Mojo's Commute


So: right now, the city closest to me--Springfield, MA (such a wretched hive of scum and villainy that Mexican engineers visiting my Favorite Husband's work down in Windsor, CT were literally terrified to leave their hotel because of its proximity)--has been undergoing a giant decade-long project of repairing the infrastructure that looms above it, which is Interstate 91.

I-91, like its predecessor/companion Route 5, is the chaperone of the Connecticut River for the most part, although that has little to do with this. No, this is mostly about the highway, which, at some point in my late teens and early twenties, was widened from two lanes to three. But then came the vague realization that even giant manmade objects require some form of maintenance on occasion, so there's been a very long and expensive campaign to rework the I-91 overpass so it doesn't, ya know, fall into Springfield proper. Which yeah, I'm all for: if I visit Springfield I like to visit voluntarily and not because I am plummeting fifty feet into it from the crumbling remnants of a bridge.

So during this construction interlude, they have dropped the lanes down from three to two. And if that is not enjoyable enough, right where I usually get on the highway is right where the three-to-two mushing takes place, and right before this mushing there is ANOTHER merging, in which much of the traffic of a road coming in on our left must cross over OUR traffic to take a side road and get into Springfield proper.

During rush hour this quickly and daily turns into the proverbial mess. I hesitate to call it a nightmare, because in the grand scheme of things it's more of a bother than an nightmare, just as Springfield's reputation among Mexican engineers as being way dangerous is way exaggerated. It *IS* a bother, but it's merely an exercise in taking turns and participating in being a society. It's tiresome, but it's really not that bad.


Even though this situation is tailor made for the need to be patient and understanding--every day I can hear Mr. Snuffleupagus from Sesame Street saying, in his tired voice, "Kids, what we need to do here is... CO-OP-PER-RAY-SHUN!"--there is always at least that ONE PERSON who simply WILL NOT WAIT THEIR TURN. You see them come ripping up behind you, and you think, "Aw, here comes today's Trouble!" And sure enough, they're not letting people in, they're bullying all over the place, and they just gum everything up.

The BEST part--the sort that always makes me laugh in a sort of sadly sardonic OMG-I-hate-human-beings-so-much kind of way--is how people treat these very large semi-trailer trucks that are similarly caught in this daily mess. I understand that people are afraid of trucks for various reasons--they are hard to see around, they're very big and scary and heavy and hard to stop, they drive slower, they can flatten your pathetic little car like a pancake and not even realize it, etc--but since EVERYONE in a mile radius is only doing three miles an hour, any such prejudice is pointless and silly.

But even so, BY JIMINY NO ONE IS GOING TO LET THESE BIG TRUCKS GET IN FRONT OF THEM. And hence NO ONE LETS THEM MERGE. So the poor trucks have to force their way in, and every idiot non-cooperative car driver has a new story on how some aggressive trucker nearly FORCED THEM OFF THE ROAD, when they were so clearly and obviously being the jerk in this instance. (And, for dramatic effect, neglecting to point out that said death-defying anecdote where they barely-escaped-with-their-lives was actually done at THREE MILES AN HOUR.)

So, for heaven's sake, people. Take your turns. Let the trucks in. IT'S NOT GOING TO KILL YOU.