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Thursday, May 7, 2009

The Parkway Pas de Deux 
or instant karma in action  

Okay, so around here we have these things called Parkways, which is a completely erroneous moniker being they are 55mph highways... Anyhoo, there are three of these main arteries in Pittsburgh--Parkway West, Parkway East and the baby of the group, Parkway North. As you would guess, traffic on these roadways is clogged in varying degrees during both the morning and evening rushes.

A little side note: Native Burghers are very territorial. South Hills dwellers rarely move North and North Hills natives don't dig crossing the river at all. Either move would make one a major defector and pariah in one's own family. And neither group would ever, EVER entertain the thought of moving East. That's just madness, man! 

One of the reasons for our collective hatred of the East is one's inevitable trek on the dreaded Parkway East. Seriously. This road is like Satan's highway...Beelzebub's backyard...Lucifer's laughfest. Seriously. It's never not jammed. Add a little water to the mix in the form of rain or snow, and it's just...DEATH. Slow, brain-biting, please-shove-needles-in-my-eyes-and-put-me-out-of-my-misery kinda Death.  

But I digress...

Lately I've been driving to work most mornings. I could take the trolley which is peaceful and uber efficient, but I've had lots of appointments and errands to run after work which require access to a motor vehicle. That, and I'm basically a lazy slug who doesn't want to get up any earlier to partake in the magnificence that is the trolley line.

Moving on to the point of this posting... 

The last part of my commute is a merge onto the Parkway West right before the tunnel. 

(By the way, if you ever find yourself driving to Pittsburgh from the airport, I guarantee you will be completely awestruck by the view of the city as you emerge from the tunnel. You're in darkness, then suddenly the entire city is laid out before you. The sun glistening off the rivers as they kiss the shorelines. I'm not kidding. It's gorgeous! A major "Wow!" factor going on. Every day I drive through there, and every day I am struck by the beauty.) 

Sorry. I'm having trouble keeping on topic today for some reason.

Like I started to say, the last part of my commute is a merge onto the Parkway West. There are two on-ramps which merge onto the highway. A lovely little ballet takes place right at this point that perfectly illustrates the philosophy of Instant Karma. I call it the Parkway Pas de Deux. Someone lets you in the first lane...then you let someone else in line. Then karma rewards you with an opening in the next lane where you graciously leave enough space to let someone else in...and so on, and so on. It's truly a beautiful thing. Everybody gets in. Everybody's happy... that's what she said. 

Come on! You know I had to say it.

Of course Karma works both ways. A funny thing happens when someone is being a dick, hugging the bumper in front of him to prevent a merge. Karma steps in and the dude never gets into the next lane. It's fabulous and oh-so-satisfying. 

So remember the next time you're stuck in bumper-to-bumper traffic...a little courtesy and Karma go along way.

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