August 28, 2008

I was commuting from my house to downtown Baton Rouge Tuesday morning. This is normally a five-minute proposition, but today, I can’t catch anything but red lights. You know the magical device that you’ve dreamed of? The one where you can hit a button and the light changes to green for you? Well, it was just like I had one of those in reverse.

Once I sat through the first 5 reds, I got downtown, where there is a light at every block. I got stopped block after block after block. Three times, I tried to change my luck by turning to a different street, and all three times I saw a yellow signal at the end of the block in front of me.

Then I got to the parking garage. The parking garage can be a significant part of my daily commute home. The first day I left downtown, it took me 20 minutes to wind my way down and out to the street, followed by a less than 10 minute drive home. I’m thinking about walking out to the garage every day around 3:30, and move my car down the slope to get a spot vacated by an early arriver/early leaver. Would that be worse for my car than the 20 minutes of idling?

There are parking lots downtown too, and if I parked there, I could just roll in and out without the line, but those cost money, and the garage parking is paid for by the state. I can’t justify going out of pocket to get in and out in a hurry.

I’m working amidst a bunch of FEMA employees on loan to the state. If you think your average office has a bunch of secretaries who spend all of their time refreshing hurricane eye path forecasts and freaking out, you haven’t seen the half of it. As I type, Hurricane Gustav is on its way, and there’s another named storm behind it. I understand that the H storm, whose name I forget, is looking more toward Florida’s East coast.

FEMA is taking Gustav pretty seriously. They’re keeping their employees home tomorrow, even though the storm isn’t set to hit until late Monday. Contract workers like me have been told that there’s a good chance that we will be told to stay home and out of the way next week. That would be all right, I think.

I guess that I’ll have to pull Velvet Elvis out of the water unless the forecast track changes quite suddenly by the end of the day tomorrow. I’m a bit worried that this whole thing might interfere with me spending all day Saturday watching college football. I’m afraid that if I wait until Sunday, there will be mile-long lines for the boat ramps, and I’ll have to sit in a ton of traffic to get back to Baton Rouge. What a mess.