Friday, May 18, 2007

Like Hydrocortisone from the DOT

I have often thought that if the cuticle on my right middle finger would grow back, that would be a sign that my eczema has completely subsided. It is from the juncture of nail and skin on this finger that the condition seems to emanate and spread, not traveling down the middle finger and back up the next, but jumping from fingertip to fingertip as a forest fire from treetop to treetop.

For years, in our city, we have suffered an I-85 fractured and chopped, stricken with a rash of orange barrels. Birth pangs of a new freeway some called it, but most just bitched. Many times, while running late for a job, I found my exit ramp had changed like a river in an overnight flood, and myself in the wrong lane and having to backtrack.

It was the Guess Road interchange that was the worst, and had been the worst before the work began. Of all the city streets connected to I-85, Guess was most potted, its lanes the most constraining, causing the most backups for turning left. The renovation process brought even more constriction of lanes, more awful gouges in the pavement, the biggest flareup of orange barrels. This was where, most likely, you would find the very ramp you needed closed, with no alternative provided -- just drive past, turn around, come back, and if you don’t like it, tough toenails, we’ve got a job to do.

About the Washington Street bridge being closed for years, friend “S” said that it was a sign of extreme incompetence. He had never heard of road repairs taking so long. As for me, I live two blocks from that bridge, and I had never crossed it in my life. Now it’s back, wider than before, with an extra cross-hatched no-man’s lane in the middle for safety, and extra shoulder width on the sides for bicycles or maybe just safe walking, plus sidewalks on each side. I now do walk out on that bridge and admire our interstate.

We’ve got handsome brick sound barriers that will glow burnt orange in the summer evenings, echoing the color of the haze in the sky. We’ve got crape myrtles all down the center. Where else on earth do you have crape myrtles all down the center? If they like CO2, heat, and humidity, they’re in for a joyous summer.

Friend “G” always hated the 15-501 northbound to I-85 northbound entrance ramp; now, he says, the ramp itself has as many lanes as the interstate used to have, and the interstate at that portion now has, like, 4 lanes.

From the Washington street bridge, counting the lanes is like counting stripes in a suit. Your eye tends to skip a few, there are so many.

And that Guess Road interchange? Now Guess has two through lanes going each way, plus the left-turn lanes going each way, plus a large median with a brick border and plantings of shrubbery and flowers.

Our disease has been cured at its center, and we can all enjoy a safer, more supple, wrinkle-free, youthful interstate-driving experience. Passers-through may not be inclined to stop in our city, but they will certainly be inclined to pass back and forth before continuing on their way.

2 comments:

G said...

Did you friend G actually say "like 4 lanes"?

Elrond Hubbard said...

Not only that, friend G said, ". . . you friend G . . ."