Tuesday, May 23, 2006

12 Mile

12 miles of Interstate 80 can take up to 4 hours between the hours of 11 pm and 4 am during construction.

Some engineering genius decides to close all access points save for one to go on to the bridge.

Cars cue up, rev up, beep incessantly, and blare music.

Large lines of red, braking lights snake down stretches of street.

It's a nightmare.

I left the Sunset last night about midnight, a little cranky I missed my Monday night salsa session, but really honored to be hosted by Dancho to a lovely Mexican treat of a poblano-marinated chicken, arroz, and freshly toasted tortillas. This was the real deal. Y me encanto!

I forgot about the traffic, but when I got on Bryant and saw the line of cars on 10th I groaned knowingly.

I scooted around the surface streets to the back ways I knew. The traffic was a cranky, tangled mess of people who were attempting the same strategy, only louder.

The club was in full effect among the snake of snarling, revving engines. Interspersed with some hyphy hip-hop was some bubba classic rock and roll. It was all loud and annoyed the hell out of me.

Me? I was switching between the classical station and the BBC. They were reporting the independence referendum for Montenegro over and over. Interesting. I wish Puerto Rico would finally make the same decision.

I had a little over a quarter tank of gas in my tank. And I sure as hell was not going to run out of gas on the bridge sitting in ridiculous traffic on the way to Oakland.

So I found a safe spot to park with lights, leaned my seat back, turned off the car (save for the radio) and began twisting my hair. I got about halfway done when my exhaustion and frustration level got the best of me. I turned off the radio for fear of draining the battery and set my phone alarm for 1:30.

I never really slept. The noise level was enough to keep me from resting too much. I sleepily woke to a liberty-spiked couple walking hand-in-hand up the street. Tall, pale people in ripped up black gear and engaged in a positive conversation.

The line of cars was still down the block and I refused to move.

I reset the alarm for 2:30.

2:30 am came and I woke again. Still traffic. I was miffed, but could rest no more, so I sat up, brought out my rosewater to mist my hair and sectioned with my fingers, combed through section by section and continued twisting. (I noted to myself that I need a trim. My ends are all splitting.)

3 am came and the line was still ridiculous. My hair was severely tangled and I was not making quick progress with my twists.

I went back to "sleep". It had begun to rain at this point.

At 3:30 came silence. I sat up and saw that the cue of cars had disappeared!

I called 511 to confirm...and traffic had, in fact, dissipated.

I could possibly be home by 4 am!

Jane, my trusty steed, started with a purr and down and around I went to the open exit.

The bridge belonged to me and a few other stragglers crossing the bridge to the East Bay. I pulled up to my house at 3:50 and dispelled with putting Jane in the car park. I got out, and blearily walked up the steps and over to my mailbox.

I opened it to find a card from my friends Christine and Scott in Pennsylvania and found a birthing anouncement card of their dear Amelia. She's perfect.

I opened my front door, noticed my hunger and had a bowl of Amaranth flakes before lazily disrobing and putting on jammies. 4:30 this morning I finally lay my head to sleep.

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