Aug. 10 was a picture-perfect Friday morning. I had just enjoyed the privilege of taking out to breakfast, at the just-opened Amanda’s Pantry, an impressive young man and his equally smart and devoted mom. Not only does Joseph possess the integrity, maturity and empathy of one far older and a quirky laugh-out-loud sense of humor, he has maintained a grade point average greater than 4.0, devoted more than 300 hours in the past year to volunteer community service and won the state singles tennis championship to boot. We were there to celebrate Joseph’s acceptance and imminent departure next week to Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University in Daytona Beach, Fla., the oldest and largest aviation focused university in the world, where he will be majoring in aeronautical science.
After our gluttonous repast, I went off to Stop & Shop to pick up corn and greens for my own incredibly smart but very spoiled chickens before heading home to deal with an agenda jampacked with airport and household chores. By paying more attention to sorting priorities in my brain than where I was, I forgot I’d intended to get home via Wells Street and East Avenue to avoid the insufferable bumper-to-bumper traffic heading to the beach. Coming out of Stop & Shop’s truck entrance, I hung a right and immediately became one more slug in a line moving, well you know, slower than even a slug’s slimy pace. Please dear Lord, just get me to the Airport/Winnapaug Road intersection so I can get over to Watch Hill Road.
When I eventually got there, for some reason, cars were also backed up solid and going nowhere from the Watch Hill Road back up to the Airport Road intersection. What’s up with that!?! I was hemmed in on all sides, the sun was glowering some 88 degrees straight into my face and that second cup of coffee was beginning to make me miserable.
It’s long past due for those who make it their business in the name of economic development parading around in the guise of the town’s Welcome Wagon to cram our narrow country roads with ever more rude, arrogant and angry tourists (who can blame them — they’re stuck too!) and to erect signs that invite bikers to please do use the entire lane, to trade places with us residents who have to put up with this rat’s nest as we try to carry on with our work-a-day lives and pay taxes and remain sane at the same time. It’s time for them feel what it’s like to have no place to go — literally.
I was in no condition, physically or mentally, to put up with this parking lot when I noticed there was unused road on both sides of the white line and enough space for a car. I slid out of the slug lane and into my newly created lane. Slowly but steadily I was gaining on the traffic light at the intersection of Shore and Winnapaug Roads to make a right. Huh? Blue blinking lights came out of nowhere! More to the point, they were behind me in my lane. Surely, those lights were heading to somewhere more important than me so I pulled into a driveway. To my horror those blue lights pulled in right behind me! Oh my God, I’m going to get a ticket for doing this! I could only imagine tourists gloating — that’s what that dumb local gets for trying to outsmart the law.
As I was hoping for a reprieve, the police officer must have noticed my bumper sticker — “Don’t Hassle Me, I’m A Local.” He might have left well enough alone. But, no. Then I hear, “Hatsy, you know you can’t drive in the breakdown lane.” “Officer, breakdown lane, bike lane, I’m not going to the beach, I need to get home. I was trying to get to the intersection to go right and get home to a bathroom. This ole crock can’t hold it like she used to.” “But, you can’t drive in the breakdown lane,” he persisted. When my object was to get home ASAP, no way could I discuss what I was beginning to think might be a plausible solution. Just give me the ticket and let me go.
I didn’t recognize the good-looking, youngish officer who knew me, but I did consider for a second that I was being politically incorrect with my brutally honest explanation. Nah, he’d probably heard every excuse in the book. I was very grateful to receive just a warning, but far more grateful that the pull-over was short and civil. At Seacrest Drive, I made a right and somehow found my way through unfamiliar Chin Hill to Happy Valley Road to the Watch Hill Road and HOME!
This is pretty much typical of how we residents must spend our long summers taking care of business. Enough already!
Hatsy H. MooreWesterly