When the Road is Closed

I bought a new Honda CRV a couple years ago. Before making my purchase I did extensive research so I would be an educated consumer. I compared vehicles with good repair records, high safety ratings and high mileage engines. It was important to me to make the best possible choice. I also wanted a four wheel drive car since I was living in snowy, mountainous Western PA. And since I wasn’t taxiing neighborhoods of kids anymore the CRV size was right. I struggled on the color, I choose blue-I wish now I had chosen black, it’s sexier, more sophisticated- and made my purchase. I even wrangled a good deal.


Several months later I was on my way to work, after stopping for a coffee, driving my familiar route. I unconsciously flipped my right blinker on to turn at the up coming T in the road. As I slowed to a stop I saw the road construction crew to my right and the Road Closed sign posted ahead of me. I put the car in reverse when one of the flagmen yelled to me and waved me to turn right. I mouthed to him the road is closed and pointed to the sign. He waved harder and bigger. I guessed that meant, “Hurry up you stupid woman, there is work to be done here.”


So I put the car in drive, feeling chastised and compliant and turned right. There were a few bright orange cones closing the right lane so I continued in the left lane. When the cones ended and both lanes were open I wasn’t sure what lane I should be in. Quite frankly I was uncertain if I should even be on this “closed” road, but the guy in charge said, “GO LADY,” so I did.


I saw the upcoming intersection with cars waiting to come in my direction.  I was holding my breath, a thing I do when I am uncertain, worried or scared. When the intersection light turned green I decided to move into the right lane. My reasoning? I wanted to be out of the way of oncoming traffic, smart choice…I thought. I gently turned the wheel to the right to ease into the correct lane and my front right wheel dropped, like I had driven into a hole. My rear right tire followed with a jolt.


I came to a stop. I realized, totally horrified, that I had driven into wet road cement. SHIT. My mind raced with visions of quick drying concrete cementing into place forever. I knew what I had to do and I had to do it quickly.


I threw it into low gear, grateful for my 4 wheel drive and hit the gas. The engine raced, the wheels spun and the cement flew…everywhere. My blue CRV found her footing and pulled herself and me out of the cement. I was so proud, I had picked well, she had guts and gumption. I turned on my front and back wind shield wipers to see through the cement splattered windows. As I did I saw, through the rear view mirror, road crew workers yelling and screaming at me as they ran toward the car.


My anxiety morphed my fury, “They were yelling at me?”


I stepped out to the car and felt myself grow 2 inches taller. I straightened my back, lifted my chin and pulled my shoulders back. It was my turn to yell at construction workers. All of my retroflexed humiliation, at the years of cat calls from this profession, was about to get worked out. I let them have it. Several times.


They backed down and shut up. They got their hose truck and began the very long process of getting the concrete off my car. It was everywhere, in the wheels, the brakes, the carriage, evveerryywhere. A truck load of water, a ton of chipping and $350.00, for new brake and rotors, later and my car was drivable ( however it still weighs a bit more than other CRV’s.)


Not me...some other sucker

The PA Dept of Transportation refused to reimburse me my $350. They said I shouldn’t have gone down a closed road.


Really? Really.


And they were right. Why did I drive down a closed road?


Because I listened to someone else instead to myself. I over-road (no pun intended) my instincts, and common sense, to defer to another’s authority. I believed what I was told instead of what I knew.


The moral of my story?


Don’t do that!









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