It’s always that great common denominator to talk about how painful traffic can be. I sat in bumper to bumper and sometimes zero activity traffic yesterday on I64 eastbound. The gods of transportation known as VDOT decided to shut down two of the three crossings from one side of the water to the other on a Saturday. This is so that we can all see just how many people travel to the beach and back – or maybe it was a ploy to get folks to vote for a light rail or train to come up the peninsula. Who knows. I’m sure there was a really really great reason for this decision. I have all confidence in organizations like public transportation authorities…
But if we didn’t have traffic, whatever would we talk about? The weather? Oh Lord, the summer is SO HOT here! Or maybe we’d talk about kids. I hate kids. They suck.
Truth is that I spent the time in the car for about the first hour going about 20 mph checking FB for the 101 notifications about the great success of the Beatles Tribute Show on Friday. Basking in the glory and reverie of how well the show went and being mostly happy with my own performance, though I am admittedly my own worst critic, I really didn’t mind THAT much about the stop-and-go-ness. But then the 2nd hour of being DEAD STOPPED on the interchange between 64 and 664, with no way out, no relief in sight, and having finished a large cup of mango lemonade, I realized I was STUCK STUCK STUCK. Like OMG STUCK. Like I am this close to getting out of my car, screaming and running around and stomping my feet stuck. I am suddenly a 4 year old coming down from a sugar rush.
I get out of the car. I stretch. I look both ways. I consider how far of a walk it is to the exit, the one I passed or the one coming up. I think about how tired I am and how I really wish I had taken a nap. But I was way too excited to see my boyfriend and I knew it was going to take a lot longer to get there even without the accident on 664.
And then it occurs to me. Traffic is like that waiting period, the obstacle course in life that keeps you from getting what you want on the other side of the water. It’s a physical representation of all our dreams deferred, our longing for something not yet but pending. That exit only a mile and a half but an hour away from where we are now.
And I get desperate and scared and frustrated and then someone honks at me because I didn’t get in my car to move the two feet up right away. how exciting. I looked around to see who honked and no one seemed to take credit for it so I shook my head and debated screaming out loud or running around my car before getting back in. But then I realized everyone would think I was Chinese.
At the two hours in the car mark, I talk to the Love of my Life and he says something like, I want to see you but if you want to turn around, then do that. And I’m so sorry. And he says I love you and he says he’d understand if I turned around. And I was way too upset to say it out loud or I’d surely burst into tears, but I think to myself, Hell no. I am not sitting in the car for what will be 3 hours to NOT be in your arms. And I realize that it could be another two hours in the car before I get to see him and I simply say I’ll call you when I get to the next exit and see how I feel about it. But I knew exactly how I’d feel. The same as I felt right then. Frustrated. Completely mad as a hatter. And still totally in love.
This is what I have, I thought. I need to hold onto this. Not panicked desperation or feeling that I cannot live without him, but more that everything we’re wading and waiting through – all the ups and downs, the stop-and-gos, the jams and the accidents, everything that happens from here out, everything that will try to keep us from each other and will put up obstacles between us, and those things will come – cannot keep us apart and will only make us realize just how much we belong together.
And so I prayed, Thy will be done. And not moments later, I get a call from Rob’s friend and a new plan. Rescue by boat! I have never been rescued by boat before. This is good. It made me think of that story pastors like to tell about the flood and people sitting on the roof of their house and neighbors come by saying you need a lift, and well I can’t remember the whole thing (I’m so bad at telling jokes) but the punch line is something like God in heaven saying to them I sent you two boats and a helicopter, what more did you expect? Anyway, I was sent a boat and I didn’t refuse it.
Then I hear that he was thinking after getting off the phone with me and that he was making a phone call and figuring out how to come get me by boat. And I realize that I’m not the only one who needs this, who is working this out on the other side of the water, pursuing and seeking and hunting down and better than a knight in shining armor or a white horse. I never really cared for armor, jeans do just fine. The white boat doesn’t hurt any though. And I have to admit there are fewer sights more heartwarming than the man you love in the bow of a boat coming for you as you stand on the dock after three hours in a car going less than an average of 25 mph. And he offers his hand and you step on board and you’re not quite ready to say it was all worth it, but you’re getting there.
With special shout out to John and Melissa McCormick for rescuing me over the waters!!