Friday, July 07, 2006

Can't find my way home

When I explained it later, it sounded like I was making it up, or at the very least, pilfering it from a sitcom or something.

I left my parents' house in Tracy recently after a brief visit to claim a computer my dad was working on for me.

Before I left for home, I stopped at Sonic to grab a drink and some tater tots. I hadn't eaten all day, but I didn't want to buy a whole meal because I'd be home in about a half-hour.

After getting my snack, I saw that traffic on 205 was moving at a brisk -3 mph, so I figured I'd take surface streets and catch the freeway farther down. This usually shaves a good few minutes off.

The key word there is "usually." Construction crews had essentially erased the path I'd intended to take, so I sat there. In stopped traffic.

I wasn't going to let it get to me, though. I surmised that though the mile-long construction zone wasn't quite as speedy as I'd've liked, it was still quicker than the freeway once I'd passed the roadwork.

My tater tots were a memory by the time I hit the freeway, but I was practically halfway home.

I approached the 120 bypass and spied a hazard sign that warned of an accident ahead. "Expect long delay," it said. No joke. It was backed up almost all the way to the turnoff to even get on the bypass.

Not a problem. My first thought was that I could swing up to Stockton, catch Highway 4 four a bit and then hop onto 99 south from there.

After driving a little, I realized that I didn't need to go so far. I could catch 99 from Manteca. This epiphany hit me just after I passed Manteca.

I turned around and decided to try the Lathrop exit, as it looked considerably less packed with people rerouted by the accident. I knew I could go down a ways and then cut across into Manteca.

At least, I could've if traffic hadn't ground to a halt because of -- everybody sing along -- construction.

Back onto the freeway and down to the next exit, where, much to my surprise, I was greeted by a long line of cars because of more roadwork.

Normally by this point, I'd be lamenting that there aren't more effective swear words, but I'm making an effort to not let things bug me so much.

All I had to do was just be patient and everything would be okay.

Finally, I made it through the last of the yellow tape and orange cones.

Just in time for the train.

After the train, I made my way through Manteca and caught Highway 99, which looked eerily like a slightly mobile parking lot.

The trip that should've taken just a little over a half-hour ended up taking two full hours.

And my wife wonders why I don't like to drive.

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