March 12, 2012
By Jordan W. Charness; photo courtesy IAmBilly.com
It was a Sunday: one of those cold, dreary and dark winter days without even a hint of sunshine. It was the type of day that can wipe the smile off your face and rob you of the good mood you normally have on the weekend.
Peter woke up at 7 am, even though he had intended to sleep in. Once he was up, his wife Mary told him that today was the day he could finally attack all those household chores that had been waiting for him for months.
He had a choice of repairing the leaky faucet, cleaning the carpets, painting the guest room, and other chores. About the only good thing about this list of chores was that it would necessitate a trip to the hardware store, always a good place for a guy like Peter to kill a couple of hours looking at the latest tools and gadgets, some of which he could even buy and probably never use.
Peter hopped into his car and headed off to the store. Being a Sunday, traffic was light, but the roads were not cleaned from the previous day’s light snowfall. As he took his normal route to the store, he came upon a sign that said “Detour: Road Closed.” It was just a little sign on a post stuck in the middle of the road, without any barrier really stopping you from going through. Peter looked down the road and it seemed perfectly clear to him.
Peter decided that the road could not have been closed for construction because he really did not see anybody working on the road. Of course, being a Sunday it was not likely that road crews would be out in a non-emergency situation. Peter did see some wooden barriers about halfway down the road, but was pretty sure that he could squeeze by them. Besides, they did not seem to be protecting anything. The whole road looked smooth and lightly snow-covered, just like every other road he had driven on that morning.
Peter put the car in gear and zipped down the road. As he came to the wooden barriers, he slowed down and manoeuvred the car around them. Just as he passed the barrier, his car fell into the hole where the road crews had been working. The hole was only about 8 inches deep, but it was long and wide and filled with gravel and other loose bits of construction material, including some sharp bits of metal that immediately punctured all four tires.
Peter’s car came to an immediate stop as all the air whooshed out of his tires. Since there was no way that he was going to be able to get out of the mess by himself, he had to call a tow truck. And, as it was a Sunday, and there was no real emergency, it took the tow truck about an hour to get to him.
Along with the tow truck came a police car and a police officer who wanted to know why Peter had ventured down a road that was marked closed. Peter’s excuse that, “it looked okay to him,” did not overly impress the officer. He was given a ticket for failing to obey a sign. It could’ve been worse.
In all provinces there are rules against driving into a construction zone that is marked closed. If there are construction workers working there at the time, the penalties could be much more severe. As it was, Peter only had to pay for a minor ticket and, of course, the cost of four new tires and a tow.
The only bright side for Peter was that he had a legitimate excuse for not doing all those household chores. On the other hand, there’s always next Sunday.