If you were to ask me what it’s like to live on a street, I wouldn’t be able to tell you. You see, the house I’ve lived in for the majority of my life is located on the very tippy-top of a cul-de-sac. More often than not, I love where my house is located. I felt safer playing in the street than most kids, and it’s a great place to hold a neighborhood party.
On the other hand, living in a cul-de-sac means that there is only one way in and out. Which makes things difficult when the busy street our circle connects to is blocked for construction. Which it has been, twice this month. After the first few terrifying days of complying to the wills of flaggers and weaving my car through construction cones like some vehicular soccer drill, I was beyond relieved when the mass of vehicles and blinding orange vests moved farther up the street to disturb some other chump’s daily routine. I thought I was in the clear (for another few months, at least, until they decided to re-do the road yet again).
Then, no more than a week later, they were back and I spent another few days avoiding construction-themed death-traps (metal plates on the road, entire vehicles taking up both lanes, flashing lights that made me feel like I was at some outdoor, middle-aged man nightclub). Really, I just wanted to get to school so I could suffer, then go to work so I could scavenge some extra money to pay for another torture-session of school next fall. Is that really too much to ask for?
I’m not sure if it’s just the construction companies of Cedar, or if this is a universal rule for all things construction, but I swear construction work always happens at the worst possible times.
The road by my old high school is often redone every two or three years, which is fine. Welcomed, even. What is not okay is when they decide to redo the road (new asphalt, fresh lines, all that jazz) two weeks after school just got in. They had three whole months where the road was basically deserted, but I guess they thought working around a bunch of inexperienced, “road sign? What’s a road sign?” teenagers would be a lot more fun.
Then there was the summer when someone thought it would be a brilliant idea to do some major construction on Main Street the same week Cedar City hosted the Tour of Utah. What? There are a few extra hundred people here to watch a fairly well-known bike tour? Sure, let’s go ahead and tear up half the road! What could possibly go wrong!
29,162 confused and ticked off Cedar City residents, that’s what.
I also have a personal vendetta against “detour” signs. More often than not, I’ll be driving happily down the road only to fight an anxiety attack when I see the bold, black arrow that sits mockingly in front of my. I then prepare myself to explain to my friends why I was late because I know that I’m about to be hopelessly lost. These signs are completely useless. Sure, they have the courtesy to tell you what the first street you should turn down is, but after that you are on your own. Unless you are an expert on that area’s back roads and alleyways, you are nothing more than a mouse trapped in a maze with no idea on how to reach the exit.
Then there’s the construction flaggers, who I simultaneously pity and abhor. Just imagine, the poor saps have to stand for hours in either burning heat or frost-bite inducing cold, or if you’re in Cedar City, both at the same time (see last week’s post). I really can’t blame the pinched face and nearly nonexistent show of patience I see every time I encounter one.
At the same time, I can’t help but direct some of my road-rage at them. As I was suffering through my street’s second bought of construction, I found myself stopped by a flagger for what felt like a ten-minute time frame. That was ten minutes of sitting through radio commercials while no other cars came down the street. That was ten minutes of watching the flagger talk into his walkie-talkie, laugh, do a questionable dance with his stop-sign, then go back to talking as I sat a mere twenty feet from the entrance to the cul-de-sac. That was ten minutes of my life I will never get back (granted, I would have probably used that time to watch people shove their political opinions in each others faces on Facebook, but at least then I would have been the one in charge of my time-wasting).
For now, the construction wave has passed on by, off to improve another part of town but inevitably disrupt hundreds of lives while doing so. Alas, there will come a time where they will once again return to the cul-de-sac, probably right when I’m about to leave for the job interview that will make me rich and famous. If you see me wandering the streets homeless one day, blame the hard hats and jackhammers.