Daily Independent (Ashland, KY)

October 8, 2013

Time for a change of seasons

Cathie Shaffer
The Independent

ASHLAND — There’s an old joke among Ohioans that the state has four seasons: fall, winter, spring and construction. I’ve been reminded of that as I maneuver the land changes and work zones surrounding me over the last couple of months.

I live adjacent to a main street in Ashland that was recently repaved. The work was done at night to keep traffic flowing during the day. That was great for those coming and going.

Not so great for me. We rely on open windows and fans instead of air conditioning during the warm months so I’m accustomed to the normal night noises of town — sirens, brakes squealing, dogs barking, the occasional sound of an overheard argument.

The equipment that milled the road and put down the new asphalt slid into the cacophony of sound quite well.

Except for one piece of equipment.

That one had a beep-beep-beep gizmo that sounds exactly like my alarm clock. So about the time I’d get to sleeping good, that sound would penetrate my little brain and startle me awake. Then I’d look at the clock, sigh and slide back into sleep.

Waking four or five times a night when they started using that thing was annoying, especially when it happened in the middle of a really good dream. But I think it may be preferable to my waking adventures.

I drive to Greenup and back every day from Ashland. I’ve done it so long that I know to the minute how long it takes me from my driveway to the office. Or I did until the roadwork started.

I’ve become accustomed to the one-lane section near Russell where the new bridge is being built. Even if I was unconscious behind the wheel, I think my car would automatically make the shift to the left lane, I’ve done it so many times.

The work on Pond Run Road at Raceland hasn’t been as disruptive as I feared. Yeah, it’s a little harder to get in and out of town, but traffic has basically stayed the same.

So I was startled when a big flashing sign directed me to the left lane shortly before I reached the work zone. I was even more startled by the big silver dually truck that whizzed past me to get to the restriction before me.

I’m still not sure why it was so important that he get to the red light before me. We were the only two vehicles in sight in that lane yet he felt an overwhelming need to cut me off.

As work gets under way to update the medians and turn lanes all through the county on U.S. 23, I find myself glancing in the rear view mirror far more often than usual. I must admit, I am a little nervous out there at times.

Between the blind spots with my mirrors, those line-jumpers and the suicidal deer that decide the perfect time to run is as I’m coming through, I’m not so sure I want to be driving a car until the construction season ends.

I’d invest in a moped except that I remember my dad riding one home from work, hitting a patch of loose road, slamming into the side of a car and winding up with a chin full of gravel.

So I may be in the market for a nice bicycle with safety guards or maybe throw back to my ancestors and just go for a horse and buggy.

CATHIE SHAFFER can be reached at cathieshaffer@zoominternet.net