I’m getting used to the complete lack of urgency in Portland traffic. And I thought I’d seen it all. Yet last week I came across something here while driving to work that I’ve never seen anywhere.
I was driving along highway 26, a divided highway that serves as a major artery to Portland’s western suburbs and then continues on to the coast. I came across a big traffic jam as the highway shrank from three to two westbound lanes. Eventually, I was able to see a car stopped in the left-hand lane, forcing all traffic to merge together in the right lane to get around the vehicle.
This isn’t so unusual, I thought. Traffic accidents and vehicle breakdowns happen all the time, everywhere. I patiently waited as traffic inched by the car. As I came alongside the “disabled” vehicle, though, the driver did something (I really think he put something down), put his car in gear and drove off.
To all outward appearances, the driver and passenger were just stopped in the passing lane of a major highway reading their map or something, while traffic backed up for miles behind them. I’ve considered the possibility that they did actually have a breakdown and eventually managed to start the car, but it sure looked like the guy just put it in gear and took off.