Thursday, February 3, 2011

Tunnel Trouble

So I retired from the Navy 6 years ago, and since I had a support system in the town I lived in, and I didn’t want to move my kids again, I decided to Settle in South Hampton Roads Virginia.  Where the H E double hockey sticks is that you may ask.  Especially if you don’t live in the Tidewater area of Virginia.  South Hampton Roads Virginia is comprised of 5 cities: Norfolk, Chesapeake, Portsmouth, Suffolk and Virginia Beach. 

Now I really enjoy living in SHR (South Hampton Roads is waaaaaay too long to type over and over).  We have at least 4 different concert venues, an Opera House, dozens of museums, Norfolk Stae Univ, Old Dominion University, parks, and of course, VIRGINIA BEACH!  So much to enjoy…who wouldn’t be happy here?

Do you remember the music from Jaws…cue music……
jaws music 
There is a dark side to SHR……. And it is the TUNNELS!!

In South Hampton Roads we are surrounded by inlets, bays, rivers, etc.  So we have to use tunnels and bridges to get from one place to another.  Some residents are lucky and don’t have to cross any body of water to go from work to home.  I am not one of them. 

Because I live in North Suffolk, and work in Norfolk as well as go to College in Norfolk the most handy way for me to get there and back is to go through the MidTown tunnel.  Usually I can just zip right through the tunnel because I have made my work and school hours after or before rush hour. But then there are the days I am running late.

The MidTown tunnel is a two lane tunnel.  Yessirree Bob, TWO lanes, one going in each direction.

This traffic in the picture is probably in the middle of the day or night.  Remember when I said sometimes I run late?  This is what it looks like then:

Yes, you see it correctly.  That is THREE lanes of traffic trying to get to one lane.  Do you need me to remind you what it looks like inside the tunnel?

So look up at the three lane picture again.  An important thing to know is that the middle lane of those three is the actual lane that feeds into the tunnel.  So you might ask yourself, “Well then, why are there cars in all three lanes?”  You ask that because you are smarter than the prople in those two outside lanes……..      This is why they are there::  They stalk you.

They wait for  a teeny tiny opportunity when maybe you are gazing off into space, or thinking about what to make for dinner, or maybe thinking about how bad you have to pee but you have been waiting in that line for a fricking hour and you are NOT about to get out if it……that is when they SWOOP in and put one side of their bumper in between you and the car in front of you.  Just half of their front tire.  Then it is on!!!  Can they squeeze in more, before you catch on, and move up???

Let me tell you what I do.  I am bumper to bumper with the car in front of me, and HOO BOY that takes skill.  One heartbeat to slow on your brakes and you are pulling out your insurance card.  Two heartbeats too slow on the gas and dude is putting his tire in. 

Then there are the people who ride next to you with their blinker on hoping you will let them in. PLEASE people!!  I have been in the stinking line for over an hour… you REALLY think I am going to just let you in????  OH NO, I think NOT!!  I won’t even make eye contact.

Hey don’t judge me!! 

I will peek out of the corner of my eye.  If it is an elderly person who is obviously confused, or an obvious tourist who just doesn’t know the lay of the land, I will let them in, but Boy Howdy, if you are a local…..FORGET IT!

I have even gone so far as to roll down my window and ask the person stalking me, driving right next to me with their blinker on, if they think they are more special than I am?  What gives them the right to skip the line?  That usually gets a deer in the headlights look. 

 I have actually said to people, “Hey, you may be able to get behind me, but you are not getting in front of me, because I have been in this line for over an hour”.  I really am generally not that brave, but by that point my leg is tired...gas brake...gas brake...gas brake, I probably have to pee like crazy, and my kids have called me three times to ask where is the snack item of their choice, and can they watch a movie and when will I be home?? I am just annoyed.  The whole time I am being psuedo brave, my heart is pounding and I am scared  they may pull out a weapon…..but gosh darnit, I have been waiting for over an hour.   

 We all went  to Kindergarten…..what did we learn there????  TAKE YOUR TURN AND DON'T CUT IN LINE!!

South Hampton Roads, you can be sure if you are in the line for the midtown tunnel and some crazy lady rolls down her window and politely tells you to “get behind me”, just wave and say “Hi Carol!”  I may let you in front.

Carol, who may cut a meeting short to avoid tunnel traffic, but I promise to reschedule......

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