By lex, on January 7th, 2004
Son number one had a physical at 0830 for his pursuit of a Naval Academy appointment and ROTC nomination
Having some experience with the rigors of military physicals , I helpfully offered him the advice to keep pressure on the main fire hose after he got up that morning, since the first thing he’d have to do upon arrival at the clinic would no doubt be to provide a urine sample. Not much worse than being handed the cup and having nothing at all to offer. You’ll receive sympathetic advice like, “drink some water,” and “try not to think about it.” Which doesn’t much help in the short term.
So it was entirely predictable, I suppose, to find that a major mishap had occurred just north of the 5 / 805 merge about 5 minutes prior to us reaching the highway. Now, I’ve written before about how ugly the “merge” can be. But at its previous worst, it was Beyonce Knowles to Medusa compared to what we experienced yesterday. We spent an hour and 15 minutes on a 270 degree on ramp. I got through three-quarters of the Wall Street Journal, sitting in my car. The entire commute from Carmel Valley (motto: “Not quite actually Del Mar”), a total distance of perhaps 5 miles, took us two and half hours.
In that kind of traffic, the veil of civilization is very thin. At some point, a driver will decide that his or her need for speed is greater than anyone else’s, and trundle down the shoulder, looking for the next exit. Soon, another will follow. Then another. Until finally, someone who hasn’t quite got the stones to break the law will take it upon themselves to decide that no one else should either. They’ll pull the old passive-aggressive stunt of edging their SUV just far enough off the road to block the shoulder, while still maintaining their place in the line. And studiously avoid making eye contact with those now stuck behind them, boiling. One weighs the likely penalty for manslaughter, in such a situation. Weighs it carefully.
Don’t ask me how I know.
Meanwhile, son number one, who had dutifully followed the ancient mariner’s advice to hold his morning water, was about ready to pop. Oh, we got there OK eventually, and the hospital corpsman handed him a small vial – to which my son, unused to the protocol promptly responded, “that’s not going to be big enough.”
Ah, innocence. You got to love it.
ps – for the lady in the white Cadillac Escalade – watch your back, babes.