulled halfway out across the line to block them. It was fun to watch, even if it was only partially successful – some of the assholes just swerved around them, practically brushing the restraining wall to secure their favored spot in lines. And it didn't help me particularly, since they were already in front of me.

But I liked watching.

The Beast Growls: Some things aren't that different no matter where you live. On St. Croix, if you order something there is no telling when it'll arrive. The standard phrase is "soon come," which translates as "It'll be here when it gets here, and you'll know it's here because you'll see it." 

As I have mentioned, our car has a crack in the exhaust pipe. Driving down the road, we must sound like a mobile rock crusher. The guy at the auto shop ordered a new one that was supposed to be in Tuesday. When I hadn't heard from him by Wednesday, I called.

"Yeah, they said we'd get it Tuesday, but something happened," he said.

"Doesn't it always?" I agreed.

I just got a call, and it's in and tomorrow morning I'll take the Beast in and get it fixed, so to speak.

Soon come, Cajun style.

Quick question: Who designs the "road construction" signs in New Orleans. I've seen lots of road construction signs in my life. On St. Croix, they seemed to just grab whatever signs were lying around, so it might say "Road Construction Next Two Miles," and then you'd see one guy weed whacking the shoulder of the road and nothing else the rest of the way.

Every day for the past two weeks we've driven by a sign that says, "Road COnstruction Next .691 Miles."

.691 Miles? Really?? Did someone measure that and make a new sign just for this project? And is there some Department of Transportation rule that requires them to carry it out to three decimal places? What the hell?

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