Last Sunday, I brought the awesome kiddo named THE EMSTER back to college, which is about five hours away in normal driving times. But last Sunday was not normal driving times. Last Sunday was a day where:
1. A train derailed in Brooklyn killing people.
2. There was a 70-car pile up in Worcester, Mass.
3. About 50 cars went off the road on the turnpike I was driving on.
4. It took eight hours to get home instead of five.
And I was feeling pretty good about the whole thing. I got the Emster down to college without going off the road or even slipping. I got out of Cambridge, Mass. without getting stuck in traffic any where. But once I was back in Maine, things got crazy again. It sleeted. It rained. It snowed. It hailed. It wasn't super bad weather, really, but it wasn't nice. The first few cars I came across all had tow trucks or state troopers helping them. Then there was the guy in the pick-up truck who was in the center median. His front grill was smashed into trees. I pulled over and so did another guy in a truck. I ran across the highway, which was kind of fun because it was like that old video game FROGGER and since I wasn't flattened by any semis, I totally made it to the next level. I tried to remember all my first aid. But the guy in the smashed-up pickup was totally fine and already calling for help. I got back in the car and drove more.
Another state-trooper covered accident.
Another accident without a trooper. But they were okay, too.
And then there was the Maine State trooper car that was smashed up, which seemed like a kind of bad sign.
And then there was a sudden stopping of all the cars on the highway.
"It is the apocalypse," I texted once the car was stopped. "Or maybe just an accident."
My friend texted back, "BE ALERT FOR ZOMBIES!"
And I wondered if he meant real zombies or people who become zombie like when a turnpike turns into a parking lot.
According to the truck driver in the Ames Hardware Store 18-wheeler, who was the source of all turnpike knowledge, there was a multi-car pile-up and we would be stopped for about an hour. That hour became two. Which was totally okay with me because it's nice to not be dead or have your car off the road.
And it seemed to kind of be okay with everyone. People got out of their cars, stepped into a darkness only illuminated by headlights. They stretched. They made friends. They walked into the woods in the middle of the highway and stumbled out again. Okay. That reminded me of zombies, honestly. They talked.
At one point, the truck driver came out of his truck with a mallet/sledgehammer type thing, which was kind of freaky, but he just used it to smash snow or something off his tires.
At one point, a woman sang Christmas carols off key as she walked between the cars. Thankfully, she stopped. This reminded me that one nice thing about a zombie apocalypse is a lack of off-key singing because zombies don't sing. Score one for zombies, honestly.
At one point, a man came around offering water bottles. They were not spiked with zombie virus. They were just Poland Spring water bottles.
People turned off their cars. People eventually stopped texting. People talked to each other (and not just about the off-key caroler, I swear). They talked about being stuck in the dark and the snow. They talked about their trips, their destinations, whether or not they should turn off their cars to save gas.
And at one point, cars started moving and everyone who was out of their cars sprinted back, which was humorous because the road way was slippery.
And then we all moved again, past tow trucks, past the accident scene, past other accidents, and home.
I kind of miss those people and Mr. Truckdriver (who would be totally handy in a real apocalypse) and I really hope the people in the accident weren't hurt, but what I love is how kind all these strangers on the turnpike were to each other and how quickly community can be built if you want it to be.
*SCORE! TWO BLOGS IN ONE DAY! - I feel all triumphant. *