I wouldn’t be so annoyed if there wasn’t somewhere I needed to be. I get that the road needs to be re-paved, but there is no reason it couldn’t be done at night. The dust is also getting on my car, which I really didn’t want to waste my Saturday morning on washing.
At least I’m not the only one who doesn’t want to be here. The flag person in front looks like she’s melting. I can’t imagine she loves having to wear all that gear while standing in the middle of an asphalt road on one of the hottest days of the year. She’s trying to keep up an appearance, like as if it doesn’t bother her, but that tomato red face betrays her.
Yes, being at the front of the line does help with this dilemma. There must be around fifteen car and trucks behind me. It may be horrible, but when you know other people are as miserable as you, you feel better. I do not know if that is a typical human trait, but it is certainly not one that comes up a lot in conversation. It feels good to have the chance to talk about it, especially when no one in the other cars can hear me.
The crew must be having trouble, because not only has my side not moved, but I have not seen any opposing traffic move by either. This road constantly has problems with rockslides. I assume they are preoccupied with a pile of clay or rocks that is keeping them from paving.
With nothing else to do besides wait, I resort to spying on the people behind me. The people behind me are in a van. It is an older van, definitely seen better days. I adjust my rearview mirror, little by little, until I can get a good look at its occupants.
Six, I’m guessing. Six people, five of them kids. The other is a lady. I have to assume she’s their mom or baby sitter or something. She looked tired and sweaty. The windows are all down. The air conditioning probably doesn’t work in that heap.
I just can’t look away from her face. There’s just nothing but exhaustion in her eyes. The kids in the back, I can’t see them really well, but I can see they are moving around a lot. I’ve been there with my kid. My one kid, I would like to stress. There were five little darlings making a jungle gym out of that van. I feel terrible for her, but I also notice she seems to be onto the fact that I watching her, so I am going put my mirror back and act as nonchalant as possible.
The backup just will not seem to end. I am beginning to see more pedestrian traffic move on this road now. There’s a group of angry kids, a tired looking old man, some lady that should be wearing a hat, and, at the end of this sad convoy, was middle-aged man in ragged clothes. He is farther behind them. Not by his choice I assume, but by theirs.
The middle-aged man, let’s call him Bag Man due to the Wal-Mart bags hanging from his arms, looks like he smells. He also looks confused, introspective and drunk. Nobody is making eye contact with him. Not the road workers, exhausted van lady (she seems to be suddenly preoccupied with a text, nor the fellow pedestrians will take a glance Bag Man’s way. Maybe it’s guilt, or maybe fear, I don’t know. I think about acknowledging him, or saying hi, or giving him some change. I watch him as he walks by and leaves my line of sight. I look back at the lady in the van. She’s no longer looking down at her phone. I guess that text of hers was no longer as interesting.
The flag lady-person is finally switching her sign over, so I’ m good to go. I creep past her, give a partial, awkward nod, and hit the gas. It’s time to get out of here. Now where was I going again?