I didn’t get off work in time to miss the storm, but I did manage to get into my personal truck before it hit. This wasn’t a big storm or a bad storm, but it was one of those rain events a person wouldn’t want to get caught up in. The forecast showed a nasty, but thin line of clouds, so in less than half an hour it would all be gone again. Yet there has been so much rain this year. There’s been nearly thirty centimeters of rain in the last month alone. There has been rain every week and some days the rain fell all day long and into the night. We’re getting close to flood stage everywhere and sooner or later, if the rain continues, there will be nowhere to put all the water.
I live South of a tiny town of less than five thousand people and three traffic lights. What we lack in traffic lights we make up with is a divided four lane that goes through the middle of town. At random and politically decided side roads there are paved cross overs to the other side where people, in a general sense, behave rather foolishly, at best. The purpose of these cross overs is to allow people to cross over (see how easy that was) to the other direction or continue on the side street, but there’s only room for one vehicle in either direction. This is where it gets weird. Usually if someone wants to cross over and someone else is already in the cross over the newcomer will pull over into the cross over and block traffic, or even worse, pull beside the existing car. This creates an every man for himself scenario.
I pulled into one of these evolutionary devices and turned on my blinker to make a left turn. The car across from me just sits there. And sits there. And sits there. Is he turning right? He cannot turn left. Is he going forward? I cannot know. But I am not about to make a left turn in front of someone who might suddenly pull forward. I’ve worked in traffic. I’ve rescued dogs. I have every reason on earth to distrust the motives and ambitions of human beings. The car across from me does nothing but another car joins me in the cross over and now we are both stuck.
There are some options here but none of them good. I can just sit there and wait for the people around me to develop the judgment skills they need to navigate a world of motorized vehicles. Or I can turn in front of a car whose driver, if the man is still alive, whose motives I cannot surmise. Or I can bail out. I bail. I make a right turn going the wrong way to whip into a used car parking lot. I navigate the lot to get to the side road where, ha ha, the same car that was blocking me to begin with is still sitting, waiting, maybe for Jesus, who knows, but finally makes a right turn, something he could have done two paragraphs ago.
So in my tiny town of less than five thousand people and three traffic lights, four if you wish to count the flashing yellow/red warning light west of town, there is a wig shop on the corner of one of the main intersections, one of those where there is a traffic light in fact. A woman stops her car in the middle of the road, on top of the crosswalk, and runs into the wig shop. Yes, in the middle of traffic, just short of being in the middle of one of the main intersections in town, this woman bails out of her car to run into a wig shop. There’s one of those really large pick-up trucks behind her and he’s pulling one of those long farm trailers and he’s stuck in the intersection. His trailer is blocking people from going through or turning. In a Perfect Storm of events, a semi is coming from the other way, wants to turn left and cannot because of the farm trailer. He’s stuck, too. In point of fact, we’re all stuck. The whole intersection closes down because of the Wig Woman.
This has a cascade effect on the next intersection just a block away. As cars cease moving regardless of the color of the traffic light, traffic backs up quickly. The next intersection becomes fouled by the Her Wigness and I can see people trying to make U-turns to escape the mess. Finally, she comes running out of the shop, stops to yell at someone at the door of the shop, and just as she eases away, the traffic light turns red again, trapping us for one more cycle.
The drivers of the trucks have become color blind in a big way. They pull through and away because they are not interested in spending another minute or so camping out in the middle of an intersection. Now it truly is Lord of the Flies time. The light turns green and the pent up aggression and aggravation of two blocks worth of congestion affects drivers who are trying to make up lost time, drivers trying to make left turns, drivers adjusting their seats because they eased back to take naps, and me, trying to figure out why the hell people wear wigs to begin with.
The rain falls unabated and anything that changes in traffic makes it much worse. We’re a fender bender from being here for another two weeks. Horns blow, fingers rise to the occasion, and someone turns up the volume of their boom speakers so it sounds like an off key and out of tune apocalyptical small town traffic jam with a bad sound track.
Back at Hickory Head there is a traffic jam of Pibbilated Princesses trying to get their heads petted. I have two hands so there are two dogs petted on a dog’s head at the same time. Life slows down and eases into place. After the girls fall asleep I sit down to write with the sound of Lilith’s dreams as the sound track.