Monday, August 11, 2008

440 miles of bad road

The worst part about vacations is the trip home. I actually look forward to being back home, but not much at all to the packing and hurrying it involves. There's always the fear of leaving behind something important, and resentment at being rushed through goodbyes when you want to spend more time together.

And then there's Delaware.

The first half of our trip took about 3½ hours, covered 223.9 miles (I checked), and ended with a pleasant early dinner somewhere north of Richmond, VA. We hit slowdowns throughout Maryland (some of which had to do with the backup of US 50, due to this terrible crash), but it was reasonable until we got to Delaware.

Next time, guys, just put up a sign for everyone: "Attention: Delaware is full. Please go around. We apologize for the inconvenience." No lie, we were stuck in a traffic jam on I-95 that stretched half the length of the state, due to a lane closure cutting northbound traffic from four lanes to two. It took over an hour and a half to move seven miles.

And joy of joys, at the end of it all I got to go over the Delaware Memorial Bridge, which I'm fairly certain was designed after careful scrutiny of all of my nightmares. I already have issues with bridges, but this one takes from me every means of coping. I can't just stare rigidly forward because the slope of the roadway makes it look like one is about to tumble over a cliff. I can't glance to the sides because the railings are about seven inches high - and the first five are air. (Seriously, it's like paper maiche guardrails. They look like they could be bent by an angry butterfly.) The whole thing rises up as one approaches, at such an angle that there is little or nothing to be seen in the background. It looks in every respect like a long dock for dirigibles, stretching into thin air.

Luckily, the majority of traffic wound up stuck on the road to Wilmington and Philadelphia, so I could at least get over the thing quickly - EXCEPT for the guy in front of me. On top of it all, after all the snarling traffic and growing lateness and anxiety - the guy in front of me decides to take the bridge at 35 mph.

I totally flipped my gourd. I passed him on the right, on the Bridge of Evil Intent, screeching... well, I think is was all one word, possibly in English: whathef'kisf'knwrongwithyougetmethef'koffthef'knbridgef'k! My wife actually started laughing at that point, mostly because we'd reached our limit. It was 1:15 am and we had expected to be home by 10:30. The bridge is more than an hour from our driveway.

The Delaware Memorial Bridge is a cruel joke. There should be sanctions. I don't care how long around or how late it is, next time I'm going through Philly.

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