It was practically gridlock in downtown Campbell River and few were happy.
Twas Friday afternoon, just a few hours before knocking-off time and the unofficial start to the Labour Day weekend.
Long weekends always create panic as fun-seekers load up on weenies, buns, booze and just enough ‘smores supplies to gooey up an entire campsite.
Getting out of “Dodge” on these days requires real focus.
Errand boy, or girl, must compete for the last narrow spaces in the gauntlet of chaotic plaza parking lots. Then there are the painful waits in slow-moving check-out lines. Finally, you try to make it back to home base and that’s where it goes to Fort Mac in a hand basket.
Shopper’s Row jams up with vehicles oozing from every side street and then you have the pedestrians who dawdle in the crosswalks as they giggle at another “lol message” on their crackberries.
Add in the downtown construction that’s closed St. Ann’s Road and there you have it, all the makings for bedlam!
So there I was, stuck in “gridlock” as if I were driving in downtown Vancouver. Well, it’s never that bad and “real traffic” in Campbell River typically means you get home five minutes later – big deal.
Others though, aren’t so patient.
Take, for instance, the cabbie waiting at the four-way stop at Shopper’s and 11th Avenue. I had arrived at the intersection first, but wasn’t going anywhere because traffic was backed right up to the crosswalk due to the new four-way stop just up Shopper’s at 10th Ave.
As I waited for a pedestrian to first cross and the traffic to clear, the frustrated cabbie tried to drive through first. Not to be outdone, I proceeded into the intersection with my hand firmly planted on the horn.
It was at the height of craziness when Big Logger Mike suddenly jumped down from his spar pole.
“EVERYBODY STOP!” he bellowed, as his voice bounced off the Strathcona mountains and everyone came to a halt.
“Geez Louise, I’ve had enough of this madness,” he went on. “It’s bad enough I’m smack dab in the middle of this mess, but it’s even worse when guys like you and you [he was pointing at me and the cabbie] can’t behave decently!”
I looked sheepish while the cabbie looked over his shoulder as if Big Mike was yelling at someone else.
He shook a scolding finger at us, then grabbed an oversized stop sign and started directing traffic like an honest-to-goodness cop.
“You proceed, you SLOW DOWN, and you, stop putting on make-up while you’re driving,” Logger Mike ordered.
Suddenly, everything was moving smoothly again, but Big Mike wasn’t finished.
“You, yes YOU, get the heck off that skateboard or yer gettin’ a paddlin’ with this stop sign!”