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Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

It took Ol’ Robbo almost exactly four hours to get home from his office to Port Swiller Manor this evening, a distance of something like 14 miles altogether.  I believe this is a personal record for me.  Certainly I could have walked it fairly comfortably in that time.  I could also have handily driven to Pittsburgh, either of the Elder Gels’ schools, or to the top of the GW Bridge in Noo Yawk (with a pit stop at Delaware House, to boot).

Evidently, a tanker truck flipped over in my quadrant of the Beltway early in rush hour.  The system around here is just adequate enough to handle the ordinary flow of traffic.  When there’s a super-abundance or else a blockage at one of the many choke-points, the whole thing can go sideways in a hurry.

You would think Ol’ Robbo would be a jangle of strained nerves and seething anger after such an ordeal.  Certainly Mrs. R was expecting it when I got home.  But you would be mistaken.

For one thing, by great good fortune, not only had I topped up my gas tank this morning, I also got a large (as opposed to regular) size sammich at Potbelly’s for lunch, and stopped by the restroom before leaving my office.  So there were no especial, ah, material concerns to worry me.

For another, though, as I sat slooooowly making my way toward the river crossing, I found myself aware of great reservoirs of calm and patience inside.  I saw other drivers losing it around me, but for my part, I just watched the very pretty sunset, listened to the local mockingbirds, tried to be as courteous as possible to fellow stuckees, and let it all slide on by.

Our Padre has been hammering the theme of the Prayer Life for some weeks now during his homilies, particularly the importance of morning prayer as a means by which to put things in perspective (God first, others second, self third, to borrow the motto of the Gels’  summah Bible-thumper camp) before confronting the day.  Ol’ Robbo has been working particularly hard on this as part of his Lenten exercises, and it seems to be paying off.  As I say, I remained quite at peace.  And now that I’m home, I feel no inclination whatever to use the experience as an excuse to break my fast and have a “hardship” glass of wine.  (Well, okay, maybe a little inclination.  But still a surmountable one.)

It also probably helps that tomorrow is my off day, that it’s going to be quite warm, and that I get to try out my brand-new spreader to weed and feed the yard, which I’ve been looking forward to for some weeks now.

UPDATE:  Turns out Youngest got caught in the maelstrom, too.  Took her an hour to get home from school.  Took her two hours to get back to school for softball (which, fortunately, just consisted of cheering on the varsity game).  Our Baby’s first traffic jam!  She was incensed after crawling all the way to her usual Beltway crossing to discover that it had been closed and she was detoured back almost to where she had started.  Welcome to Life, kiddo….

 

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