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One of Those Driving Days

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There was one, brief, shining moment at 5:16 this morning that I’d thought about staying in bed for the day, pulling the blankets over my head and just trying to ignore the rest of the world. But, duty bound, or foolish, or insanely open to punishment and pain, I decided to get up, shower, get dressed and face my day.


That was probably the first mistake.


I arrived at our parking lot, just a second or two after the gate went down. Let me explain…The parking lot at work has two entrances, but one is “guarded,” if you will, by two gates, similar to those you’d find protecting other parking lots or ramps. In the morning, they’re open, until some time that never seems to be the same each day. If they close, you can’t get in to the lot through that entrance.


So this morning, I had actually started making the left-hand turn from the street into the entry for the parking lot when the gate began to lower. I’d thought for a second about gunning it and trying to sneak under the lowering arm, but there are certain things that I don’t think a minivan is capable of, and that wasn’t one of them. So I swore and tried to turn around in the small entry area so that I could turn left back onto the street and get to the other entry.


And of course, there was traffic.


The hassle of the gates, though, also gets you at the end of the day. Alas, they aren’t open during the departure times as they are for the arrival. Instead, you drive up to them through the parking lot, and they open. One car at a time.


The bonus is that across the street, at almost the exact same point is the entry/exit for the Target parking lot. I want to turn right out of the lot. Everyone leaving Target always wants to turn left out of their lot. And they never seem to care that there’s someone in our lot wanting to get out and get home.


But today was not as big a problem as usual. Instead, it came from another lot for another business just up the street, where someone on the street was being kind enough to let a car in…Except that car wanted to turn left and not turn right and get into the flow of the street.


So we had a Minnesota standoff: one nice person trying to be nice to another, while the other has other plans and is trying to wave off the kindness. So instead of not going, the car pulls out into the street and stops…And waits for the chance to turn left. As our light turned green.


Let me explain here: I work off of Central Avenue, which is, even during light traffic, a busy street. It’s a popular alternative for people leaving downtown to get home to Ham Lake or Cambridge or Timbuktu or something. And the stoplight which just turned green allows those of us trying to get home–or to pick up family members and then go home–to turn left and get on our way. And because Central is busy, that stoplight doesn’t turn green as often as I’d like.


Yup. I missed the light because of the car turning left. Well, I missed it along with another 10 or 15 cars.


Stupid left turns.


See you tomorrow.