Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Lost on highway

April 24th, 2010
The miracle finally happened: I’m alone! Alone in my back yard at least. In my head there’s Intwine, in my neighbor’s backyard there is a group of workmen tearing up the roof to build a dormer. Every now and then the tree hovering over me sends a shower of dried little somethings down, landing in most peculiar places. Think I’ll have to find the latent tree kids later on in my dress.
These last weeks have been busy. Let’s see what is entertaining to share hmmm…
Ah right, the encounter with the policeman. Or was that more about getting lost on the highway? Anyway, here I was, getting up at 6.40 AM as usual. First thing to do is feed the cats. Yes, the same cats that have been mewing at my door in the middle of a nice sleep. Cats that get you to open the back door, only to close it again after the wannabe tigers slink back indoors again, afraid of the light. Repeat this three times. While drinking fresh orange juice, I then check my online game and mail, plus Twitter. Aye, I’m a Twittering tweet and I like it!
Of course time flies when you don’t have it, so off to the shower. There even more time flies, down the drain this time, but I really couldn’t care less. The shower is my hero, my savior, my life giver, returner of energy and creativity. Don’t even mentioning the way it brings my totally unruly bunch of silly sticking-to-all-sides thin hair back in line (read: downwards) in 2 seconds.
On to getting dressed. Pulling open the wardrobe door is easy. Trying to decide what to wear is a whole different matter. I sit on my bed, stare and dream. One ensemble after the other races through my brains. A dress it will be, with boots. Downstairs for two breakfast chocolate cookies and warm milk, while preparing a lunch bag. Dutchies eat bread, in case you didn’t know that. Preferably whole wheat bread with cheese. But I prefer herb cream cheese with smoked salmon any time! Sometimes you simply have to spoil yourself.
As if feeding the cats isn’t enough, there are two cat toilets claiming the attention of my nose. I won’t go into that, as I don’t know if you had breakfast yet. But years and years of daily practice make this an easy chore. What’s next? Getting the hell out of the door, since I’m already late of course. My little green car practically jumps onto the street, eager to get some exercise. One street, the roundabout, onto the highway…
Weird, all signs are on, maximum speed 50 kilometers. I’m already rolling my eyes, expecting the worst but hoping for the best. Please, PLEASE no traffic jam. It’s 10 kilometers to my work by the way. By what way? By the fastest way. I keep to the left side of the highway and nimbly dodge the first exit. The second one is mine, not even 1,5 kilometers from my house. Well no bloody way. There’s a big red X above the lane to the exit I need to take. I mean, I really need to take it, ‘cause I haven't the foggiest idea how to get to work in another high-way. The routes that lead through the city are totally jammed in the mornings.
Stay calm Mar, I whisper to myself. This is so silly that I turn up the volume so I won’t hear my own whispering.  Ever so slowly I pass the cars that are waiting on the long exit, wondering what to do. They seem to be moving. That is, if you watch long enough. Two policemen on motor bike in neat but blinding yellow outfits are chatting on the lane next to the line. Nearing the end of the exit I see an opening and dive in. Alright, reached second base and want to get to work. So drive argh. One meter into the right direction, my singing gets louder.
What’s that? What now? What?? One of the policemen decides to finally do something. There are a lot of practical and sensible things a police officer can do you know. Catching thieves, saving helpless maidens in distress, or being an endless source of entertainment for cats-in-trees. But noooo, this one decides to maneuver his bike right in front of my car! With big blue eyes I stare through the window. One hand stretched out, palm towards me, the other points back to the highway. Meanwhile the car in front of me sneaks a bit further down the exit. Shit! The expression on my face gets blonder and blonder by sheer concentration. I don’t WANT to go back on the highway man, I need this exit! The man stares at me and points a second time. I start to shake my head, lifting my hands in a helpless gesture. Third time he points and starts glaring. Well mister, I’m glaring back and point to the exit. If this doesn’t help, I shout that I don’t know the way. Do I need to tell that three  seconds later I’m pulling up the highway again, muttering and cursing? A whole line of cars waiting and the man decides to jump in front of MY car? Hmmm I must be really special Wink In the rear view mirrow I see more cars pulling out the exit.
Cruising the highway once again, I realize I’m driving down the same road I take when visiting my parents in the south-east of the Netherlands. Time for louder music. Nice blue road signs tell me I’m on my way to Eindhoven. Pardon me? I don’t want to go to Eindhoven! I need to get back to my own town for Pete’s sake. And my own sake. Plus my coworkers’ sake! Damn. 16 kilometers and another little traffic jam later I see a sign with the name of the desired destination on it. Down the exit I go again, straight into another traffic jam. But that’s good, I tell myself. Where the hell am I?
I stealthily take out my cell phone while keeping an eye out for stray police officers, and punch in the number of the university. Karen answers the phone. ‘Karen,’ I yell, ‘I have no idea where I am!’. Laughter greets me from the other side. ‘Well, I don’t know either,’ she says calm, ‘what happened?’. So I give her the nasty policeman story. Seems a truck had decided to take a break and get some rest on its side. That particular road was totally blocked. Why didn’t the police take action sooner then, in stead of waiting for a line of 1 kilometer of cars getting stuck on the exit? Not my problem at that moment, bigger problem was to reach my destination. ‘What do you see Mar, describe the buildings to me?’, Karen’s voice interfered with my logistic solutions for the area. So I told her names of firms, waiting cars (just to annoy her a bit), and finally I spotted yet another big building to the left. In fact it looked kind of familiar! She started laughing and said ‘If I’m not mistaken, you are very near to the uni!’. Well hurrah, that would be marvelous.
The line of cars reaches the traffic light and, following Karen's orders, I take a left turn onto a wide road with people who all want to go to work; or at least need to. My lips curl into a big smile when indeed I see familiar surroundings. Singing loudly I proceed and park my car in the uni’s parking lot. Safe at last. And it wasn’t even 9 AM. On my way in I bump into René and pull his long black pony tail. He's growling about traffic and we exchange our stories. Seems he had been waiting in the long line on the exit I was chased off for over half an hour. In the end I was the lucky one!
And now ladies and gents, it’s time for lunch. Soon there will be a new Drieskes story.

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