Fort McMurray SOS – stuck on 63

By Sherry Duncan

I am a glass half full kind of gal.  When it rains during my summer camping adventures I say things like “better a rainy day camping than a sunny day at work”.  Maybe it’s because of my Saskatchewan roots where I became accustomed to saying “there is always next year Riders”.  Whatever the case may be, I typically look for the silver lining – which can easily be seen as a character flaw by those who know me.  However, even I have been keenly tested the last few weeks as we have crawled down Thickwood or come to a complete standstill on Confed.

There are some drivers who think that their desire to reach their location is more important than my desire to reach my location.  For example little miss red Ranger for example.  After spending 15 minutes crawling down Thickwood, she cruised to the bottom of the lane and stopped just short of taking out the large plastic barrels and expected me to let her in.  I did not.  She got in behind me and then began texting while lighting a cigarette – thus making the hundreds of cars behind her – wait!  Now, I have been known to get in front of a bus or large truck once in a while.  As far as I’m concerned, when you hope to take up space in front of a vehicle, you take the chance that no space will be available and you circle around all the way to Confed and get back in line.

Then there was the black Dodge one tonne truck that clearly passed the traffic on Confed by taking the bypass to Thickwood and then cut off to rejoin 63 with the Thickwood traffic.  Class act sir.

The fun doesn’t stop there folks!

While trying to make my way downtown, I couldn’t help but notice the frontend loader in traffic.  I thought poor guy, until I noticed he was on his flip phone!  Seriously!

Can’t forget the people who want to get into line so bad that they block the traffic going the other way.  Then, when the light turns red and they don’t move – nobody moves.  This kind of – if you can’t move then I can’t move philosophy – is likely what created road rage (which I do not advocate).

Today was the last straw.  I was waiting for one of the trucks to go across 63 and looked over at the guy holding the sign.  I typically try to catch the eye of the worker when I pass to give a smile and a wave (my glass half full personality flaw rearing up again). Remember the dancing sign guy that used to be there? This fellow was standing there with his stop sign while also busily texting, facebooking, tweeting or watching Barney for all I know.   For several valuable moments (okay, 15 seconds perhaps) after the truck had cleared, we all sat waiting for for him to get a clue and turn the sign

So, what is the upside, the silver lining, the glass half full you might want to know?  Well, I have been here long enough to remember a time before the downtown bypass and every morning was a gong show.  A time where we had no tow trucks on standby to clear away accidents during peak hours.  I remember a time before cell phones and texting while driving.  Heck, I even remember a time when drivers used to smile and let you merge when it was your turn.  Ah, the good old days!

Someday, I am told, that this too shall pass. Of course, not before it gets worse.   In the very near future (optimism), we shall all say “I remember when”.  Until that time fellow Fort McMurrayites, please keep in mind that we are all in this together.  Your time is not more valuable than my time.  We are all trying to get to work, home, shopping, sleep or whatever it may be.  Show a little kindness, a little patience and perhaps a little common decency so we get through this together – Sane on 63!