You’re in Control

What happens when two extroverts get stuck in traffic? Naturally, they start a conversation.

Last Sunday, my wife and I were driving to Northern Virginia on I-81. As we approached Harrisonburg, we texted her niece to see if she was available to meet us for lunch around 2:00 p.m. My wife’s niece responded that she would have loved to meet us except that she was in Japan at the moment. We apologized for waking her. It was almost 3:00 a.m. in Tokyo.

We had just gotten back on I-81 after lunch when we saw an electronic road sign warning us that both lanes were closed a few miles ahead. Unfortunately, there were no exits between us and the crash that had closed the road. Traffic came to a standstill. We turned off the air conditioning, opened our windows, and eventually turned off the engine. Other drivers were doing the same thing.

My wife and I were in the left lane. She was driving and I was in the passenger seat. From my vantage point, I could see and hear a woman in the right lane. She had stopped her van and rolled down her window. Her cell phone was in speaker mode and she was talking to a friend.

I heard her say: “You’re never going to see these people again. Just get a woman to go with you and hold up a jacket.” When she hung up, I looked at her quizzically and asked, “Did you just tell your friend to go pee in the woods?”

She laughed and said that her friend was caught in the same traffic jam, about two miles ahead of us. While the friend was busy in the woods, the driver told us that she was also headed to Northern Virginia after dropping off some kids at James Madison University. When the friend called back to report that one lane had been cleared, the van driver told her that she had shared her embarrassing story with us. My wife told them that the whole incident would probably end up in my next stand-up comedy routine for charity.

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