You know what I really want?
Keyless entry for my car.
You know what is really awesome about that? My mom is getting it for me for my birthday.
So, I scheduled the big keyless entry install date and began the hour drive to the best birthday gift I have ever received. (Until next year when I get something even more fabulous.)
But, much to my chagrin, after a mere 3 miles of driving my car came to a complete stop. Not a crawl, not a slow, a stop. And then we'd inch. And stop......... then an inch and stop..........
The thing about traffic is this: it really blows until you start to think about the fact that you are safe in your car, and someone else might not be. After sitting in my car for two and a half hours, at an inch and stop pace, moving less than 2 miles, it became clear that whatever was holding up traffic was bad.
As I diligently searched the internet on my smart phone (no worries, Safety Potatoes, the car was at a complete halt as I performed this task) I was disheartened to find no information on what was going on.
I imagined what kind of headlines could be causing a serious traffic back up like this:
"27 Car Pile Up", "Fatalities in Crash", "Semi Overturned with Baby Animals Inside"
No one wants any of these things to happen, of course. But again, with the extreme delay I was experiencing, it would have to be something bad.
You know what I wasn't expecting the headline to be? Tough Mudder.
Yep, that's right, Tough Mudder. I was two and a half hours late for my appointment for THE BEST BIRTHDAY GIFT EVER because of Tough Mudder.
Of course, I knew the Tough Mudder event was happening on the day in question. In a medium sized city there is not a lot that goes on which you don't hear about. And, even while scrolling though the highway patrol's website and continually seeing the "TRAFFIC LIGHT OUT-EVENT HAPPENING" flag, I still never, in a bazillion years, imagined that this traffic delay, sent from Satan himself, was caused by TOUGH MUDDER.
The realization that this event, which actually supports a fantastic cause that I usually would be incredibly supportive of, even if I think anyone who would want to participate in these shenanigans is a few crayons short of a full box, was the cause of my traffic jam came in an unusual way.
Whilst sitting on the interstate, 4 pedestrians came up to the passenger window of my car and began to knock.This is what happened next:
Thoughts inside of my head: Holy crap. We're going to die. There are 4 of them and 2 of us. What's wrong with his face?! IT'S WAR PAINT. They are going to kidnap us. There are 4 of them and 2 of us. We. Are. Going. To. Die.
My Passenger: zzzzzzzzzz (That is the sound of the automatic window going down.)
This was my face:
These four face painted hooligans, who were in fact not there to kidnap us, then proceeded to ask if we could take their picture, using our cellphones, and send it to them on their cellphones, which were in the car. Which was a mile back on the road. On the interstate. They explained that they were participating in the Tough Mudder event and just wanted a picture of themselves. Confused, we innocently inquired if jogging, very unsafely, down the interstate was a part of the race course.
"Hahaha!" They practically laughed in our faces as they explained that they were jogging the rest of the way to the race. They had left over two hours ahead of their start time and were going to jog the final mile or so to get there since they were still stuck in traffic. They assured us that we were absolutely stuck in this traffic because of the Tough Mudder and that it wouldn't be clearing up any time soon. You know who didn't leave over two hours early for the start of their appointment for THE BEST BIRTHDAY GIFT EVER?
At this point things changed dramatically. Our game plan became less "stay in the right lane, get to the next exit and get off" and more "get to the left lane and hope you pass all the Mudders quickly and keep going." People suddenly seemed dumber now that we knew the traffic was being caused by this event. Please don't mistake this as "all people who participated in this are dumb" because that is not even remotely what I am saying. Plenty of people who participated were not dumb, and plenty of people who were not participating were really dumb.
For example: Non participators who were desperately seeking to get out of the traffic and off of the road decided they should go OFF the ON ramp, indifferent to the ONCOMING traffic that was still merging onto the interstate. These morons were not even going slow. Fortunately, I got to watch this phenomenon for over 30 minutes as I inched by the ramp. Luckily, I saw no head on collisions.
When all was said and done, it was almost (and I really mean almost, because I was severely inconvenienced and I really don't like that) a "no harm, no foul" situation except for a few things.
1. I still don't think it was necessary for Tough Mudders to knock on my car window and scare the beejeezus out of me. If I had been alone, I surely would have handled it worse.
2. How poorly designed was this event? The fire department was quoted in the newspaper as stating they really didn't know much about the event other than that it was going on. Note to future Tough Mudder coordinators: next time involve government officials who can help you make sure there are not severe traffic delays that effect many more people than just those attending your event.
3. I know there was no head on collision in the massive Exit-Using-The-On-Ramp debacle I witnessed, but there could have been and if I had been a car entering the interstate it would have been scary.
4. Because of this, I have to reschedule my appointment for the best birthday gift ever. Alas, I will have to go one more week entering my car the old fashioned way. (By that I mean using the fancy key code on the door, not my key.)
*A note from Potato Lindsey:
The Tough Mudder, which I actually am in support of, despite what this blog post might imply, is an event that supports a great cause. I certainly didn't go out and do anything that daring to support the Wounded Warriors who are perhaps some of the bravest, most daring Americans of all. Please know that my deepest gratitude goes out to the Wounded Warriors and I am grateful for all those who support such a worthy cause.
For more information on Tough Mudder visit: http://toughmudder.com/
For more information on Wounded Warriors visit: http://www.woundedwarriorproject.org/