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Brandeis University's Community Newspaper — Waltham, Mass.

Good luck driving here in Mass

Published: September 7, 2007
Section: Opinions

Its 8 a.m. and youre on your way to work, school, you fill in the blank. Youre cruising along, trying to wake yourself up with some background music, and then it happens. What is it, you ask? It is construction. It is a detour. Let me just tell you, detour is possibly my least favorite six-letter word. Detour means that those of us who werent born with a GPS system implanted in our brains have to trust the fine detour planners to get us to our destinationand on time, too!

It seems like every single town in this state is under construction. And I dont mean minor, once in a while construction. Its at least once a week, if not every day that I come across some big project. Sure, its necessary to make certain changes once in a while, but how about the city planning them out a little better?

Why in the world do they insist on digging up both sides of the road during rush hour morning traffic? Wouldnt it make a little more sense to do it say, overnight? And why both sides of the road? How about just one a day so we can actually use the roads for what they were meant fordriving?!

My frustration with construction had been silently brewing until a couple of weeks ago. I was on my morning commute to work when I suddenly realized that I was in big trouble.

A main road I take which had been under construction for the last MONTH!! had finally decided to make my life just a little bit more difficult. No, they couldnt dig up one side of the road this morning and make me wait several minutes to merge into the other lane. They had to dig up both sides of this main road leading onto the highway and to make things worse, block off the one side road that I couldve snaked through to beat the system.

Needless to say, I was mad. For anyone who knows me, they will tell you that detours and directions are two words that dont mesh with my personality. Ive lived here all my life, yet I am just starting to find my way around. Sure, I know my way to the important placesschool, work, and of course the mall! But I basically know one or two direct ways to all of these places, which Ive cultivated through pained memorization and sneaking frequent peeks at my directions sheet. When you block off them both, though, trouble arises.

So I decided to try the detourbad choice, as you will soon see. It started out fine. I followed the signs and was trying to stay calm, but then it happened. The detour just sort of fizzled out. Where was I supposed to go? Right, left, straight? So many optionsdid I mention Im indecisive?which made it that much harder for an indecisive person such as myself.

After about five trips to different gas stations asking for directionsall of who, by the way, gave different advicethree trips into towns Id never visited before, many calls to my back-road savvy father, and two long hours on a normally half hour commute, I was saved! I luckily ran into my dad, who had set out to save me, and followed him the rest of the way. Let me tell you, never was I happier to see him than at that moment.

But if it werent for that, I probably wouldve been halfway to New York.
How is it possible that every town in Massachusetts absolutely NEEDS to do construction at the same exact time? People have lives to live, and they dont want to be waiting in traffic every day for a project that really doesnt need to be done, or which could be done when theres no traffic.

Can we really trust our representatives to make good choices for us when they arent even smart enough to realize that construction during rush hour might just be a bad idea? Lets be a little considerate people! But of course, they dont care if they hold up half the state in a never-ending traffic jam, because theyre the ones getting paid.

And please stop waving at me, telling me to stop. I can see that Im not going anywhere anytime soon! What I need is a GPS system that will help me completely avoid detoursinventors, volunteers anyone?