Guest Post: Steve Miller

Yesterday, we went to the ocean.  Yes, yes; we are grasshoppers.  But it was sunny and warm and we had cabin fever, and…Well.  Let Steve tell it:

A tale in several parts.

We went out to go to the store yesterday, (starting with breakfast out) with a car load of redemption cans and bottles in the car — which needed to be turned in before we could do grocery shopping.

We arrived at redemption center, which was too busy to get into the parking lot, went to the vets and picked up some needed meds for Socks, went back to redemption center and stood in line.

We eventually redeemed bottles/cans/lottery tickets to the tune of $17.45. It was, as we noticed, a very pretty day out and since Sharon had begun the morning with “Hey, let’s go to the ocean!” and suggesting a breakfast there … and said the same when the bottles were redeemed (and hey, we had Socks meds so that was the really important part of the day’s agenda) … so we stopped at Julliete’s bakery and bought some cookies (matched set of peanut butter cookies and chocolate chip cookies) and with sustenance in hand and Sharon still suggesting the ocean before the grocery store, we set off to do that. I’ve been needing an actual cabin fever type break from being in the house too long and since driving long distance at highs speeds lowers my blood pressure appreciably, we got on I-95 South and went with the flow, which seemed to be running seventeen miles an hour about posted speed limit.

Very good to get a drive in, and at that pace we looked to arrive in Old Orchard beach in considerably less than the usual two hours and five minutes from Winslow.

* * *

So we took a rest stop between Gray and Falmouth, got back on the road, and saw … slow traffic ahead of us. And slower. And emergency lights. And then, slowest traffic.

In fact, for around forty-five minutes we sat there, car off in the midst of I-95, listening to Pandora on my phone and then stored tunes on Sharon’s phone, simply letting the breeze come through the window.

Others needed to be somewhere and began backing up, and some of them turning around(!) to escape the back-up by illegally crossing a very tiny (maybe one and a half yard deep) opening in the divider between north and south bound. This opening was so short that a car on our side that was half on the emergency apron on the south bound side would be sticking out into the high-speed travel lane of the northbound side.

A number of cars made this escape — but having years ago covered (as a newspaper editor in Maryland) a multi-fatality car crash where someone did such a u-turn on Maryland’s portion of I-95, I can say I wasn’t much in favor of this whole process and i did nothing to aid those attempting it. We were just considering starting the car up to recharge devices (we carry a charger in the car for just such necessity) when Sharon, from her special vantage in the shotgun seat, said “I think an ambulance is trying to get through!”

See above cars trying to illegally turn? Some of them were having a Real Hard Time and so were stuck sideways across the road …

* * *

A policeman having arrived suddenly from the south, he (with some anger apparent), pulled his car long way into the opening sealing it. There were many complaints, and an advancing ambulance that most people couldn’t see or hear (cars running, radios on, cellphones to ears, all watching for a sign of progress in the traffic a half mile down the long hill in front of us …

Sharon was right, there was an ambulance, and it wasn’t getting much help. I pulled our Subaru as close to the median wall as i could, and got out of my car, yelling at the person in front of us to move out of the way (they were about 1/3 of the way into their three point turn becasue they didn’t realize the cop had sealed the illegal turn behind us…) …

So then I turned and made like a windmill, which got a lot of people’s attention, and some of them even opened windows and heard me say — “To the side, clear for an ambulance! to the side, clear the way!”

The tractor trailer rig which had been being a good neighbor already was able to facilitate things by nosily revving his engine and then people heard him do something, saw me, and eventually (both behind and in front of us) started moving cars. As Sharon put it “That ambulance driver is amazing!” …

I got back in the car, saying words about stupids ….

And then we waited some more. The officer called out to people that it would clear soon, and about fifteen minutes after the ambulance got through there was minor motion ahead. Five minutes after that I turned the car back on and we were able to proceed to the ocean …

* * *

And so,…

This is what the fuss was about

* * *

Tale not being so much of an issue — just later yesterday…

So, after we got out of the traffic jam we motored on in fine style to OOB (oh oh bee) (that’s local talk for Old Orchard Beach!) we drove about town looking vaguely at houses, considering buying a motel to turn into a co-office spot (with a residential unit for us) … and then we pulled into the Skylark, where we parked and went for a mile walk on the beach and then a return trip via East Grand Avenue….

But before we get to the eat part I should point out that the ocean was wild yesterday, coming off the same storm that’s tearing up the Massachusetts
coast .. and OOB was experiencing a “clam tide” in which thousands of live/fresh clams were thrown up onto the beach. Many locals were carrying buckets among these deposited creatures… I didn’t do that, instead just admiring the waves, foam, mist, and sound of incessant thundering surf. Very, very impressive.

and then we decided to eat.

Alas, the new downtown spot, Hoss and Mary’s, has no restroom, so we didn’t eat there … instead driving up Saco Avenue to Jimmy The Greek’s .. where Sharon had (she promises me!) her first-ever gyro. I was more pedestrian, going for the Chicken Carbonaro Sandwich on Garlic and Herb Bread with Sweet Potato fries while Sharon’s meal came with regular potato waffle fries. Sharon pointed out much later that 1) she’d had potatoes at all three of yesterday’s meals and 2) that all three of yesterday’s joint meals, with tips, cost less than our recent Friday morning breakfast at Boskone — at the Westin Sauciety restaurant.

Then a leisurely drive home up the expressway, watching for a comet in our rearview mirror and seeing none, and then getting off the highway at a vantage point and still missing out. Have you see the comet?

A quick stop at Hannaford’s for a bit of groceries, and then a quiet evening. So, after that refreshing rejuvenating ocean experience I have a busy couple days ahead of me and you likely won’t hear from me much.

One thought on “Guest Post: Steve Miller”

  1. Haven’t seen the comet yet because night skies completely clouded over Thursday, Friday, Saturday. Maybe tonight (it’s clear _now_…no guarantees.)

    Having been an ambulance driver, I give you retrograde thanks for your help in clearing a path for one. Once was behind guy in a pickup on winding narrow road (very narrow) who would not pull over, or pull into some farm’s entrance, to let us by despite sirens, horn, flashing lights. Couldn’t pass without risking a head-on around a corner and “Don’t be part of the problem” was drilled into our heads very firmly. Another time, on I-35 going into Austin, heavy traffic paid no attention to the same array of attention-getting devices.

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