A water main broke somewhere between Florida Ave NE and Montana Ave NE on New York Avenue NE, this afternoon or this evening, bottle necking traffic from three lanes into one lane. I did not know this as I made my commute from American University to Prince George Community College at 3:50, which typically routes me MA - RI - Q - FL - NY - 50 - Belt - ...
The stretch between Gallaudet and the break is about 1 mile, and I drove that stretch in 2hrs 15 minutes, spending 15 minutes in the jug handle connecting FLA and NY Aves.
Initially, like any calm individual thinking it was just rush hour traffic, I called my grandmother. Realizing I moved less than 1/10th of a mile in half an hour, I hung up and decided I should pay attention; somewhere ahead of me a bus load of blind nuns must have careened into a bus load of quadriplegic school kids with Downs Syndrome, and I would soon be dodging bodies like parking cones in a test drive commercial.
I missed the traffic report on WAMU!
I went to "McCain 570" on the AM dial as a last ditch effort. They were only reporting the traffic problems in the White parts of Virginia, not the Black parts of DC.
Resigned. Crestfallen. I switched the dial and listened to Market Place. I watched the sun set.
DC has interesting driving patterns. You know how you are not supposed to "block the box?" I'm mindful of that. I don't want to be that guy -- that guy who is stuck in the middle of the intersection when the lights have changed.
My light turned green, allowing the one car in front of me to proceed through the intersection, just far enough to cut off the traffic from the cross street, trying to turn right on red. It's an 80 second light. Traffic starts honking at the 40 second count down, and there is just enough daylight ahead of me to scoot my car into the cross walk on the opposite side of the intersection. At least, there was enough room until cars from the cross street decide to turn right onto red and eclipse my right of way. I can understand one car making an eclipse, but three? Since when did Maryland and DC drivers become Italians "in line" for gellato? I say a silent prayer, hoping for the death of the man who placed drivers licenses in Cracker Jack boxes.
Now I'm that guy -- that guy stuck in the intersection because the lights have changed.