The family that jaywalks together
Santa Ana, California
27 April 2015
Everything IS awesome! Three vodka tonics later, I'm fine! I've had a week sufficient to make me slit my wrists, but who the hell cares?
Today, I have a photo essay for you. It's all GoPro screen grabs, so resolution isn't awesome, but you'll be able to follow along.
Welcome to My Afternoon Drive. I've got it all on video.
We start above with the jaywalking family. They're a bit hard to see. I saw them in the middle of road as I approached the intersection and slowed down, so they were across the street by the time I got to the light, which was green in my favor the whole time. The car coming toward me? Had no such compunctions. He was blowing through the intersection while they were still toddling along. Welcome to Santa Ana.
Here? Here we have jaywalker #2, about 5 minutes later. As you can clearly see, I have a dedicated left turn signal. And a jaywalker. On the video, you can hear me honk. You can hear me scream. Fortunately for all these idiots, I drive with tremendous caution, and the speed limit or slower if I know a street or intersection is a particular problem. People do wonder why I get so angry. The answer is simple: I'd like to get through my life without hitting anyone. This right here is why I have a camera mounted on my windshield these days. Some day, I'm not going to be able to stop fast enough.
Moving on, I drive along, and I'm shaking with both rage and...I don't know. Rage? This drive is hard enough without regular lawbreakers. But it's become abundantly clear that there is a problem on the road because there is a back up for 1/2 a mile. Which, even though it's rush hour, is unusual. I catch glimpses of flashing lights ahead, and the daughter announces gloomily, "Probably an accident." There is a badly conceived lane there on the right that is intended to be used for turning into the strip mall, but everyone uses it as a passing lane. I've had more near misses there than I can count. In any event, as I approach the light, we finally see that the entire road has been closed by the police--that's the white van parked across lanes.
So, along with 75 other people, I do the only thing possible and move into the right lane to make a right hand turn. Because there is pretty much no other option. As you can see, the car in front of me and I (and the thousand cars behind) have the green light. And a jaywalker! Hat trick!
Honestly, you probably had to be there, but after scrambling through my brain to figure out an alternate route home, there I am with another 1000 of my fellow drivers, all of us trying to figure out WHAT IN HELL is happening.
Orange County is awesome in that all the neighborhoods are compartmentalized, and dead end randomly. The only way to get from point A to point B is via thoroughfares like the one that was closed. And when you punt, you kind of have to know where you're going or you're sunk. And because one main feeder street was closed, you had thousands of cars trying to figure out how to get from point A to point B.
From the closed intersection we saw above to my house is just under a mile. To go the alternate route, which adds another mile (so, I mean 2 miles, total), took half an hour. Because everyone was going that way whether they knew where they were going or not.
So there I was, finally on the tiny two lane street that is the entrance to my neighborhood. And as I'm approaching...cop cars! From a distance, I couldn't immediately tell if my street was actually closed off, but in fact, they'd closed off the neighborhood across the street. As I turned the corner into my street, I saw two of my neighbors and I rolled down the window and screamed, "WHAT IN THE HELL IS GOING ON?"
And BW said, "How did you get in here? Everything is closed off."
And her husband said, "I think it's over. The helicopter ran out of gas."
I blessed him for making me laugh.
The story? Someone in the other neighborhood was reported to have a gun. But they "caught" him by entering the house he was in.
I have 28 days to go.
And that was My Afternoon Drive.
Tech stuff: screen grabs from my GoPro Hero. Yes, before you ask, all that was in the span of 45 minutes. Most days, that's a 15-minute drive in the morning and 20-ish in the afternoon.