Thursday, October 1, 2009

Chronicles of A Left Turn at Albuquerque, continued

For people who regularly drive through The Big City -- and by that I mean any large city -- such a worry will seem very petty and foolish. Remember that I am from the equivalent of a cow town that just grew too big for its britches.

Our interstate system is very straightforward with no loops, even though one has been talked about for over 30 years. We have few "mixmasters", and all were built within the last two decades. We do not have too much in the way of lanes coming and going, where if you get caught in the wrong lane on the interstate, you end up off the interstate and on a totally different highway or interstate than what you intended.

While it is easy enough to get lost on our surface streets if you don't know the names change when you cross major intersections, it is just about impossible to get lost if you stick to the interstate. Our major traffic rules are to remember that little blue haired ladies with huge cars have the right of way no matter what and avoid the roads with lots of doctor's offices if you can. The blue hairs tootling off to the doctor just don't move as fast as they used to.

Houston is real traffic, real driving. Give no quarter, have no mercy, show no fear driving. Get caught in the wrong lane and you are lost, on a different road, heading in a direction you did not want.

So of course I got to Houston just at lunch time, and because I hesitated to get off just a bit too long for a potty break, getting lost was just a matter of time.

I tried the theory that if you stick to a more middle lane you can usually stay on the interstate. It doesn't work. I saw that there is a 3 digit interstate in Houston (yes, we have that where I live, and where I grew up) and that the first number is even, so yes, I know that means sooner or later it hooks back up to the one it breaks off from. None of it helped.

Two things I learned getting lost in Houston. First, no mistake is fatal. I've known that for a long time, that you can usually turn around, ask for directions, get back on going the right way quickly. This simply confirmed it. I was not all that lost, as the manager of the WhatABurger where I ended up stopping when my bladder gave in and got me to pull over pointed out. Get back on this street, take a left under that overpass, follow the signs back onto the interstate.

The second was that WhatABurger actually does have one of those salads that the big boxes usually have. They can do rather well in a pinch, and this one did, especially as I rounded it out with a banana and some dried fruit.

Today is:

Agriculture Fair Day

Armed Forces Day, South Korea

Christmas Seal Campaign begins

Day of the Caudillo, Spain

Grey Day

Feast of Penha, Brazil (Lasts the entire month of October.)

Feast of St. Therese of Lisieux (patron of florists, foreign missions, France, pilots; against tuberculosis)

Festival de la Primavera, Peru

Fides -- Old Roman Calendar (goddess of faithfulness)

Fire Pup Day

Independence Day, China, Cyprus, Hungary, Nigeria

International Day of Older Persons, UN

Kalends of October

Magic Circles Day

Pudding Season begins (Time to preserve meat from slaughtering for the winter by making meat puddings.)

St. Remigius' Day

St. Romanos' Day

St. Theresa of the Child Jesus' Day

Tuvalu National Holiday

Universal Children's Day

Unification Day, Cameroon

US Fiscal Year begins (Why in October?)

World Vegetarian Day

Birthdays Today:

Mark McGwire, 1963
Randy Quaid, 1950
Julie Andrews, 1935
Richard Harris, 1932
George Peppard, 1928
Tom Bosley, 1927
Jimmy Carter, 1924
James Whitmore, 1921
Walter Matthau, 1920
Bonnie Parker, 1910
Vladimir Horowitz, 1903
Henry III, King of England, 1207

Today in History:

Alexander the Great defeats Darius III of Persia, BC331
The Russian Parliament accepts the annexation of the Ukraine, 1653
First session of the new French legislative assembly is held, 1791
Spain cedes Louisiana to France in a secret treaty, 1800
Maria Mitchell discovers a non-naked-eye comet, 1847
A cyclone strikes Calcutta, India, killing 70,000, 1864
Karl Marx' "Das Kapital" is published, 1867
The world's first postcards are issued, in Vienna, Austria, 1869
John Philip Sousa becomes the new director of the USMC Band, 1880
The USPS begins special delivery mail service, 1885
National Geographic Magazine publishes Issue 1 Vol. 1, 1888
Arab forces under T.E. Lawrence, a/k/a Lawrence of Arabia, capture Damascus, 1918

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