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September 2, 2017: Stuck in Fair Traffic – Taking it to the Streets

I left home for work forty-three minutes ago. Traffic appears to have ground to a halt at the Glenn Highway - Palmer Fishhook intersection. I’ve since been inching my way forward, at about one mile per hour.

I’ve never before had to deal with anything like this. I wish I’d brought along a copy of War and Peace. Most likely I’d have finished it by now. Inveterate reader that I am, I’d also have polished off One Hundred Years of Solitude. I should have a library in my Suzuki Swift. As it is, I am now instead writing about my experience.

This is a wake-up call. I have been mulling over the idea of moving back down to America and getting a real job. I’m being forewarned. Traffic tie ups would most likely be a part of the deal. I could call Larry, the morning/early afternoon Recycling Resorting Area shift worker and tell him I’m going to be late, but the phone option on my cell phone is not working. This is because I don’t use this option often enough. Furthermore, all I’d say to Larry is that I am a responsible employee and I am caught in traffic.

I’m now nearing the Glenn Highway Palmer-Wasilla intersection. On my right, on one side of the highway, is Fred Meyers. Across from it is a Carrs Supermarket. Both have Starbucks Coffee. I could pull in and get a cup of java and dunk my cellphone in it. Could be edible. Don’t know until you’ve tried it.

I have now been on the dole for ten days and I have four to go. I am generally not on any payroll, and therefore usually only accountable to myself. And because in being accountable to myself, I’ve made my own work hours and schedule. And in making my own work hours and schedule I never had to be at a certain place at a certain time. Hence, I have never been caught in a traffic jam. I’ve been in a few jams as a passenger, but this is a different matter. All I had to do then was empathize with the driver. I can’t empathize because I AM NOW IN CHARGE.

Chill, chill, chill. OMG I just realized that the ice cooler is sitting right next to me. Stormy is the state fair demo goat and she’s going to be milked at 5 p.m. It’s now 4 p.m. Chelsea, who is the demo milk maid, places the bottled milk in the cooler which contains an ice pack. Cooled milk stays fresher longer, and is not goaty. If I don’t get there on time, she’s going to have to dump it. We’ll lose a quart or two. The cow demo people are dumping their milk because they don’t have the right equipment on hand. That’s five-six gallons a day. Now this is a huge loss.

There’s not much traffic coming from the direction of the fair. People must be staying put. I wonder what the reason for this tie-up is. Could be a number of things including climate change, Trump, or the Doobie Brothers. The Doobie Brothers are playing tonight. Has to be a combination of the above. We are all doomed.

Time to take a look at my cellphone email. Carole who works at VCRS sent me a message, says that my dispatch, entitled “Living off the Grid,” has gone viral. Yes, language is a virus. Hmm, all these years of attempting to get published in print form and I’m now making it big on social media. And there is no one here to celebrate this momentous occasion with. Well, there’s the ice cooler, but it ain’t talking.

I used to ride my bicycle everywhere. I’d routinely whiz by those in cars. Now bicyclists are whizzing by me. The Gods are not smiling down on me. Rather, they are laughing so hard their insides are hurting and their eyes are watering. Curse the traffic Gods, curse each and every one of them.

I’m through the intersection and now have a view of the line ahead. It has no end in sight. It’s a bumper crop. And to think, just two hours ago (and it’s been two hours) I was in my backyard, in what I call the Playground of Higher Learning. I was having such a good time with my ponies that I did not want to leave. I should have trusted my inner voice, which said “stay put. It’s a big bad world out there.” I should have called in sick and said that my immune system had taken a beating in dealing with the contents of all those bottles and cans. Gentle reader, I’ll spare you the details of what was in those containers. Should have, should have, should have . . .

Why do they call it a traffic jam? This has no resemblance to what I put on toast. We’ll all be toast if this line doesn’t start moving soon.

I have an idea. I’m going to take some photos. There. These are not great photos – just images of a long line of lookalike cars – but I just killed some time. Stomped time hard, but like a Timex watch, it just keeps ticking.

My sister Eleanor would not be empathetic if I told her about my plight. It would be like telling her that I am bothered by the fact my hair is going grey. You see, her hair is now white. The analogy here is that Eleanor lives in Portland, Oregon where traffic jams are commonplace. But then again, who would be empathetic? Traffic jams are us.

I’ll get where I am going. But what about tomorrow? Or the next day? Fair attendance has been down the past few days, but now it’s back up. I should just put this vehicle in a ditch, grab my cooler, backpack, and camera and walk in. I should. I’m staying put because I am harboring the hope that this line is going to start moving.

I’d heard that last year the state fair parking lot filled up quickly. So the flaggers sent the cars around the block, repeatedly, until there was room for them. I’m not going to let them do this to me. I’m going to tell them that I’m a phlebotomist and have to get the blood in the cooler next to me to my co-works in the bloodmobile. I’ll tap the lime green container gently and purse my lips. They might then provide me with an escort.

This is dreadful, just dreadful. I’m now supposed to be on the clock. I don’t have to punch in; this is for the really downtrodden workers of the world. I have bills to pay. The money that I earn in working at this job is going to pay my hay bill. Hay’s now $14.00 a bale. I’m busting my butt so that I can purchase dried grass and weeds. And the horses, they’re not at all appreciative. High priced fodder seems to be their dog given right.

It could be worse. It could be worse. It could be worse. This is my new mantra. I have a pen, paper, and an authentic literary voice that’s now going viral. And fortunately, hardship sells.

Postscript. It was a very busy day at the fair. It took me three hours and thirty minutes to do what usually is a 25 minute drive. I spent considerable time at the sorting table – and all the volunteers spoke of being caught in traffic. I missed the afternoon milking – I am not sure what Chelsea did with the milk.

Next; 241. 9/2/17: Dumpster Fire

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