the beauty of the grapevine (morgan linton)

The Zen And Art Of Getting Stuck On I-5

We were driving up north yesterday from Los Angeles to San Francisco when I5 came to a complete stop. We didn’t just stop for a minute or two, we stopped for 45-minutes. Luckily I had my trusty Waze GPS app running and I was able to see there was trouble up ahead. According to fellow “wazers” as we are now called, a car was on fire about a mile ahead of us.

Looking at the cars around me you could see the frustration building. Some people hit their steering wheels in anger, others kept dipping into the shoulder like the guy hitting the button to call the elevator thinking maybe that will somehow influence the situation.

After about twenty minutes some people gave up, they couldn’t take it any more. It all started with one truck who made a mad dash across the grassy marshland separating the two sides of the highway. He looked for police, lurched forward, and then went for it. Once he made it to the other side he then had to merge onto I5 South going from dirt to road to 70 MPH.

Once he did this the flood gates opened up and soon everyone was dashing across the highway, braving the high grass and dirt to escape. Of course, this escape comes at a price. There’s the risk of getting one heck of a ticket, the chance of getting stuck in the mud, and the reality of taking a longer route to get to wherever they are going.

As the time ticked by I could see drivers around me getting increasingly frustrated, they were trapped, rushed, stressed, they just wanted to go!

I don’t think one driver took the time to look into our car, why should they, this was a nightmare for them. If they did they would see two people actually enjoying themselves. Sirius was providing us with non-stop entertainment, we were relaxed, I even got a chance to catch-up on some email. Life was good.

Sure, it added 45 minutes to our trip up north, and yes, those who dared to cross the median might have made it to San Francisco ten minutes earlier than we did but I can tell you they had a very different experience than us. When they looked out of their car windows they just saw traffic. When I looked out of our car window you’d think we were in two different places, I saw a beautiful photo of the grapevine ready to be taken. The picture at the top of this post is a one-of-a-kind because looking around I realized, we were the only ones appreciating the beauty of the moment.