Friday, March 3, 2017

On the Road Again!

I roared out of the parking lot of school somewhat gleefully - the radio wasn't blaring yet, but when I got on the highway I was going to blast it!

I left a little early today (well, I arrived pretty early too) to pick up my oldest for his spring break. "Mom, I couldn't find a ride that worked, most left too early," and he didn't want to miss his last class of the day.  I couldn't fault him, so I volunteered to head down I 95 to pick him up.  Driving South on 95 is always risky - if it is early in the morning you will go against the commuter traffic, but if it is after 1:00 p.m. (not to mention a Friday) you are definitely going to get stuck in the Southbound commuter traffic.

Today, with the radio blasting, I struck out on 95S - at 1:45.  Things moved pretty well through the Springfield Mixing Bowl (for those of you not familiar with Northern Virginia, this is a cobweb of concrete that weaves together multiple major highways, smoothly and gracefully), and I headed toward the Occoquan River with hope in my heart.

Past Quantico the traffic slowed and I reluctantly embraced the congestion caterpillar.  You know how caterpillars pull together and then push their head forward slowly?  That is what the traffic did on I 95 S today.  We would speed up, catch up, then slow down....then speed up, catch up, then slow down.  Truly, we "inch-wormed down the highway."  (Future title of my first country song hit! Can't you hear it?)

The one benefit of the congestion caterpillar is that I'm able to really consider my fellow caterpillars on the road.  I love people watching - and driving down the highway at 25 MPH gives plenty of finger tapping, glancing to the left and right time to explore those people in the cars next to you!  There were two cars, obviously in tandem (NJ licence plates) that must have been moving.  He was driving the Uhaul and pulling a F150 behind.  The truck was loaded (even the cab) with laundry baskets and other containers full of stuff.  He, I noticed had long brown hair and a full beard.  That and the black ear expander helped me surmise that this probably wasn't a military move (the kind I'm most familiar with!)  He was trailed by a station wagon, stuffed to the gills, driven by perhaps the other half of the couple.  We inched by each other, mile after mile.

I surreptitiously glanced at them (at least I hope I was) anticipating some sort of eye contact and a smile, but both were very focused on the road.  The lady occasionally sucking in puffs of what must have been an e-cigarette.  As we got closer to Fredericksburg, I noticed there was a car seat tucked into the second row of the station wagon. A blue blanket tucked around the little being safely riding sidesaddle.

What adventures I dreamt up for this little family as we crept down the highway.  What fun it was to imagine the possibilities in the anonymity of my cocoon.

Luckily, after reaching the university, my oldest was ready - bags of schoolwork and laundry tossed into the trunk - and we turned around to head North on I 95.


  1. "congestion caterpillar"- I love that.

  2. Who knew a traffic jam could be so enjoyable? I enjoyed driving down the crowded road with you. Your lead made me smile.

    "I roared out of the parking lot of school somewhat gleefully - the radio wasn't blaring yet, but when I got on the highway I was going to blast it!"

    You have so many well crafted lines and wondrous words in your piece. As I read each sentence I couldn't wait to read the next one.

    I'm hoping you enjoy the time with your son.


    1. Thanks Cathy - your feedback is greatly appreciated.

  3. I like how you made the best of your situation! (And the caterpillar analogy was pretty sweet, too!)