Next Stop, Wonderland

Departure Time: 7:10
Arrival Time: 7:53
Weather as I call it: Damp. Cloudy. 60s
Paper Guy: Black windbreaker...and shades
Shady Gas Price: $2.15
Yelled at other drivers: No
Feared for my life: No


No accidents. No animal terrorism. Nothing out of the ordinary. Happy Friday.

The leaves are starting to turn color 'round here. Boston is becoming a wonderland of color.

Yes, a wonderland!

Yes, I typed wonderland.


Accidents Will Happen

Departure Time: 7:08
Arrival Time: 7:57
Weather as I call it: Hey, it's autumn...it's cool.
Paper Guy: Jacket and shades
Shady Gas Price: $2.15
Yelled at other drivers: No
Feared for my life: No


I saw an accident today. It happened right in front of me, literally. There is always an uneasy feeling when a traffic light changes from green to yellow to red...you have to make a choice.

Do I do what I want to do and speed up to get through?

Do I do what I am supposed to do and slow down and stop?

When you do not make a clear decision, like the guy in the silver Acura did today, you sometimes get rear-ended.

He made a move like he was going to speed through, then he second guessed himself and came to a stop. Unfortunately, the guy in the black Mercedes behind him didn't react to the second guess. He was all for the first guess.

Black Mercedes got his front crumpled: a directional broken off, some of his grill broken, and his radiator was a-steamin'.

Acura guy didn't look like he had any damage. And so it goes...

I applaud them both for getting out of the way and not holding up traffic. If you need a witness, I am your man.

When I got closer to Boston, I saw a whole bunch of news trucks outside of a pet store.

Cripes, how many flavors of terrorism are there?


Please Pay First

Departure Time: 7:08
Arrival Time: 8:09
Weather as I call it: Clear and sunny...50s...I refuse to wear a jacket.
Paper Guy: He had a jacket on though
Shady Gas Price: $2.25
Yelled at other drivers: No
Feared for my life: No


I had to get gas today. I had a $20 bill in my pocket...I had a station selling it for $2.19...Although there were no signs stating such, I did indeed have to 'pay first' before pumping it.

It only took me a few tries to figure it out that I would need to pay the attendant before any gasoline flowed.

I gotta make sure I get some coffee on days like these.


Fired Up

Departure Time: 7:08
Arrival Time: 7:57
Weather as I call it: Sunny and cool
Paper Guy: Running around. I have never seen him so mobile. Wearing the blue sweater, of course.
Shady Gas Price: $2.25
Yelled at other drivers: Yes
Feared for my life: No


Everything was going fine today. Everything was smooth as silk until I got within a 1/2 mile of work. Then, this dood in the lane to the right of me decided to slow to a near stop, put on his left blinker, and proceeded to cut in front of me so he could drift two lanes before the beginning of a median.

This mockup below should help illustrate wha' happened:

Atari Near-Accident Scene Mockup

Just to clarify, my car is the red Atari-like pixel...the dood's car is the green one.

I was fired up. I beeped my horn. I used a few expletives. I was in full road rage.

His action was intolerable. It was a selfish move. If you realize that you have made that kind of mistake at such a late stage of the game, that you are in the far right lane when you should be in the left and the median is coming up and there are people behind you...you stay right. You punt. You figure it out later.

Don't put me in danger along with everyone else behind me.

I feel better now.

Hey, if you're nice on the T, they'll give you free coffee!


Too Close For Comfort

Departure Time: 7:13
Arrival Time: 7:58
Weather as I call it: Partly sunny..62 degrees
Paper Guy: Blue sweater, which ostensibly is the exclusive autumn wardrobe
Shady Gas Price: $2.27
Yelled at other drivers: Once
Feared for my life: No


I am pretty tired today. I created my own three day weekend by taking Friday off and I stand by my creation wholeheartedly, but one of the after effects is having a hard time waking up on Monday.

Hey, I am dealing with it.

Some lady (I am sure she was a lady) driving one of those Crown Victoria-boat-of-a-car things was hugging the double yellow line while I was stopped at a light. I should have rolled down my window and slapped her windshield as she drove by but I probably would have lost my left arm in the process of letting her know I was displeased with her proximity to my car.

Instead, I asked, "Are you close enough, Lady?"

She didn't answer.


