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 canâ€™t catch anything but red lights. You know the magical device that youâ€™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. Iâ€™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 canâ€™t justify going out of pocket to get in and out in a hurry.
Iâ€™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 havenâ€™t seen the half of it. As I type, Hurricane Gustav is on its way, and thereâ€™s another named storm behind it. I understand that the H storm, whose name I forget, is looking more toward Floridaâ€™s East coast.
FEMA is taking Gustav pretty seriously. Theyâ€™re keeping their employees home tomorrow, even though the storm isnâ€™t set to hit until late Monday. Contract workers like me have been told that thereâ€™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 Iâ€™ll have to pull Velvet Elvis out of the water unless the forecast track changes quite suddenly by the end of the day tomorrow. Iâ€™m a bit worried that this whole thing might interfere with me spending all day Saturday watching college football. Iâ€™m afraid that if I wait until Sunday, there will be mile-long lines for the boat ramps, and Iâ€™ll have to sit in a ton of traffic to get back to Baton Rouge. What a mess.