LIVING IN GRIDLOCK

Most of us don’t think about traffic. We just deal with it. It’s part of life. Whether it’s trying to find a parking space or sitting in bumper-to-bumper traffic on a holiday weekend, traffic is everywhere. 75-GameDay-Fenway_03 I don’t usually think about traffic because we don’t have much of it here. This is the country. A traffic jam is a tractor and two cars waiting at an intersection. Maybe road repairs. Or an annoying slow driver. Sometimes, a bridge washes out.

Until we moved here, though, traffic was the biggest issue in our lives. Road work in Boston made it impossible to get from one side of the city to another. Gridlock during holidays could close the city. One Friday in December, I tried to pick Garry up at work. 96-Watercolor-Pops2013_084 I left the parking lot, drove a block, and had to stop. Nothing was moving. An hour later, I was in the same place. I made a u-turn and went home. This was before cell phones, so I had to call the guard at the front desk at Channel 7 and ask him to go outside and tell Garry I couldn’t get there.

The next day it was in the papers and on TV — Boston was gridlocked. It was the Friday before Christmas. Everyone had decided to go shopping simultaneously, so no one went anywhere.

A year later, we moved to Roxbury, 4 miles outside the city center. It was less congested. You could park for free on the street. Then came the Big Dig. The Central Artery-Tunnel Project, aka the Big Dig, was a monstrous project involving rerouting and redesigning virtually every road in, out, around, and through Boston. There were no areas unaffected though it was worse some places than others.  It turned the main artery (Route 93) —  an ugly stretch of permanently clogged elevated highway — into a permanently clogged, long tunnel. 96-RedLight-38 It didn’t solve the traffic problems, but made traffic invisible, leaving everyone to sit in their overheating cars hoping they will live to see the other side of the city. It straightened some of the worst intersections and made getting to and from the airport easier. Made the city prettier.

The Big Dig was the most expensive highway project in history. Plagued by cost overruns, scheduling disasters, water leakage, collapses of ceilings, design flaws, poor workmanship, nepotism, corruption, payoffs, substandard materials, criminal arrests for some offenders (but not enough) and 4 deaths, the project was scheduled for completion in 1998 and was supposed to cost $2.8 billion. It was officially finished in December 2007 and cost $14.6 billion.

The Boston Globe estimates when all is said and done, including interest, fines, and lawsuits, the project will cost more than $22 billion and won’t be paid off until 2038. Maybe not even then. The Big Dig drove us out of Boston. One day, I had to go shopping. The supermarket was a mile away. It took me 2 hours to get there and another hour and a half to get home.

“Garry,” I said that evening, “Let’s get out of here!” And we did. 75-CrossingNK-14 We fled. Traffic was controlling our lives. We couldn’t go to a restaurant or a movie. We couldn’t shop, park, or get to work. People trying to visit us couldn’t find our condo because the exit to our neighborhood was often closed. Out-of-town visitors roamed helplessly through the streets of Dorchester looking in vain for a street sign or marker. Sometimes we couldn’t find our way home either.

I spent years of my life in traffic. Add time spent in the office and 2 to 4 hours of commuting, life was dominated by traffic. By the time we slouched into retirement, we were wrecks. Also poor, but it was better than commuting. Do I have a solution? No. But traffic wore us out. One day something snapped. We couldn’t do it anymore.

REDS

Daily Prompt: Isn’t Your Face Red

by michelle w. on February 5, 2014
Photographers, artists, poets: show us RED.

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Show me red you say? Here is red, in flower, cars, trucks and the leaves of autumn. Barns and carousels, cranberries and peppers. Red, redder and oh so red! Scarlet and deeper shades, but ultimately all RED.

Other entries:

  1. The Cell Phone at Crystal Lake (short fiction) | The Jittery Goat
  2. Red Christmas | muffinscout
  3. Ignored | Perspectives on life, universe and everything
  4. Song of the fallen | Perspectives on life, universe and everything
  5. An Angel’s envy | Perspectives on life, universe and everything
  6. DP Daily Prompt: Isn’t Your Face Red | Sabethville
  7. Daily Prompt: Isn’t Your Face Red | Incidents of a Dysfunctional Spraffer
  8. Meeting the requirements. | Greg Urbano
  9. Good-Bye Mr. Olsen | Under the Monkey Tree
  10. Red | The Land Slide Photography
  11. Daily Prompt: Isn’t your face red | My Dog Ate a Lightbulb
  12. Daily Prompt – RED – |
  13. Dog gets fearful around dog run, human embarrassed | We Live In A Flat
  14. In Cuba: The Lady in Accented Red Reads My Fortune « psychologistmimi
  15. Daily Prompt: Isn’t Your Face Red | tnkerr-Writing Prompts and Practice
  16. Embarrassment/ Daily Prompt | I’m a Writer, Yes I Am
  17. DAILY PROMPT: ISN’T YOUR FACE RED | Francine In Retirement
  18. Superembarrasing! | Edward Hotspur
  19. Daily Prompt: Isn’t Your Face Red? | Chronicles of an Anglo Swiss
  20. Blushing Scarlet | Alienorajt

IMPERIAL CHRYSLER

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We have what I believe is the world’s most interesting car dealership. On Route 16 in nearby Mendon, it began as one dealership. Chrysler. Two more have since been added. There’s also the Miss Mendon diner, a restored Worcester dining car. A coffee shop, gas station, outdoor grill , snack bar and gift shop. And much more.

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And art. Pop art. Life-size figures of Elvis, The Blues Brothers. Old gasoline pumps and other car-related stuff. David Ortiz’ torn jersey from the 2013 World Series. A car wash (the only good one in the valley) and a variety of stores and at least one doctor’s office.

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It hosts the largest car show in New England … and you can also buy a car while you are there. Or a truck. Personally, I want a truck. We could take everything we own everywhere we go. We would never not have enough trunk space and little buzzy cars would stop bullying us.

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Daily Prompt: Ebb and Flow – NIGHT LIFE!

City night - light and life.

City night – light and life.

In the city, life is happening. Every day, every night. Whatever the season the city is buzzing with people going somewhere, coming from somewhere else. Busy, busy like bees. When do they slow down and sleep?