Saturday, April 26, 2008

Charlottesville, can you waste any more of my time?

Our smallish college town is fond of hosting festivals and events that are really too large for the infrastructure to handle, and we're also inclined to schedule them all on the same day. Last night Ron and I high-fived each other because we only had one small item on the Saturday schedule--getting Annamarie to horseback riding. It's a beautiful 32-mile drive through Virginia countryside out to the farm where she rides, and we pass through picturesque Crozet, Virginia. Crozet doesn't have any stoplights, but there is a four-way stop in the heart of town. Today our country radio station was doing a live remote from the BP station there, featuring $2.99 gas (the going price around here currently averages about $3.50). Traffic on the two-lane road was backed up for several miles. We waited for 29 minutes to get through the intersection, by which time we had missed half of horseback riding, and we were still 15 minutes away.

Brilliant navigator that I am, I decided to head back to town by another route, which led me directly into Foxfield Races traffic. This legendary event draws approximately 23000 attendees, many of them university students and nearly all of them falling down drunk. Foxfield is no Kentucky Derby, but the undergraduates treat it as if it is, sporting their finest sundresses and floppy hats (for the girls), and oxford cloth and seersucker (for the boys). A dismaying number of them will be arrested for public intoxication. (I SO would have been there 20 years ago.) So there I was in standstill traffic AGAIN, and it had turned into a 5-mile-long lawn party, with everyone piling out of their cars, mojitos and mint juleps in hand. But I had no drinks, there was a ten-year-old in the back seat, and I had to pee.

I eventually got turned around and headed for the interstate, hoping to bypass the traffic and get Annamarie to her favorite bagel place for a consolation lunch. A block from the restaurant we were detoured by street closings due to the Dogwood Festival Parade. I started to laugh at the ridiculousness of the situation: We had been gone from home for 2 hours and had gone exactly nowhere. I stopped laughing immediately because I was risking wetting myself.

We did finally get a potty break and lunch, and I may never leave the house again.

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