February 13, 2008

Learn to Drive!!

Many of you who don't live in DC, and don't know Charlie, may think she leads an exciting, glamorous life. You'd be wrong on many counts, not the least of which is that her commute pretty much sucks.

It especially sucks when it takes six hours. Which is what happened tonight. After a pint with a visiting Aussie colonel, Charlie headed home. It's an easy route: I-95 to I-395, right through the Mixing Bowl.

Just after 3 p.m., Virginia state police reported about 10 accidents near the Springfield Interchange, where I-395, I-95 and the Capital Beltway meet. The interchange's 50 ramps and bridges handle about 430,000 vehicles a day. Within a half-hour, state police said, the number of accident reports spiked to 50, although some of them may be reports of the same accident. They advised drivers to slow down, find alternate routes and clear lanes for emergency vehicles.

"Avoid the Mixing Bowl at all costs,'' said Virginia State Police spokeswoman Corrine Geller, just before the start of the evening rush hour. "It's completely iced over."

Eight hours later it was still at a total standstill. (Let's just say Charlie didn't get the message.) She sat there for five hours (in park, engine off) before a small break opened up for the 395 traffic around 2330. So if you see her asleep at her desk tomorrow, that's why.