needing a different bridge
Friday, January 10 2020
I felt much better at work today than I had yesterday. I had no gut problems at all aside from minor initial acid-reflux-type issue. I nipped that in the bud with a Pepto-Bismolesque tablet. I don't really like what Pepto-Bismol does to my feces (they become blacker, stinkier, and generally more messy), but the bismuth subsalicylate it contains works miracles on an uncomfortable digestive tract. My main medical problem today was a persistent light cough. With each of these coughs, a tiny sliver of phlegm would be chiseled from my trachea and flung into my mouth.
One of the founders (and erstwhile employee) of the company, D, visited the office today. He was an old codger who looked to be in his 70s, and eventually Alex introduced him to me. I'd heard stories about him, as well as his coworker and arch-nemesis (a man I'll refer to as J). They'd worked in a different time, when technology was slow and expensive and true relational databases didn't yet exist. They'd made some decisions that plague us to this day, but the fact remains that the stuff they'd built has worked for decades. I'd just learned that the database I'd been building would need to be much more complicated than I'd originally thought, and since D had played some role in the development of the old system I would be replacing, I bounced a few questions off him. He had a great sense of humor, though (confusingly) he tended to shake his head when he was in the process of agreeing. He was also fond of colorful, poetic expressions such as "darken the sky with airplanes."
This evening as I did my Friday commute home, some sort of traffic slowdown affected westbound Route 199 just west of River Road (less than a mile from the east abutment of the Kingston-Rhinecliff Bridge). I'd already cracked open my road beer (a Lagunitas Super Cluster Ale), so wasn't as cranky as this sort of thing normally makes me. It wasn't long before various emergency vehicles went tearing past in the now-empty east-bound lane. But still progress was somehow happening, and I made it to about the middle of the bridge before traffic stopped entirely, like in a Udaipur tuk-tuk traffic jam. Of course, had this been India, everyone going westbound would've immediately capitalized on that unused eastbound lane. Similar to in a tuk-tuk traffic jam, people started getting out of their cars to try to see what the hold up was. And at some point a police vehicle told something to the driver of a car two vehicles behind me that made that person turn around and abandon trying to cross the bridge. At times like this, a working Waze app would be nice, but I couldn't get a good cell signal, even though I was in a place that must've had line-of-sight to several cell towers. I also would've warned my co-workers, but our office has transitioned from Slack to Microsoft Teams, and I didn't have the app for that installed on my phone. (I'm finding it doesn't effectively notify people of new posts either, so communication in our Microsoftified office will be even more terrible than it already had been.)
Eventually I got out of my Subaru, and some guy in a truck said the bridge was totally closed up ahead. I asked why he was still here waiting then, and he said he was a member of a volunteer fire department, which probably accounted for how he knew what the problem was.
I didn't feel like waiting for a period of time that seemed indefinite, so I turned around and headed back off the bridge. I then drove sotuh through Rhinebeck, part of a growing line of cars forced to find an alternative route across the Hudson. I had decided to cross on the Mid-Hudson Bridge, which connects Poughkeepsie to Highland (near New Paltz), but I could've also gone north and crossed the bridge connecting Hudson to Catskill. Gretchen says that way would've been shorter, but I'm not so sure.
Just south of Rhinebeck, there was some retard driving 40 miles per hour in a 55 mile per hour zone, and that was part of what was causing the south-bound congesting. When we got to the place where US 9 became a four-lane road, we finally got the opportunity to go around that car, and I was so angry that I leaned on my horn as I passed.
Somewhere near Highland, I had to piss really badly, and I'd just finished my Super Cluster. So I did my best to piss in that can, though of course I managed to get a fair amount of piss on my trousers (I was wearing the purple ones). So I blasted the Subaru's heat and pointed it directly at my crotch. This was pretty effective, and by the time I got to New Paltz, I could walk around in public without embarrassaing wet spots on my crotch. Meanwhile Gretchen had returned from Boston and I'd had her order us two spaghetti dinners to go (and an order of fries) from the New Paltz Diner (still the best spaghetti with marinara sauce in the Hudson Valley). The order came to a little over $32 and weighed so much that the bag was best carried with two hands.
My usual drive home is about sixteen miles, but today's route took me 55.2 miles and delayed my homecoming by about two hours. The check engine light came on between Highland and New Paltz with a P0420 error. And then the car's mileage crossed 220,000 miles.
To help with my phlegm (and also to provide a little pick-me-up to help with designing a complex database), I'd taken 150 milligrams of pseudoephedrine. This was causing me to clench my jaw repeatedly, particularly in the leg of the drive between Rhinebeck and Poughkeepsie. By the time I got home, I feeling punchy and jubilant. As I puttered around, bringing things into the house, I made up a simple melody to go with a song whose only lyrics were "Spaghetti and meatballs. Spaghetti and meatballs."
Back at the house, Gretchen told me all about the three or four distinct events she'd attended in Boston. One was a poetry reading, and she indicated that it had gone extremely well. A good metric of how well a reading goes is the ratio of attendees to books sold, which can be as high as 2:1. At this reading about 45 people showed up and she sold thirteen books. But that was all that she'd brought to the venue.
I stayed up late doing my usual Friday night debauchery. At some point I managed to find an article about what had caused the hold-up on the bridge. It's impossible to read the story I linked conventionally without a paid membership to the Daily Freeman, but if one views the source of that article, the content can be found in plaintext.
Wondering what the hold-up is on the Kingston-Rhinecliff Bridge.
People start getting out of their cars.
Photo of the actual crash, found on the website for The Daily Freeman.
For linking purposes this article's URL is:feedback
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