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June 16, 2018

The blind leading the blind

Yesterday I dragged myself to the eye doctor.  I hate having my pupils dilated.  I hadn’t been in about 3 years.  I can’t see without my contact lenses, and I am quite a sight in my glasses.  So I figured it was time to have a new prescription if necessary.  Sometimes those contact lens ordering online places get all snippy about whether or not you’ve seen an eye doctor in the last few years.  The nerve.  

Reggie is slightly nearsighted.  Three years ago we got him two pairs of glasses that he mostly wore at school to see the board.  I haven’t seen either pair in over a year.  He claims he wore one pair a bit at the beginning of this school year.  That can’t be verified.  I had his eyes checked and got a new prescription so we could get him some new glasses.  Fortunately, his vision hadn’t really changed.

Our appointments started at 3:00 when traffic wasn’t a problem.  Just before 5:00, we were getting on I55 with half of the rest of the population of the Chicagoland area when we saw something unusual.  

The ramp I was on was just beyond this point.
  My Mom later told me that she heard that
cars were backing up down entrance ramps.
 I was like, 'Yeah, I was one of them!'
Cars were backing up down the exit ramp that we had just hopped on.  We were merging from 355 to I55 by way of a long, snakey ramp.  I could see my future traffic compadres on I55 from the ramp and sure as my eyes were majorly dilated, traffic was at a dead standstill.  Swell.

I watched as a couple of cars backed up all the way to the previous expressway and scooted between high speed cars in order to exit at an alternate spot.

A sunny day is a person with dilated
pupils biggest enemies.  I had my
book in the car and would've been OK
passing the time reading, but I couldn't
 see the words with my pupils the
 size of grapefruit.
Reg and I sat there.  It was a very sunny, beautiful day.  I don’t own sunglasses.  Weird, I know.  I don’t like to wear shades.  I was grateful that I had remembered to take the free rolled up fake sunglasses simulation thing that the eye doc hands out to patients with dilated eyes.  I am sure I looked hilarious to fellow drivers.  That didn’t bother me.  I considered it a necessary evil.

I called Coach.  He hadn’t heard about the situation on I55.  I tuned into the news on the radio.  It mentioned right away that there was an accident on I55 that shut down all 3 lanes.  Serious injuries.  Avoid I55 at all cost.  It was like a parking lot.  Coach was prepared to drive the girls to dancing, if I didn’t make it home in time.  

I hated to hear that there were injuries.  I couldn’t help but think about what would have happened if Reg and I hadn’t stopped to chat with the receptionist after our exams.  She is Eddie’s good friend’s mom.  Maybe we would’ve been further along on our trip home?  Maybe we would’ve been right in the thick of things?  Just an unpleasant reminder that things can change in an instant.  

I asked Reg if he would help guide me as I backed up about a mile down the exit ramp. He was sitting on the front seat wearing the kid cardboard sunglasses from the eye doc.  He was all in.  It was like the blind leading the blind - or at least it looked that way.    I’m sure the two of us in our plastic disposable shardes was a reassuring sight to the other stuck drivers that we passed as we reversed past them.

The exit ramp was quite spacious and I had enough room to pass the 20 plus cars that were now stacked up behind us.  It was curvy here and there, so I had to adjust my steering wheel from time to time.  Reg called out once, ‘OK you are getting kind of close over here (to the guardrail).’  I used my mirrors because turning around made the whole situation seem kind of daunting and freaky.  

This was one of those days that I was super grateful that I was driving the red minivan verses the ‘great-white’ (our 12 seater Chevy Express former airport shuttle).  We joke that the minivan is our version of a sports car.  

Other cars had reversed down the ramp ahead of us.  I really wanted to just do a 3 point turn and face the wrong way to drive off the ramp in the forward position.  A few of the cars we passed opted to go the face first route when we were done.  A car behind me REALLY struggled to reverse.  This guy was zigging and zagging all over the place.  He was making me a nervous wreck.  

I was glad when my maneuver was complete.  It turned out fine, but I would not recommend driving a mile down a long, winding exit ramp with MAJORLY dilated pupils on a bright sunny day.

2 comments:

  1. Oh what a mess! I'm glad you made it out okay.

    One note about your slightly nearsighted child - we had one and he also refused to wear his glasses. Even after he got his license...and then promptly began to hit things with the car. Now, he wears his glasses - but only when driving.

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  2. I am a horrible backer-upper. I could not have done that without causing another accident! Sounds like you are a pro at it!!!!! Glad you didn't get stuck in that mess!

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