Living Retired — ‘ONTARIO IS YOURS TO DISCOVER, UNLESS YOU ARE DRIVING!’
Living Retired — ‘ONTARIO IS YOURS TO DISCOVER, UNLESS YOU ARE DRIVING’
We have arrived at the cottage on Lake Scugog — FINALLY!
I say ‘FINALLY’ because it took us three attempts — just to get to the end of our cul-de-sac!!!
The first attempt…
As I eased the car out from the garage to the driveway I asked Jan, “Dear, do we have everything we need for the cottage?” She responded, “Gary, just to be sure I should probably go to the bathroom once more.”
The second attempt…
This time we reached the end of the cul-de sac when Jan commented, “Gary, I am pretty sure I unplugged my curling iron in the bathroom.” Of course I turned back — waving ‘Hi’ to the same neighbours we waved ‘Bye’ to thirty seconds ago! In the driveway waiting for the garage door to open Jan said, “I am sure I unplugged the curling iron but better safe than sorry.”
Siri: “Okay, playing ‘I’m Sorry by Brenda Lee.’”
The third attempt…
This time we hadn’t even reached the end of the driveway! “Jan, now you’ve got me thinking. I’m going to go to the bathroom. Just to be sure.”
“Gary, by the time we get to the cottage it will be time to turn around and come back home!”
“Well at least we will know that the house will still be standing and didn’t burn to the ground because you left your curling iron plugged in.”
Soon, Toronto is in our rear view mirror. As we near cottage country the landscape changes: large boulders begin to appear; huge green firs tower towards the sky. Then, we saw it — the official provincial tourism sign: ‘WELCOME TO ONTARIO. FINES DOUBLED IN CONSTRUCTION ZONES.’
“Jan, would you like to take a selfie of us standing beside the ‘WELCOME TO ONTARIO. FINES DOUBLED IN CONSTRUCTION ZONES’ sign?”
“Gary, lets keep driving and not pull over.”
That is when the traffic came to a standstill.
Stuck in a traffic jam is never nice, let alone parked beside a road sign the size of a Walmart Super Centre that says ‘NEXT WASHROOMS 20 KILOMETRES.’ I didn’t have to go — until we sat beside this sign for fifteen minutes! It doesn’t help that the bumper sticker on the car in front of us reads, ‘DON’T PEE IN MY POOL.’ It’s getting bad. My legs are crossed, my teeth are clenched! “COME ON — LETS GET GOING!!!”
Jan said, “Gary, you have to learn to pee patient.” Then she had an idea to distract me…
“Gary, remember the time you and Bob got trapped in ‘The Traffic Jam To End All Traffic Jams?’ Now THAT was a traffic jam!” Remember? How could I forget…
It was 10 o’clock on a Friday evening; it was snowing. All three eastbound lanes on Highway 401 suddenly stopped! A half hour became an hour. One hour grew to two hours. Nobody moved — except some frustrated drivers of the cars in the lane closest to the gravel shoulder. They turned around and drove slowly on the side of the road against the oncoming stopped traffic to the last interchange and got off the highway. Soon, drivers in the middle lane started to do the same thing. Slowly they turned their cars 180 degrees and got over onto the shoulder to drive back to the interchange.
“Bob, the other drivers are doing it, so why not us? Lets go for it!”
I began to execute a 3-point turn to change the direction of our car 180 degrees so it will face the opposite direction of the three lanes of traffic; then I will steer over to the shoulder and drive back to the interchange. But there is one problem: we are in the middle lane! The cars in the adjacent lanes leave me with just barely enough space to get our car turned around…
For the next 20 minutes I very slowly inch my car 6 inches forward, twist the steering wheel slightly, then drive 6 inches backwards, slowly changing the direction of our car. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat…
Eventually, our car has changed direction 90 degrees — it is blocking all three lanes. I am perspiring like Richard Simmons sweating to the oldies!
It is another 10 minutes — drive 6 inches forward, turn the steering wheel ever so slightly, then edge 6 inches backwards! Repeat. Repeat. Repeat…
Eventually, I completed the 3-point turn! Now our car is in the middle lane facing the wrong direction. All I need to do is get over to the gravel shoulder and drive the mile back to the interchange.
Then, it happened. OMG!!!!!
Suddenly, just like that, the traffic that had been stuck for over two hours began to move — and I am in the middle lane of the highway FACING THE WRONG DIRECTION!!!
Pent up drivers are coming at me at full speed! Angry drivers are flashing their headlights at me! Horns are honking! Passengers roll their windows down and scream obscenities at me and flash the finger!
Now, I have to undo my 3-point turn in the middle of the highway — and get my car pointing in the right direction!
Bob said, “#@$%%$#@^”
I said, “&^%$#&^%$”