Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Traffic Circles

The first traffic circle I ever encountered was in France. It was a complete surprise. I was already having trouble with the fact that the car was the size of my hat and everyone drove like bats out of hell. I knew how to drive a standard, but this vehicle (a Fiat Panda of all things) did the herky-jerky every time you even looked at the gear shift. I saw it coming and had about three seconds to think "What the heck?" And then I had the presence of mind to follow the best driving advice I've ever gotten: "Go with the flow." Driving in to a traffic circle in France is like piloting a green pea through a blender.

In the greater Houston area there is a traffic circle in the museum district that is much-bemoaned, though I can't tell why, because it's like the kindergarten level of traffic circles if you start comparing traffic circles world-wide. I've noticed, though, that traffic circles are coming into vogue in, of all things, parking lots!!!

I was in the parking lot of a new local medical center this morning and trying desperately to search for an empty parking space. Every spot was literally full, so I was circling like a vulture (that's what I call them...parking vultures) waiting for someone to leave. The only problem was that the three main lots are all juxtaposed around this traffic circle. What a pain! It was pretty, I guess, but it took up enough space for at least twenty parking spaces...

So I spent a lot of time this morning driving around in circles. Then I swapped cars with Dad, started to drive away, he called about something he'd left in my car and I had to go back. MORE driving around in circles. Exactly 1.5 hours driving around in circles.

Suddenly, traffic circles became a metaphor for parts of my life. A depressing metaphor, so I dropped that train of thought altogether. But, to be honest, I've been circling the proverbial drain all morning after making grandiose plans to accomplish the pile of things I have to get done, etc. etc. blah, blah, blah...

And now I really DO have to go...

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