Monday, September 22, 2008

Metering Lights: Alleviation or Aggravation

If you cross any of the bridges in the San Francisco Bay Area during commute hours, you will experience the invention of metering lights. Their purpose is to regulate the traffic on the bridges to alleviate traffic congestion. Does it work? Not really sure. But regardless, the powers that be decided to expand the use of these metering lights to several freeway entrances to be used again during commute hours. These have been in existence on many Bay Area freeway onramps closer to the city where traffic congestion tends to be more concentrated. However, as the outlying areas of the Bay Area have continued experiencing growth and development, the traffic congestion has increased and metering lights began popping up closer to home. They were put in a while ago, but just have never been turned on. That was until September 16th.

On September 16th I ended up waking up earlier than the butt crack of dawn so I decided to go into work early. That early in the morningthe metering lights weren't as issue. I beat everyone to work that day, even my boss who is usually the first one to the office. On the 17th, I woke up a little later than the day before, but still left for the office much earlier than I normally do. Metering lights Day 2... not so bad. But then came the 18th. After 2 days of not getting enough sleep I slept much later and ended up leaving work 20 minutes later than I normally do. Warning!!! Traffic a nightmare just getting out of Livermore onto the freeway.

I realized I was going to be a little late for work. It was 8:15am, which meant I would probably get to the BART station in time for the 8:42am train... IF I HURRIED!!! Otherwise I would have to take the 8:57am train which would put me into the city by 9:44am, getting to my office by 10:00am. I called my boss to let him know that I would be late and explained why. He's great and told me to just work from home.

Which brings me to today. So I left this morning at my usual time, 7:40am. This time I decided to take the Portola onramp instead of the Airway Blvd. onramp thinking it may be better. Plus, I was leaving a little earlier than last week. Surely it couldn't be that bad. @#$%@$&. It could and it was.

People... I live less than 5 minutes from the freeway. I could take either Airway Blvd or Portola Avenue. Either one takes less than 5 minutes to get to from my house. IT TOOK ME 30 MINUTES JUST TO GET ON THE FREEWAY!!!!!! HELLO INSANITY!!! By the time I got on the freeway I was in the same boat as last week. Sure they use these metering lights to regulate how often cars can get on the freeway, but it doesn't decrease the number of people who still have to get on the freeway. AND... it didn't make traffic on the freeway any less congested. It just added 25 minutes to my already 1 1/2 hour commute! ARGH!!!

So, metering lights: alleviation or aggravation? DEFINATELY AGGRAVATION!!!

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

I Almost Lived at Safeway

OK, so I know that I owe this blog and whatever viewers of this blog pictures from my trip to Honduras and Costa Rica. I'll get to it. In the meantime I wanted to share my latest "Doh!" moment and so far the most exciting part of my week! (How sad! Yes, I know.)

So these last few weeks have been interesting for me. I won't go into all the gory details. Trust me... you don't want to know. Suffice it to say (is that how that phrase is written?) I have been feeling somewhat lethargic and not my usual chipper self. However, Monday I was feeling more myself and was excited to go home and be productive and get some necessary things done and get to bed early. (I've been staying up late, which is part of the problem.) I had even written out a "To Do" list... on a 3x5 card none-the-less!!! (That will only be funny for my immediate family. Sorry.)

I left the BART station and decided to stop by the Safeway on my way home and pick up some milk. I was out and for me milk is a main staple. I pulled my gorgeous red Mustang :-) into the parking lot and grabbed my bag to put in the trunk while I was in the store. I don't want to give anyone more of an excuse to break into my car. I opened the trunk and used the clicker to lock my car. I set everything down in the trunk, grabbed my wallet out of my bag so I wouldn't have to carry the whole thing into the store. I then grabbed one of the grocery bags that I keep in my trunk so that I can feel good about contributing to the improvement of the environment and not use plastic bags. I shut the trunk and started walking into the store when I realized... MY KEYS WERE IN THE TRUNK OF MY CAR!!!!!!!!!!

HELLO!!! I've never done that before. After the first initial gasp when I realized what I had done, I was pretty much calm through the rest of my ordeal. I'm a good problem solver and my mind went into gear to figure out how to get out of this mess. I have AAA. Great!!! I'll just call them and have them come help me get into my car. CRAP!!! MY PHONE IS IN MY BAG IN THE TRUNK OF MY CAR!!! OK. Next problem. So I go into Safeway and explain my predicament to the Customer Service clerk who lets me use their phone.

After getting through to the trusty AAA they inform me that the locksmith can't get their until an hour later. Lovely. I get to hang out at Safeway. So I sit in the little cafe wondering what I'm going to do with myself for the next hour. After people watching for a little while (its interesting to see how many people will wander into a grocery store and just meander for a while) I decided to get something to eat. After all, I was in a grocery store. I bought my milk, a sandwich and a few other things and went outside to eat. As it neared the time that I was assured by the AAA lady that the locksmith would arrive, I went to stand by car to wait. I figured it would be easier for them to find me in a sea of parked cars. But they didn't come.

I went back into the Safeway and called AAA again. They told me the locksmith wouldn't be able to make it until 8:11pm. WHAT!?!?!? I was so frustrated I hung up on her. It wasn't until after I hung up that I realized that she could just cancel my service request for my being rude to her. But I had to hope that she wouldn't. She didn't. But I had to wait until 8:00pm for the guy to finally come. Do you know how long it takes for the moon to rise from the horizon to almost 1/4 of the way across the sky? I do.

The locksmith was able to unlock my car and then unlock my trunk by sticking this long metal stick between my back seats and pulling the release tag. I now know that if I ever get kidnapped and thrown into the back of my car that I can just pull the release and jump right out. I hope I never have to use that.

So I finally made it home by 8:30, enough time to relax, take a shower, read and go to bed. So much for getting things done on my list. But hey, I got to spend a fun, exciting evening at a local Safeway! Lucky me! (NOT!!!)