People on the Highway

Tuesday, the boys and I made our quarterly trip to the oldest’s ophthalmologist.  Four years of seeing an eye specialist and I still have to spell check ophthalmologist.  The trip takes an hour and half to get to the hospital and an hour and half to get back.  Lots of time on the road.  With small children.  And large trucks.  It…was not an easy ride.

There’s a section of the drive coming home, a major intersection in the last major town between Denver and home, that is basically the manifestation of that uneasy feeling one gets during a jump-scare film.  The traffic lights are optional, signaling before changing lanes is affront to the highway gods, and speed limits are ‘slow’ or ‘fast’.  Then there’s the merge lanes.

Today’s tale: Coming over!

Early autumn is amazing on the plains.  Golden fields (of now dead corn, but try not to think on that), blue skies and air that is finally not burning hot.  The highway cuts through farmland surrounded by new housing developments built around car washes.  The planning makes little sense.  Perhaps clean cars just mean a lot in this town.

As we are driving home from a long morning in with an eye doctor, the toddler is snoring in his car seat and the four year old is playing with a dry-erase board drawing maps.  Ahead of us is the worst intersection in Colorado.  There’s a twenty-foot on-ramp/merge lane thing with an obvious yield sign if we were driving this highway fifteen years ago.  The brutal eastern sunrise has weathered the sign and my best guess for the dents in the sign is the wonderful combination of kids, baseball bats and nothing to do on a Saturday night.  Suffice to say, the yield sign warning drivers that they are indeed about to join a road with cars moving at 65 miles per hour is often missed.

On our trip the sign was ignored by a dulled metallic gray Nissan Versa.  I looked over to the lane leading to the merge lane and saw the zippy little vehicle avoid any attempt at using caution heading onto the highway.  The driver of the Versa had no intention of observing the yield sign and wound up in front of me.  Then slowed.

“Ok, ok, that’s fine,” I muttered through deep breaths.  It wasn’t of course, but the oldest is really into mimicry now and cursing would have been old of line.

The driver was of course on her phone, paying no attention to anyone around her little car.  It was not the phone call that made the situation interesting, nine times out of ten if someone is doing something dumb on the highway a cell phone is involved.  The interesting bit of this encounter was the blue gloves worn by the Versa driver.  Tight blue gloves like those worn by the person drawing blood.  My mind immediately went to Firefly, but after reminding myself that Firefly is indeed fictional (sadly), I had to sort out what was happening on that phone call and why blue gloves were involved.

Driving this highway in late September, midday and not being too picky about speed told me that the driver, Marsha, was likely a veterinarian specializing in large animals.  She’s new to the job and the area, trying to figure out local hot-spots for dinners and figure out the town’s history and mythology.  It is no easy task coming into a new town and asking people to trust you with their livelihoods, in this case horses and cattle.  Quite a noble endeavor she is undertaking.  But she cut me off and drove poorly, so today she is spending her morning elbow deep inside a horse.  ‘Tis the season to start thinking about foals after all (maybe, I just sneeze around livestock, but for the sake of the story this is the season) and the newbie gets the hard tasks.  Today she will really put those years of school to work and try to scrub her memory before a mid-week date with a local dentist she met through eHarmony.  He’s married, but Marsha won’t find that out for a few weeks.  By that time she will she have helped with five more horses, a couple of bulls and a mallard, but that is a story for another day.

Watch for yield signs folks! Drive safe.

Thanks for reading.


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