Winter doldrums are over, as far as traffic is concerned

March 3, 2019

You may have noticed that traffic is starting to increase on the weekends. Oh, how quickly we forget. In the summer, Route 1 looks like a major sporting event, such as the Super Bowl, is exiting. The only difference is that there are few drivers wearing a block of cheese on their head. 

In fact, some drivers think they actually are in a parking lot, as they have stopped dead in their lane, leading other drivers to offer such helpful directions as, “Go back to ...” you get the idea. I don’t know what eventually happens to these drivers frozen in time, but I think DelDOT picks them up and deposits them as part of the beach replenishment project, where they are ground into little particles of sand. I hear things.

Not since the Raul Castro School of Driving closed have I seen such erratic maneuvers. Well, maybe if you are taking a cab in New York City, where there are still remnants of human DNA  stuck in the taxi grille. Hey, when a passenger says step on it and hands over a $20 bill, all’s fair in love, war and ramming speeds.

The last time I took a taxi in a major city, the driver seemed to know a lot about the psychology of other drivers on the road, yelling about their origins and informing them about how tough their toenails would become. It was a great civic lesson, and by the time I landed at the curb, I actually had picked up enough of another language to apply for a teaching position at a major university.

You have to remember that the snowbirds will be coming back soon from wintering in Florida. They will creep in, like when a spider tries to run across the floor. You notice some movement out of the corner of your eye. But nothing is there when you look. It’s only when you pause long enough, you can see that a whole army is marching in and that’s when you can smash it, over and over again. Sorry.

Not only are highways, parking spaces and grocery lines starting to clog, but so are things like carotid arteries and shelves that contain hemorrhoid medicine. So you are going to have to change your drive time, at the very least.

My favorite problem with traffic is when the light turns green and the person driving the car in front of you doesn’t move. If you blow your horn as a reminder that the light is green, for some reason, that driver takes it personally, mostly because they are on the phone conducting important business, such as pleading with their bookie for another couple of weeks for payment. No one likes the idea of wearing cement shoes. 

Now if you wait at the light behind that person, hoping they will look up and go, you must have a lot of patience. It usually happens about a second before the light turns red again, leaving you very little time to notice the bumper sticker with a gang sign across it. If it has a south central LA affiliation, you may not want to blow your horn because your chances of breathing again are not good.

On Route 1, it pays to be careful, especially if you haven’t taken your medication. And besides that, there a great many other vehicles riding along in the far lanes, like bikes, scooters, buses and the occasional burro. And sometimes they haven’t taken their medication either. So what we have here is the Charge of the Light Brigade – to the left of you, to the right of you, and over the median sometimes.

To top things off (literally!), folks are starting to move their summer things down to the beach. I recently followed behind a car that had a mattress strapped to the roof of the vehicle. It wasn’t so much strapped to the roof, but rather held on by a thread of dental floss. The mattress had come loose and was flapping up and down like Mick Jagger’s tongue.  You couldn’t see around it, over it or under it.

It’s spring again, and Mondays are starting to look pretty good.

  • Nancy Katz has a degree in creative writing and is the author of the book, "Notes from the Beach." She has written the column Around Town for the Cape Gazette for twenty years. Her style is satirical and deals with all aspects of living in a resort area on Delmarva.