canal road, commute, crash, embarrassing, funny,, internship, stranded, stuck, summer, traffic, washington, work

Be There Soon, Stuck in Traffic: Part One

As a girl raised in the Midwest and attending school in Upstate New York, it is safe to say I do not know the first thing about traffic.

To me, traffic iswas some foreign experience that sounded almost fun…

I now know better.

I moved to Washington DC for my summer internship a few weeks ago. Google Maps told me my commute would be 25 minutes driving. I was reverse commuting out of the city, so I figured it would be pretty true to timing.

Right? Wrong.

I packed my business wardrobe and made the drive from Michigan to DC the day before my internship started. It was a Sunday, so the city seemed pretty easy to drive in, far easier than I had imagined.

Morning came and I did my hair, put on my mascara, and was ready to go within half an hour. Perfect, an extra 30 minutes to find my way to work – I remember thinking to myself.

I hopped in my little blue car, plugged in my TomTom GPS and was on my way!

About five minutes into the drive it seemed I was out of DC and would be at work over 50 minutes early. A bit aggressive, but maybe I can stop for coffee when I got there. 

I didn’t get coffee.

Less than five minutes later I made a turn into a weird little road. I wasn’t quite sure how it would be the best way to get out of the city limits, but I blindly followed my TomTom, as it had never steered me wrong before.

The little passage way came to an end and I was at a mostly empty road. I pulled out into it only to be immediately met by oncoming traffic. Odd, there is a double yellow line. Why are they in my lane?

They weren’t in my lane.

I was on Canal Road. A road that I now know is one of many that becomes a one way during rush hour. Going the opposite direction.

Back on Canal Road I did what any sane person would do in this situation.

I sat there.

Cars honked swerving to the other lane until finally there was a clear. A gap just large enough for me to make a U Turn and start heading back into the city. Back into the city?! There goes my coffee.

With my dreams of coffee crushed, I looked back at TomTom. He was still saying I would be there within 20 minutes, which seemed promising. I followed his directions only to find myself being redirected back to the same little passageway onto a fast road of oncoming traffic.

As time passed, the roads grew more congested, and I continued to make turns the opposite direction to what TomTom told me.

I realized this wasn’t going to work. Tom wanted me on Canal Road, and I couldn’t keep turning against him. I started fumbling through the controls to find an AVOID button. I quickly avoided Canal Road, breathed a sigh of relief and continued on my way.

I then found myself entering Virginia. That’s odd, I am going to Maryland. I drove on and hoped there would be no more surprises. Checking my ETA, I panicked a little. I was set to be there 15 minutes before I needed to be. Not much time to spare for further confusion….

Ten minutes later I was back in Maryland and out of trouble. I was, however, now in traffic.

A nervous wreck, I sat in traffic and arrived to work ten minutes early. I decided the day hadn’t started yet and to pretend that drive had not just knocked five years off my life.

And thus I started my first day of my internship, a little shaken, but out of traffic and with the knowledge to never return to Canal Road. It was official on my No Go list.

I now have 4 roads on that list, but more on that later….

Keep Calm and Stay Out of Traffic
~Alana Robin

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