Saturday, January 08, 2005

Brief Guide to the D.C. Beltway

I moved up to my aunt's today. She's been kind enough to lend me a room while I look for an apartment in Maryland where I will be starting my new job on Monday. I have been up in the Northern Virginia/D.C./Maryland area many times in the last couple of years looking for work and picking up my cousin's car (a word of advice - don't travel in D.C. with two cars without a method of communicating between them other than hand signals), so I've become somewhat familiar with the area, but particularly familiar with the D.C. beltway. My sister and I were riding in my car while my mother and father were riding in his truck (we had walkie talkies this time). As we approached the Springfield interchange - an infamously bad area, where 495 (the beltway), 395, and 95 meet, that is always under construction - I was tempted to get on the walkie talkie and start the following tour-guide spiel:

Welcome to the Springfield Interchange, your gateway drug to the traffic nightmare hallucination that is the D.C. Beltway. Remember, east is north, north is west, and no, I don’t know why they can’t say inner and outer loop when they are labeled as such once you get on them. Once you are on the beltway, please note the purpose of each lane. The far right lane is for merging into and out of traffic unless you want to be sideswiped by someone who is trying to merge into traffic. The lanes have speed limits (moving from right to left) of 65, 70, 75, and bat out of hell. Please note that the posted limit of 55 is observed only when flashing blue police lights are visible. The speed limit is 60 if a police car is visible but does not have its lights on. Any gap between you and the car in front of you that is greater than 1 car length (when traffic is moving) or 1/3 car length (when traffic is close to a stand still) will be filled. These are the unwritten rules of the road here on the D.C. beltway. Please keep them in mind as you count the hours sitting in traffic that you will never, ever get back.


Blogger Jody said...

Congrats on the new job!

1/16/2005 1:23 AM  

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