Monday, February 15, 2010

Eastbound and down

We were driving home from a weekend mission into the deepest reaches of darkest western Kansas Sunday evening.

The details and purpose of the mission are not germane to this post, its enough to point out that we passed the I-70 East toll plaza at about 17:15 hours for the last stretch to home sweet home. About two minutes and two miles later, I was hitting the brakes1 as traffic was coming to a standstill.

Needless to say, there was some doin's a transpirin'.

We weren't exactly parked on the highway, but we were moving slow enough that no speed was registering on the car's speedometer. After about 5 minutes of barely moving, the ADD kicked in. I decided to do a little recon to pass the time.

Since there was no traffic in the westbound lanes, it was a fair deduction that there was some kind of traffic accident ahead. But where? And when? What caused it? The weather wasn't great, but it wasn't a blizzard either. Were any deaths involved? Any decapitations? Should I watch for rolling noggins along the median?

50 car pileup started by a sticking Toyota accelerator pedal
So many questions, but no answers on the radio. And there's only so much you can deduce when your stuck in your car. Luckily, it was a bout this time that I heard the familiar sonar ping that signals the arrival of a new email on my kickass phone. Since we're not really moving, I start my email app and see that the message is a news alert from KMBC apprising me of a traffic delay on I-70 (no duh!) because of a 50 CAR PILEUP! caused by a flash blizzard whiteout.

I share this intelligence with my Supermodel Wife, who wondered aloud whether the Kansas City Scout system might have any additional details.

So I started up the web browser on my phone/tricorder and typed in the www for the Scout's web page. Before we had driven another 50 feet, I had the latest report in the palm of my hand.

"Major incident," the report read. "West bound I-70 passed K-7 exit. 3 lanes closed..."

There wasn't a lot of detail, but there was one item of importance. The report indicated that authorities expected the lanes to be cleared at 6:36 p.m. I checked the time on my phone/tricorder/chronometer. It was about 5:50 p.m. and the traffic was showing no signs of improving. In fact, a flashing light up ahead was telling all cars to merge left.

So with no other choice but to crawl, passed the time chit chatting and making jokes at the expense of other vehicles on the highway. The big Frito-Lay truck was good fodder puns for a few minutes.

After a while, we began to see a little more room between the cars ahead of us and behind us. We began to move a little faster until, almost without knowing it, we were up to normal highway speed. I checked the clock on the car's console.

6:26 p.m.

It may have been a coincidence, but it was amazing how accurate the Scout system was. And it was amazing how awesome my phone technology was that I could access it. This is what it's like to live in the future.

1. I'm a jackass for misspelling this word before.

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1 comment:

  1. breaks = broken

    brakes = things that stop your car

    /the more you know...


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