By Ken DeLaat
“Patience is the calm acceptance that things can happen in a different order than the one you have in mind.” -David Allen
As has been told often enough it is indeed construction time in our bi-peninsular paradise and one of the first highlights of the road repair season will be the Monday May 7th onset of the road work between Newaygo and Grant on M-37.
What are they doing? Milling and filling apparently, which means grinding up the road, removing the debris and repaving the road. It’s a more permanent fix that trying to stuff asphalt into random potholes that never seem to go away and delivers a more uniform driving surface.
I’m all for it. Roads in our state have become noticable and it’s not for the smoothness of the ride. If you spend some time on ‘37 and turn off any music or talk radio the pounding rhythm of the wheels as they meet the ruts and loosened seams of the road is more than mildly annoying and sometimes a bit jarring as well.
This holds all the promise of an extended period of time where just one lane is available from M-82 south to Grant. I imagine we will all become well acquainted with the someone (well, two someones) who, stop/slow sign in hand, will be directing us as to when it might be allowed to continue our journey with a parade-like wave of the arm.
This of course can create issues for folks who might be running late and in lieu of blaming themselves tend to focus their irritation on the road workers, the sign turners, the people who drive insanely slow and the gods of travel for being adversarial.
So let’s be fair. Most times if you’re running late you’re likely one of those folks who perpetually does so.
And primarily because if there exists a sliver of time between the moment at hand and the time when you must depart given the absolute bare minimum of what it takes to get to your destination...?
You fill it.
A quick email, a last cup of coffee a quick change of shoes perhaps. Because you see, once upon a time on a day when everything went perfect including traffic lights, road conditions, other people’s driving, etc. it took X amount of time to get there so now that has become the time you’ve allotted as adequate.
You could solve this by consistently adding minutes to your travel time, but really, that’s just not going to happen is it?
So, look you’re generally a little late anyway so other people, even those annoyed by the chronicity of your tardiness, expect it. They might even tell you a different meeting time in anticipation of your tendency to be challenged by punctuality.
Just take a breath and realize you’re going to get to that meeting just a little late.
Others just hate to wait. For anything. It becomes personal and again the result is a rather restive road warrior piqued to anger by the slightest provocation.
This is an optimal time to impact the road rage epidemic by presenting a kinder and gentler approach to this drive delaying disruption. Use the down time well and if bored develop a hobby like counting the cars passing by before your end starts moving again or maybe cleaning out the console or even seriously checking out the landscape at a spot you never considered you’d be sitting at for so long.
The truth? Everyone wants new roads and no one likes to be inconvenienced.
Ok. Human nature. Got it.
But starting tomorrow and extending several weeks prepare to be slowed down and considerably slowed down during peak times. Of course as we all know traffic at all and any times gets goosed up pretty good once summer hits its stride so get ready for the weekly northbound Friday motorcade on ‘37 to parallel the pace of the average sloth.
But hey, let’s be a little patient out there. No one is trying to make your life more difficult than it might already be and as George Washington yells at the horn honking driver in the commercial, “Alright, alright, we’re all trying to get somewhere.”
Take heart that when it's done there will be another stretch of road that will give us less rhythm and subsequently, less blues.
And besides, this minor inconvenience is just practice for what lies ahead,you know.
Starting just after Memorial Day I believe, and hopefully when the aforementioned project has wrapped up, Grant will be having a summer-long disruption of normal traffic patterns as they get a major makeover with traffic to be diverted around the entire town.
“Patience is bitter, but its fruit is sweet.” -Aristotle