Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Why I'm a Ding Dong

Every 2nd Tuesday of the month at 8am I lead a meeting that people dial into from all over the world. I have to get to work on time on these days so I can get setup for the meeting and be ready to go. I don't have a backup, if I'm not there, all the people will dial into nothing. So I usually get up super early, just to be sure I can make it there with traffic, and hopefully have time to get a drink before it starts.

Today, I left my house at 6:45am for the 45 minute ride to work, which gave me a 30 minute cushion. This is the route I normally take:

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But right there where the I40 symbol is, usually backs up every morning so I decided not to risk it, taking back roads instead around that area, meeting back up with 40 beyond all the traffic. I kept hearing traffic reports about a wreck in that area, so I was so proud of myself for being so smart to go around. This is the route I planned to take:

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So I got to where I was to get back on the highway (at "B" above) and was about to declare total victory over the traffic... but was not paying attention... and got on going the wrong direction...heading back home! I realized my mistake about 100 feet onto the ramp, when the weight of my error hit me like a ton of bricks. I knew that I would now be forced to travel 6 miles in the wrong direction, with nothing but a traffic jam going the other way.

So I had about 6 minutes to think about what I'd done and my options before I got to the next exit.

I contemplated backing back up the ramp, a maneuver I've only seen attempted by one other person (my dad), but decided it was way too risky.

I contemplated crossing the median, but the traffic was way too heavy going the other way.

I did frantic complex mathematical calculations in my head, trying to calculate driving times of various routes.

I talked to myself.

I consoled myself.

I went through the 7 stages of grieving.

I asked God for answers.

And if I could have I would have banged my head on the steering wheel the entire time.

The way I figured it, I had 4 options:
1. Get to the next exit, get back on the highway going the right direction and get stuck in the traffic,
2. Find my way back over to the back road that I had taken before
3. Go home to do the call from home.
4. Get on the next plane to Jamaica, and call it a day.

I did not know if either option 1 or 2 would get me to work on time, but I figured even if I could get there, I would have 5 minutes to sprint into the building and boot my laptop up.

I actually decided to try to make a run for it with option 2 (though option 4 was tempting)...but the traffic light at the end of the exit ramp took away my 5 minutes, so I decided to just go home in utter defeat.

So this is the route I took, I was on the road for exactly 1 hour and got nowhere.

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I managed to lead my meeting successfully, even though I had a massive headache by that point, probably due to some serious teeth clenching, white knuckle driving.

When I had a break in meetings, I decided to attempt to get to work again. I turned out of my driveway and traveled about 400 feet only to see huge "Road Closed" signs blocking the road. So I had to turn around and go in the opposite direction from where I needed to go on some back country roads, where of course I got stuck behind someone hauling a trash can standing up in a pickup truck going about 15 miles per hour. I came very close to just giving up and going home for the day, but I eventually made it there.

If our road had been closed on my way back in on my first attempt, I think my head would have exploded. So I'm thankful for that!

So if there is such a thing as a "Ding Dong" award, I think I deserve it for today.

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