One day while driving
Once upon a time I used to live in the town of Concord, Masschusetts and work in the city of Cambridge. My place of residence and my place of employment were a dozen miles or so apart. It has always been one of my rules of life that I not spend any large amount of time commuting. Even in those days I was very much a green.
Being a sensible sort of chap, I had arranged things so that my commutes were in off hours. I have never had any desire to commute while the roads are chocked with rush hour traffic. My commute was simple: I drove down Thoreau Street to Route 2; this was a matter of a few minutes. I took Route 2 into Cambridge; conveniently my place of employment was right off of Route 2.
Route 2 was (and I presume still is) a major commuter route. As such it was a divided highway with a number of lanes in each direction. At the hours I chose to drove to and from work there was seldom any traffic of note, and the drive was quick and pleasant.
The outer Boston area has a ring and spoke highway system. There are two major rings, an inner ring called Rte 128 (aka US 95), and an outer ring called Rte 495. Route 2 is one of the many spokes leading from suburbia and exurbia into the hub. I mention all of this tedious geography because it has some connection with the story and I am not quite clever enough to get to the point without bringing in the details. The important detail is that there is a large cloverleaf intersection where 2 crosses 128.
Now that we have all of the backgound details out of the way, let us can on with the story. One sunny afternoon I was driving into work. As I neared 128 I was the only car on my side of the road. That is, the only car actually on the road. Far in the distance ahead, just past the exit ramp, there was a car pulled off on the side of the road.
As I drove on the car backed up onto the highway. Yes, I said, it backed up onto the highway. As I drew nearer it proceeded to back up across the road into the higher speed lanes. At this point I had no idea what in the hell it was up to, but I was, ah, concerned. I hit the brakes and got over as far to the left as I could, thanked God I had my seat belt on, and prepared to go off the road and into the median strip if he backed up right in front of me.
A little before I got to him he stopped with the tail of his car almost in the far leftback lane. Then he proceeded to complete his three point turn and drive down route 2 the wrong way to the exit ramp he had missed. I passed him without incident and shook all the rest of way to work.
It was a learning experience; I had not previously known how scary and how dangerous it can be to drive on a multi-lane highway on a sunny day with no traffic.
This page was last updated June 1, 2007.