Thursday, December 17, 2009

A Day Spent in Beltway Traffic:

I really do love living in the Washington DC metro region.  I promise.  There is so much to do in this area, and so much more to do within a 3-4 hour drive that the thought of leaving this area scares me...even if it's just heading up to Baltimore.  Fortunately, I'm not going anywhere any time soon.

Unfortunately for me, that means I get to spend many more hours listening to my local NPR and News Traffic and Weather Stations.  My previous mileage entry was on Tuesday at 124,602.  Yesterday (Wednesday) when I pulled into my parking lot I had 124,721.  The real kicker?  I didn't drive all that much.  Or so I thought.

It wasn't that exceptional.  Aside from a trip to the dry cleaner (ok I admit, the clothes are still hanging in the back window of the car because after working overnight on Tuesday when I got home from my final exam today I was too tired [ahem...lazy] to pull them out) and dinner and a movie with a friend this evening, my driving has only consisted of a trip to and from work and a trip to and from school. (Above: The Volvo at Gravelly Point Park.  File photo)

The trip to school today, however, is well worth mentioning.  My final exam started at 7 pm sharp this evening.  If I was not in my seat at 7pm, I would not be permitted to take the final. I assumed leaving my house (30 minutes away with no traffic, 40 minutes in rush hour) at 6 pm would be plenty of time.   Heading down 267 (Dulles Toll Road) was no major concern.  Actually, I felt like that section of the journey went by quicker than normal.  I breezed through the EZPass lanes and then traffic came to an absolute screeching dead halt.  I watched the minutes tick by as I sat there hopelessly in queue to get on the beltway, fidgeting more and more as the time inched closer and closer to 6:30.  6:31. 6:32.  Finally at 6:39 I pulled on to the beltway, again it went to an absolute dead stop.

I remembered then, it's the holiday shopping season, and I was sitting right in between the two exits to the largest shopping area in the entire DC metro region.  Tysons Corner Center. 6:42.  At this point my palms started to sweat.  In perfect traffic, from where I was sitting it takes exactly 5 minutes to get to a parking spot on campus.  At a near dead standstill, it could take 15, which would leave exactly 3 minutes to walk from my car (who knows how far out I'd be parking...) to my seat in class.  Finally, at 6:44 I passed the 7/495 interchange.  The final Tysons Corner exit and traffic was free flowing yet again.  I didn't come to a stop again until 6:48 when I hit the light in front of my school red.  By 6:49 I had pulled into a parking spot.  Bookbag, check.

I was at a near dead sprint into the class, and digging through my book bag.  Textbook, check.  Notebook, check. Final paper, check. #2 pencil, check.  Scantron form, shit.  No scantron meant a bypass to the school book store on the way in, which is a 2 minute run from my seat in class.  By 6:53 I was in line, 6:56 I was out the door running to class.  I ran around the building, right into someone who was clearly also late for an exam, in the opposite direction.  We picked ourselves time for formalities, and continued on our merry way.  my Blackberry said it was 6:58 when I hit the door of the building. It was just in front of me.  I saw the classroom, my professors head was sticking out the door. I caught his eye, he walked out the door.

"The exam was delayed 15 minutes, go get a drink, I heard about all the traffic in Tysons and wanted to make sure everyone had a chance to get in."

Well, at least I got some exercise.

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