I Need a Toll Booth Collector Gig

Departure Time: 7:08
Arrival Time: 8:04
Weather as I call it: Blinding sunlight...the sun is at that bad angle again.
Paper Guy: Same McOutfit as yesterday.
Shady Gas Price: $2.37
Yelled at other drivers: No
Feared for my life: No


Needed the shades today. The sun was intense during the times I was driving in southeast direction...which I am apt to do.

State Police officers are still in Leverett Circle directing traffic, but hopefully that will be over soon since they are planning to reopen the Big Dig tunnel soon (Friday morning). At least, I thought I saw that story yesterday. I tried finding a link to the story..but I couldn't find anything. Maybe I dreamt it.

I found this story instead.



Departure Time: 7:15
Arrival Time: 7:57
Weather as I call it: Partly Cloudy
Paper Guy: Blue McDs V-neck sweater
Shady Gas Price: $2.37
Yelled at other drivers: No
Feared for my life: No


I don't think schools were in session today. Probably some kind of teacher professional day. Whatever the reason, getting through town was as easy as Sunday morning....literally.

I think Paper Guy may work at McDonald's in addition to his newspaper gig. This is the second piece of clothing I have seen with the golden arches on it. This is only a conclusion I am drawing from a small set of data, but don't be suprise if he is a manager at your neighborhood Mickey D's.

One more question:

"Are we going to get trip durations and gas prices charted out over time again?"

Yeah, when I get a free second....in 2008.


Voting in Massachusetts

Departure Time: 7:12
Arrival Time: 8:04
Weather as I call it: Partly sunny...I had to put the A/C on so it must have been warmer
Paper Guy: I couldn't see him today...I was trapped on the other side of the street.
Shady Gas Price: $2.41
Yelled at other drivers: Yes
Feared for my life: No


I voted today so my departure time marks when I left the school (the booths were set up in the gym) to go to work.

I felt there were many inexperienced drivers on the road today...not inexperienced in the sense that they had just received their license...but inexperienced with the ways of the commute. There was one woman who needed to cross over three lanes of traffic to take a left turn. I beeped and yelled at her. I had to make some drastic moves myself to avoid her and that is why I was unable to see the Paper Guy today. Her "lane change" was a pretty ballsy move...but it was executed because she didn't know the ways of the commute. In time, she will know what lane she needs to be in and prepare for it ahead of time.

Another question I got in response to the anniversary blog:

"How come you don't yell at drivers as much anymore?"

Well, I guess there are a few reasons. I generally leave earlier than I used to, which means less cars on the road, which means less yelling. Plus, I am mellowing in my old age...like a fine Merlot. (Looking at today's post, I wonder about that.)

Overall, I think I am just more selective. Someone has to do something really stupid to make me yell.


An Hour Later

Departure Time: 8:20
Arrival Time: 9:08
Weather as I call it: Sunny and summer-like.
Paper Guy: Paper guy's got the jacket thang going on. Once he is the autumn mode, there is no going back.
Shady Gas Price: $2.43
Yelled at other drivers: No
Feared for my life: No


My wife had a follow-up dentist appointment at 7:15 today...so we went and did that...and came back home. So, I was about an hour behind schedule. Because I was late, all the schools were in session so the traffic I tend to get stuck in that is associated with kids getting to school was not a part of this tip.

People are more awake in the eight o'clock hour than they are in the seven o'clock hour. You get a sense of a little more of "hustle" and tons more "bustle".

I got a few questions posed to me from my anniversary post that I would like to answer now.

"What's with the Shady Gas Price?"

I get the price from a station that back in the days of dot-comedy (1999-2000) always had the lowest prices. Nowadays, it definitely not the lowest price I see in my travels. Plus, it seems to me they are heavily influenced by prices the "other guys" down the street put up. I can sometimes predict what the shady gas price will be from looking at what the Gulf station's price is, since it is three blocks ahead before the shady gas station.

The station is still sorta shady and I like keeping track of "the haps".

I will answer the other question tomorrow.


One Year Anniversary

Departure Time: 7:16
Arrival Time: 8:06
Weather as I call it: Cloudy and muggy when I started out...Sunny and muggy when I arrived.
Paper Guy: Jacket and shades.
Shady Gas Price: $2.45
Yelled at other drivers: No
Feared for my life: No


Wow. One year of blogging. How about that?

