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Oh, what a commute it was today…

August 12, 2010, 10:55 PM

So today is one of those days where I drove to work. I had to do some work-related errands in the suburbs first thing, and when I do those kinds of things, I drive into work because I’m already in the car, and so it just makes sense to do that.

Now mind you, we had some intense storms today. There were some severe thunderstorms in the early-ish morning (enough to wake me up), and then in the late afternoon and early evening, there were more severe storms, including some tornado warnings (eek!) near Fredericksburg and in the northern part of Montgomery County. Needless to say, I hear “tornado warning” and “Montgomery County” in the same sentence, and I drop everything at work to find out exactly where the tornado is, because I would like to know if I’m going to be without power, or worse, homeless, when I get home. Thankfully, not only were the tornado warning areas a considerable bit north of me, but I also never lost power the whole time.

So… the morning’s errands ended at Home Depot near my house. Since Georgia Avenue looked wall-to-wall, I took Connecticut Avenue, which I had hoped was not as bad. It was also pretty bad. It took ages to get as far as University Boulevard, i.e. this far. Basically, as Homer Simpson would say, “Gas, brake, honk.”

And with all the time at a dead stop, I ended up hitting the Twitter a bit:

So #traffic with some signals out really sucks.

Stuck in #traffic on Connecticut Ave in #MoCo near Veirs Mill Road. Where are all these people trying to go?

At this rate, I will run out of my @randiradio podcast before I even get to the DC line… #traffic #moco

Why is the “Register of Wills” an elected position in #MoCo? Why is a job like that not a career position instead of being political?

Which car is uglier: the #Scion XB or the #Cube?

It was about this time that I decided to stick my phone out the window and share a picture with everyone:

As you can see, bumper-to-bumper traffic going down Connecticut Avenue, and with no end in sight. Not fun. We are approaching the intersection with University Boulevard going southbound. I GPS’d the tweet, so you can see exactly where I was.

Oh, and by the way, I was already getting into the second hour of my Randi Rhodes podcast at this point, and so thinking I was going to run out of Randi before I got to work was a fairly valid concern.

So after the intersection with University came and went, traffic got a little better, but not by much. I was only at a dead stop long enough to send two tweets:

Just passed the first dark #traffic light of the day… that on top of several on blink. #moco

Almost to the Mormon Temple…

By the way, this is the Mormon Temple that I am referring to in that last tweet.

Getting to the Beltway, I noticed that the outer loop was moving. So I took the Beltway, which was moving at full speed – yaaay! I ended up taking that to Cabin John Parkway, which becomes the Clara Barton Parkway, which eventually becomes Canal Road NW. I chose that route because I knew that there were no traffic lights until you got to Washington DC, and even then there were few lights until you got to Georgetown.

There was still a little congestion, though, with a couple dead stops, and so I pulled out the Twitter again:

Beltway was clear, so… DETOUR! Clara Barton Parkway is moving better than Connecticut Avenue. #traffic #moco

Then approaching the DC line while creeping along, I was so excited about finally reaching DC that I took a picture of the sign:

The DC line!

I was at this point, by the way, well into the third and final hour of Randi Rhodes.

Then I got to the Chain Bridge:

Approaching the Chain Bridge<br />

Traffic was crawling at the Chain Bridge, but I didn’t know why. I would soon find out…

Another detour...

Turns out that traffic was being diverted off of Canal Road and onto Reservoir Road, for what I would later learn was a downed tree. Greeeat. On the Twitter:

Canal Road closed. Yay, another detour…

I think that pretty much summed it up.

But at least I was able to shake the traffic jams. Now I just had to find my way to work. Thankfully, I pretty much knew where I was going, and besides, DC is fairly easy to navigate. And let me tell you – the French Embassy is capital U-G-L-Y. Seriously. That thing is ugly. This is the country that gave the world the Eiffel Tower and the Statue of Liberty. You’d think that they’d be able to come up with something better for their embassy than “70s modern”.

Then meanwhile, an amusing tweet:

At 37th Street NW. 17 blocks to go…

Obviously, my math was a little off. If I’m at 37th Street, and my office is at almost 16th and P, I had at least 21 blocks to go, plus I was a few blocks north of P Street. But you’ll forgive me, I’m sure.

And then when I got to P Street, another photo:

P Street!

And I eventually made it to work, at least two hours after I started. Oh, and Randi Rhodes ran out in Georgetown, so I put on Car Talk for the rest of the drive.

Meanwhile, my coworkers tweeted to me, “@SchuminWeb aren’t these tweets while driving sort of crazy dangerous?” and “don’t die ben, we need you,” while I was on the way, but I didn’t see their tweets until I got to the office. And then when I arrived, I was roundly criticized by about four coworkers for tweeting and taking pictures while driving. My defense was that we were stopped while I was tweeting, but they wouldn’t hear of it – I still shouldn’t tweet and drive. I suppose they’re right. The question, though, becomes, will I learn and not tweet and drive next time, even at a dead stop? We’ll see, I suppose.

Then today was one of those days where I think I hit the workahol a little bit too hard. I worked a full day from my late arrival… and then some more. I didn’t end up leaving the office until nearly 10:00 at night. But hey, I was productive, so it was worth it. I could have easily gone on for several more hours, and my coworkers would see me on Friday morning wearing the same clothes I was wearing today and still at my desk and without an “It’s Friday, ya bastards!” message on Facebook. That would be bad. That’s where you eventually have to put both hands on the desk and push. That’s where you just have to say, “It will still be there tomorrow.”

Then the drive home was mostly uneventful, except for a few dark intersections and a few wackos who tried to cut me off. And no tweeting and driving for me on the way home. Both hands on the wheel at all times.

And I never lost power at home this time. Yay me.

Meanwhile, I hope tomorrow’s commute is totally uneventful. I’m taking the Metro, though, so that might be a tall request. But we’ll see…

Web site: WTOP about today's storms

Song: All I can think of is that line from Saturday Night Live, "I'M GUMBY, DAMMIT!"

Quote: So now I can go to sleep, and dream of crisp blue summer skies, and rainbows and butterflies. Definitely don't want to dream about work. I should get comp time for work-related dreams, by the way.

Categories: Driving