Hello?

Hi Sweetie. It’s me. Hey, I’m gonna be a little late. I’m stuck in traffic.

Oh no! When do you think you will be home?

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Maybe a week.

A week?

Yeah, nothing is moving. Some idiot got stuck in the canal. The whole thing is blocked off.

What? How can that be?

Well the canal is 400 feet wide. He is driving a 1300 foot container ship. It’s kind of like parallel parking the Empire State Building on the Turnpike. He probably got stuck stopping to use the restroom.

Oh my.

Some guys are out of their ships trying to shove him off the sand. That thing’s gotta weigh over 200 tons. They should wait for the tug boats to show up. I hope he called Triple A.

Do they have Triple A in Egypt?

I have no idea. Oh wait. It looks like transit police have pulled up behind him. They are asking the guy for his license and registration. This should be fun.

Why?

Because the glove compartment is on the other side of the ship a quarter mile away. It’s a long walk.

That’s going to be an expensive violation.

I’ll say. Blocking traffic. Alternate side of the canal parking violation. Failure to heed global trade. Looks like he is stuck in front of a hydrant too. And when the guy returns across the canal from the front of the ship they will probably throw jaywalking at him. At least he wasn’t speeding.

Uggh. So you have no idea how long this will take?

Well the moon will be full in a few days, and the tide will be up.

How does that help?

They can see better at night I guess.

OK. I will leave dinner on the counter for you. Oh, and can you pick up some containers of milk? We are running low.

. . .If there has been any sort of silver lining to this pandemic it is freedom from traffic jams. There just aren’t as many cars on the road as there were before Covid took away my keys.

Gone are the frequent trips into the city for work or for play. Gone are the maddening snarls on the highway. Gone are the long waits at toll booths. Gone are the consistent waits at poorly timed stop lights that make getting across town like trudging waist deep in silt. Gone are the exhaustive searches for parking spots.

For the past year my car has spent a lot more time at home in the garage. I feel a little guilty. Like I should probably fix the place up a little. Make it more homey. Buy some plants. Maybe move the trash outside.

Just after the holidays I let my daughter take the car for a long spacious drive through rolling farms in Pennsylvania and Ohio where it ultimately spent time at the University of Michigan. This is where my daughter goes to school.

It’s a long drive. And with little traffic, save for slow lumbering trucks that bobble and hum, it is easy to develop a heavy foot.

This is how I discovered there is an open gap behind the glove compartment in my car. After I received a letter in the mail from the municipal court of Erie County, Ohio regarding an 85/70 speeding violation. Then another three letters from the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania: one for speeding, one for driving without a registration card, and one for driving without an insurance card. The cards that had fallen into the gap behind the glove compartment.

OK. It is not like blocking the Suez Canal, but four traffic violations on the same day add up pretty quickly.

I told my remorseful daughter this was her responsibility. She would have to drive to these separate court appearances, plead her case, and present the valid insurance and registration cards which were in the car all along.

This is how I also discovered her license has since expired. She has to make an appointment with the DMV due to Covid. The next appointment is in May.

I will be making some long haul court appearance trips in the car with her as chauffeur.

Hello?

Hi Sweetie. It’s me. Hey, I’m gonna be a little late. I’m stuck in traffic.

Oh no!  When do you think you will be home?

Late. Nothing is moving. Some idiot jackknifed a semi full of onions in Pennsylvania. They are all over the road. The highway is completely closed.

What? How can that be?

I don’t know. Semis hold a lot of onions.

OK. I will leave dinner on the counter for you. Oh, and can you pick up some milk? We are running low.

I don’t know, maybe a long, congested drive back to normal isn’t so bad.