Before I talk about the past, let me type about today. What is with the roadkill this week? Somebody hit a skunk on Soldier's Field road and it was stinking bad. Don't you just hate it when you drive by a dead skunk and the smell gets trapped in your car for the next 5 minutes...? Well...I'm not a big fan.

So, I been tracking all my trips to work since Septemeber 2005...and I am not sure what I have accomplished. I needed a subject I could write about often so I chose something I did a lot and could comment on either in a positive or negative way. It looks like it has been mostly negative.

I thought tracking the time it took me to get to work would be interesting to track, plus recording the weather to see how it affected my trip times. (I still say rain over snow slows me down more).

Of course, there is Paper Guy who would act as my true weather beacon. I think over the year we have really gotten to know him well...and how important he is to my drive and the blog.

Gas Prices have gone up and down...the seasons have cycled through...Here's to another year.

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To Be Born Again

Departure Time: 7:02
Arrival Time: 7:52
Weather as I call it: Cloudy but slightly warmer...maybe 60 degrees out.
Paper Guy: Just a jacket today...I was a little worried there
Shady Gas Price: $2.50
Yelled at other drivers: No
Feared for my life: No


Pretty easy ride today. My time would have been 6 minutes shorter if I hadn't stopped for a fill up at the ol' gasoline station. It only cost me 33 bucks...that's $8.50 less than my bill was on July 6th.

Good times...really good times. Check back tomorrow for the rebirth of this blog....

If I ventured in the slipstream
Between the viaducts of your dreams
Where the immobile steel rims crack
And the ditch and the backroads stop
Could you find me?
Would you kiss my eyes
And lay me down
In silence easy
To be born again?


First Day of Autumn (Unofficially)

Departure Time: 7:16
Arrival Time: 8:06
Weather as I call it: Cloudy with the sun peaking out a little bit. 50s
Paper Guy: Autumn is here. Paper Guy was wearing a jacket AND a wool hat. Paper Guy, say it isn't so.
Shady Gas Price: $2.51
Yelled at other drivers: No
Feared for my life: No


There were a few incidents near Wellington Circle on Route 28 today...I think Route 28 is otherwise known as the Fellsway East in that area. First there was a state police officer who was attending to a pulled over car...not sure if he was giving a ticket or was helping a disabled vehicle. No matter because while he was over to the side of the road, the state trooper waved at a dump truck and had that vehicle cross a lane or two to take it place right in front of the car. Needless to type, this incident backed traffic up a bit.

About 100 feet down the street, there was an accident involving a delivery truck and a little car....which made for more weird merging situations and more tieups...

The rest of the ride was pretty good. Paper Guy threw me for a loop...didn't think he would start wearing the cold weather gear until after the 23rd...

Oh well, embrace the changing season.


Temps and Gas Prices Are Dropping

Departure Time: 7:11
Arrival Time: 8:02
Weather as I call it: Sunny but Cooler still
Paper Guy: It isn't Autumn until Paper Guy wears a jacket. He wasn't wearing a jacket today.
Shady Gas Price: $2.53 (I saw $2.17 in town)
Yelled at other drivers: No
Feared for my life: No


I was diligent on the roads today...My eyes did not stray from the road...

Here are some of the things I saw while I was paying attention:

I was behind Mother Teresa in a Suburu wagon. She let everybody cut in front of her. I wasn't too upset since it didn't slow me down all that much. The people who cut in drove fast. It was if Mother Teresa only let in the quick....she had a sixth sense.

I saw Paper Guy make a sale today. He has some fast hands...the coin/paper switcheroo is serious business.

Gas prices are going down...commuters are getting into their rhythm...Good times.


Pay Attention in a Pedestrian Zone

Departure Time: 7:05
Arrival Time: 7:59
Weather as I call it: Wow...much cooler today. I might need to start wearing a jacket...sunny though.
Paper Guy: Wearing his blue sweater and shades
Shady Gas Price: $2.57
Yelled at other drivers: No
Feared for my life: No, but some kid feared for his.


Let's put it this way...when you are driving through an area that historically has a large volume of pedestrians crossing the street....pay attention. I had a close call today. There is a high school in my town, and I pass it around the time school is about to start up. Today, as I was passing the school, I was fiddling with the 'climate control' in my car. When I looked up, I saw a student crossing in front of me. I slammed on my brakes enough to hear the tires squeal a bit. Although he wasn't in a crosswalk, he still had the right of way.

