I was going to write about my new running shoes and the cost of this so-called free hobby, but my stomach has been a ball of stress since lunchtime* and my pain level skyrocketed on the way home to the point that I was afraid I might have to pull over and be sick on the side of the road. So instead of running (full disclosure: I did not run tonight), I decided to take a leftover vicodin and rest. It seemed silly to write about running when I wasn’t actually celebrating a runner’s high, so I decided to write about one of the things that probably contributed to my great big ball o’ stress.
I hate construction.
Okay, okay – I don’t hate construction if it doesn’t get in my way. But right now? I have four different construction zones on my way to and from work. The four zones o’ construction fun range from mildly annoying to OH MY GOD, I HATE YOU! It’s funny: I didn’t really notice them until the more intrusive ones started…you know…intruding and then it seemed like the construction cones were breeding and taking over the city.
The first one I noticed was on our nice narrow, twisty country road that connects our subdivision, which is pocketed away on a farm road, into the city. We live between two interstates, but five miles or so in between is filled with horse ranches, a river, and lots and lots of trees. Normally it is a very pretty drive. The condition of the road is getting a little ridiculous, what with all the stupid tanker trucks and the constructions trucks driving through now to mine the natural gas, but that’s not even the issue. The issue is that first there were potholes and fissures and odd dips forming in the road from sudden heavy usage. Next came the plowing of trees for some as-yet-unknown usage down near the intersection with civilization. First I thought it was for a new subdivision. Then I thought maybe it was for an apartment complex and the seeds of doom started to grow. Then I thought maybe it was for a business building of some sort. It’s not really on a main road, but it’s behind a building that is on a main road (near the intersection, remember?), so it was unlikely but possible. The clearing of trees meant lots of construction equipment and trucks sitting on the site, facing traffic and blinding us with their headlights on during the pre-dawn trek to work. Then the cones appeared, creeping dangerously into already narrow (single!) lanes, and then a metal plate covering a hole in the street. Someone must have complained because the edge of that metal plate almost punctured my tire several times; now there’s a speedbump built over it. One that you can’t see in the dark, I might mention. Overall, that construction zone rates a 6 out 10 on the scale of You’ve Got To Be Kidding Me!
The next construction zone is across from daycare. It takes up the left turn lane and is only mildly annoying. I don’t need that turn lane and there are several more that let you cut through the median so I don’t think many people miss it. The dozen or so construction saws/roadblocks that are scattered about look awful and make newbies slam on their brakes because it looks like they’re in the driving lane, but I can’t get too worked up about it. Not having just survived the Country Road Construction Massacre. This site gets on a 2 out of a possible 10.
The second two zones only affect me on the drive home. And yet – they drive me bananas. B-A-N-A-N-A-S. The least offensive of the two is up past the car auction place. On the plus side, there’s a decent amount of traffic affected, but the construction doesn’t cause backups. Then again, the entire right lane is eliminated with little warning and so you have lots of cars zooming along at 10-15 miles over the speed limit that are suddenly jamming into the middle lane. There is going to be a wreck of massive proportions one of these days and I had better not be a victim. I’ll give this construction zone a 5 out of 10. I always drive in the left lane, but I’m scared of the inevitable casualties.
I’ve saved my very favorite construction zone on the Are You Kidding Me?! scale for last. This one earns full marks – 10 out of 10. The city has decided to fix some gigantic potholes in the middle and right hand lanes that are in the street just outside the gas station and the Starbucks and right before the access ramp to a major highway. So two of three lanes are shut down. On a major city street. That is the only exit for my employer, several other small companies, and a major employer in DFW. Even with all three lanes of our street open, traffic gets backed up big time during rush hour. You can only imagine how catastrophic the damage is with two lanes closed off. The only other option is to take a second highway that is a block away – and usually backed up to the tune of 40 extra minutes to your commute. And that was before the extra traffic thanks to our construction zone. We were warned that this project will take months. I cried a little when I read the notice posted in our building. Thankfully, one of my best friends told a few of us about a super-secret backroad that cuts through the land between the construction zone and the highway. I’m waiting for the word to get out and ruin it, but so far there hasn’t been more than a 10 minute delay in my normal commute.
And you know what kills me the most? In the Mother of All Construction Zones, they’re fixing the potholes that are negotiable. A little bumpy and still annoying, yes, but on the same street on the other side of the highway and in the opposition direction of traffic there are three potholes that are not passable. Everyone avoids that middle lane because the three depressions in the street are allignment-wreckers if you hit them. Does the city do anything about those? Noooooooo.
Okay. I feel better now. Maybe it’s the painkiller or maybe I just needed to vent. Any lingering grouchies I’m sure will be banished by those funny guys on Big Bang Theory. A night of silly TV shows is just what I need tonight. At this rate, maybe every night for the next few months.
*This post was pre-blogged Monday night and I was just too tired and icky to be sneaky and make it sound like I wrote it Tuesday morning. So there.