I hate traffic.

I seriously detest traffic — sometimes merely backing out of my driveway is enough to raise my blood pressure.

When heading to metropolitan areas, I have to find my Zen zone. If I’m driving, I don’t hesitate to go on the toll roads. And, in the Seattle area, there are even stretches of the “freeway” that have one lane that’s designated as a pay lane. Believe me, the fee is worth it.

I also use public transportation. However, there can be problems when leaving the driving to someone else. Being a bit directionally impaired and having no conceptual understanding of an inch equaling one mile, I’ve had issues.

One time I flew into Las Vegas and crashed in the hotel room some friends had checked into for a conference. While they were at meetings, I decided to go to an evening show. Not exactly sure where I was going, I took a bus down The Strip and then went to a taxi stand to take me the rest of the way.

The whole confrontation that ensued at the end of the ride could have been avoided if the taxi dude had explained that I could merely cut across the parking lot to my desired destination. He tried to soak me for a ride that barely lasted longer than me getting my seatbelt fastened.

When he parked, he announced some ungodly amount. I said, “No, that’s ridiculous. I’m not paying that much.” He threatened to call the police.

Undeterred, I told him fine — then you can waste your time and explain to them why you didn’t even turn on the meter. I shoved a $5 peace offering into his hand and quickly departed.

When I left the show, I followed a group of people to The Strip to catch a bus. I figured if I looked like I was with a crowd, then I wouldn’t be a target on the streets of Vegas.

The only problem is, I didn’t tell the group of people that I was pretending to be with. I’m not sure how intimidating a 5’2” blonde haired woman can appear, but they kept walking faster.

My short and stubby legs had a hard time keeping up. I finally got the attention of someone in the group and let them know they were serving as my safety herd. We all had a good laugh and they escorted me to my bus stop.

I learned from that experience.

When using public transit a couple of summers ago to go to a baseball game at Safeco Field in Seattle, I be-friended some gals on the bus ride from Everett. Although they jokingly said I’d have to remove my Yankee hat, they made sure I got to the stadium. We even made arrangements to meet afterwards to walk back to the bus stop.

During a recent trip to the Seattle area, John and I mostly stayed away from the I-5 corridor. It saved our sanity when it came to dealing with traffic. However, there was a sign that freaked me out on Highway 2, which we drove each day to visit my favorite mother-in-law.

It indicates how many days since the last serious crash. I don’t know the average number of days between bad wrecks but if the number gets way up there I’d be thinking that route was due. Just like when a batter has been in a slump, inevitably he’s gonna get a hit again. And, undoubtedly, a crash will occur again on Highway 2. It’s all good, it had been accident-free for nine days by the time we cruised back home.

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Tammy Malgesini is the community editor. Her column, Inside my Shoes, includes general musings about life. Contact her at tmalgesini@eastoregonian.com or 541-564-4539.

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