I felt ashamed of myself. I talk a good game, but sometimes I make mistakes too. Chalk it up as a Monday morning fluke and it won't happen again...sir!


The Busy Season

Departure Time: 7:09
Arrival Time: 7:54
Weather as I call it: Sunny and cool...I had dew on all my car windows...
Paper Guy: Talking to some dude who was pulled over on the other side of the street. Connecting with customers, I like it.
Shady Gas Price: $2.61
Yelled at other drivers: No
Feared for my life: Nope


Cooler temperatures bring back many things:

  • School buses
  • Hot coffee
  • Traffic tie-ups

One thing I haven't mentioned is increased paper guy sales. He's been selling newspapers left and right this week. During the summer, I didn't see a lot of sales happen while I was at the light. Many times, I was driving by him as fast as I could so I could make the green light...

Now that the streets are clogged with a larger number of commuters and people who read; i.e. college students, Paper guy is cleaning up. If it puts more money in that guy's pocket, I will sit through a couple more jams for him.

This is the busy season, Paper Guy. Capitalize on it now because soon it will be winter and people won't want to roll down their windows to buy a newspaper...no matter what the news is.


Still Adjusting

Departure Time: 7:10
Arrival Time: 8:01
Weather as I call it: Sunny...cool when I started out...but then it got warmer as I got closer to work
Paper Guy: Blue sweater with a nice white collared shirt underneath
Shady Gas Price: $2.61
Yelled at other drivers: No
Feared for my life: No


It's going to take a while for me to settle into this new reality. I don't think I am coping well. The streets are busier...many of them highly caffeinated. I saw lots of people raising their D + D coffee cups over their steering wheels. I guess the days of iced coffee are over...back to the hot Joe.

I didn't run into school buses at all today...my biggest trouble was just "weird pockets of heavy volume" in places where I don't usually expect it. (No, I am not wearing loud cargo pants). Today it was on one of the side streets I take to get onto Route 28. I take a left turn and blamo!...20 cars where there shouldn't be 20 cars.

Take a deep breathe...this too shall pass.


School Days

Departure Time: 7:05
Arrival Time: 7:56
Weather as I call it: Sun peaking through the clouds
Paper Guy: Blue sweater
Shady Gas Price: $2.65
Yelled at other drivers: No
Feared for my life: No


Easily the longest duration in a while and a bit frustrating at times, today's drive was tougher than the same drive a week ago. You can see I left 10 minutes earlier than usual....but I still ended up with a 51 minute trip. Ah, poop.

Mostly it was the school buses that held me up. Since it was the first day of school for many kids, there were a lot of parents waiting at the bus stop and hugging their kids before they got on while those big red blinking lights just flashed and flashed and flashed at me...(Yes..Taunted me, they did.) Wellup, I couldn't get myself worked up too much...I can imagine in 5 or 6 years, I will be out there at the bus stop for my son's first day of school....but I promise I will keep my hug short.

Seeing those kids getting on the bus brought back that feeling in the pit of my stomach that I got on the first day of school...the nervousness of the unknown, the dread of the realization that summer vacation was indeed over, the anticipation of what the heck we would learn about this year...all wrapped up in a pukey mass in my gut. Just by typing that last line, I feel it again.

Would you go back if you could?


Zip Line = Big Dig 2 (without the digging)

Departure Time: 7:14
Arrival Time: 7:59
Weather as I call it: Sunny...with some wispy clouds
Paper Guy: Long sleeved shirt and shades
Shady Gas Price: $2.65
Yelled at other drivers: Nope
Feared for my life: Nope


Looked into the zip line concept this weekend......yeah......I don't think I have the capital to get a 15 mile zip line a-going. But like they say, "Don't let go of your dreams, kid."

I read on the interweb that today's traffic was supposed to be nightmarish. Starts and Stops said, "Woe is us come Tuesday." Now, I did not have any trouble today...yes, my commute was a little longer than what I was used to this summer (typing as if summer ended 50 days ago) but I can't say it was nightmarish.

I still say the true test is tomorrow. Stay tuned.


Let's Not Labor This Weekend

Departure Time: 7:19
Arrival Time: 7:55
Weather as I call it: Hazy sun.
Paper Guy: Dress shirt, black pants, shades
Shady Gas Price: $2.69
Yelled at other drivers: No
Feared for my life: No


That's it...no more driving to work. I am building a zip line from my house to the office.

Look up next week. You'll see me.

Be safe.