Friday, July 1

Adventures on the Ohio Turnpike
Part of the peril of driving home from work on the Ohio Turnpike during the summer is that my exit also happens to be the exit for a major outdoor concert venue. Throughout the summer, I am treated to an extra half hour to an hour of drive time home whenever a concert rolls into town.

Last night, I spent about 45 minutes trying to exit the turnpike with several hundred Tom Petty/Black Crowes fans. I didn't know what concert it was until I got home and checked the newspaper to find out what gene pool had driven from Cleveland to get to my little neck of the woods, but I usually like to guess. Last night's crowd was 20 something, frat boy-esque, and also had lots of 20 something blonde chicks in tight shirts and jeans. It was, frankly, a crapshoot. I was leaning toward a blah, innocuous-type pop band such as Three Doors Down. If I see frat boys in tye-die, I know it's either Dave Matthews or some sort of Phishlike band. If I see pickups, Confederate flags and W stickers, I know it's a country performer.

Anyway, in my 45 minute wait on the turnpike ramp, I must have seen about 15 frat boys get out of their cars to pee by the side of the road. They'd all do the same thing. They'd jump out and run about 50 yards closer to the exit ramp, then divert into the woods -- barely. There would be a row of peeing boys all along the side of the road. Then they'd zip up and run back to their car, which by this time had just about caught up with them. In my pregnant, constantly-peeing state, I was hurting, but not desperate enough for a road pee.

My greatest moment of humor was pulling up to the tool booth, where one of my usual booth workers, who I like to refer to as "Mr. Friendly," was collecting. In the adjacent booth, a large bus, painted black and full of 20 somethings, had pulled up. They were blasting some old Poison song and singing along. Mr. Friendly, who in the four years that I have been driving home on the turnpike has maybe grunted out two words to me, gave me a look of "can you believe this?" I really feel like we bonded.

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