Last Thursday morning I had a few errands to run in town so I planned to do them all in quick succession and return to my cozy warm house - maybe even my cozy warm bed. Tucking my overcoat collar up around my face and slipping my hands into my gloves, I left the high school and drove toward our lovely new Court House Annex for my first stop. I was surprised at the number of people out and about on that cold Thursday morning. Maybe we were all taking this opportunity to wear our real winter clothes for the first time in a while. Whatever the reason, every face behind every steering wheel seemed to be totally focused on business. I drove straight up Main Street toward my turn, but found traffic to be sluggish. I couldn’t see why for a long time. Then up ahead I saw the hold up - a train.
No problem. I wasn’t in a hurry.
I glanced at the time - 9:37. Surely I could spend a few idle minutes waiting for the train to move without any major harm to my person or my psyche. I shifted the car into park and looked about me. Just then I saw cars moving and assumed that the train had moved. Not so. Cars had started to turn left toward Hazlehurst or right toward Jesup, looking for ways around the train. I couldn’t tell if they were successful or not because I could see them only for a short way before they disappeared from my range of vision. Nonetheless, traffic eased up and I moved with it.
Feeling a bit smug, I complimented myself on my patience. I saw no sense in driving all over town and wasting my gas to save just a few minutes. The law said that trains could only hold up a major intersection for a short time. Wasn’t that right? Where’d I hear that anyway? I fished in my purse for an emery board and worked on my nails. My nails had needed that for a while, too. Sitting between the carwash and the First Methodist Church, I remembered that my car really needed vacuuming. I did have some quarters that I’d saved for that purpose. It wouldn’t take long. I might even be finished before the train moved.
I glanced at the car’s thermometer—34 balmy degrees. Maybe later.
Ten minutes had now passed and I was now sitting right beside the train. The wheels sat silently, but cars were whizzing all around us. A white Camaro turned right in front of me and sped off toward Jesup. A truck eased up on my left and turned left. Soon I was sitting in heavy traffic, but neither the train nor I moved. Another five minutes passed.
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