Friday the 13th, 2013.
I awake around 7am to the sound of mass emails arriving in my work inbox. It’s the sound of concerned co-workers sending warnings of the morning’s road closures to all those who made the life decision to commute from Raleigh to Durham each day.
Highway 147 has been closed completely due to some kind of power line tragedy — in both directions.
So being the expert commuter that I am, I made sure to research the most efficient alternate route. I’m aiming to be at work at 9am, so I leave an hour early, just to be safe. I’m feeling confident that I will avoid any residual back-ups with my well-thought-out alternate route.
All is going well 20 minutes into the drive, and I reach route 70.
And that’s when the cars stop.
Clearly, my influential commuterism tactics have spread throughout the Triangle, and thousands of others also selected the same alternate route to Downtown Durham.
At this point, it’s 35 minutes into my drive, but I am still optimistic that i can still be at work by 9am.
The minutes pass by like molasses and I realize I’ve only made it through one stop light.
20 minutes later, I’ve made it 2.5 miles to the next side road that will get me to Downtown Durham.
My Google maps app tells me I’m only 5 minutes away now.
It’s now 9:05.
I think I can still make it to my meeting.
That’s when I see the train.
It’s a fairly small train, I can see all the cars in one view, so I figure it won’t take long for it to pass.
But the train stops.
60 seconds go by.
Then the train begins to move backwards.
And then it stops.
Another 60 seconds go by.
Then it begins to move forward again.
I think we all know where this is going.
So after about 10 minutes of stop, back, stop, forward, stop, etc.
the train passes, and I think I’m free.
But there’s a red light where I need to go straight.
The longest red light of my life.
At 9:30, I stroll into the office.
Total drive time: 1 hour and 30 minutes.
The office is buzzing with other survival stories of this morning’s commuting nightmare, while the iPhones are buzzing with texts and emails of the less-fortunate ones who still remain stuck in a line of traffic that may never end.