Tuesday, September 07, 2004

Long Weekend = Long Post

There was some mild adventure and plenty of leisure over the course of this long Labor Day weekend, but no actual labor. There was also plenty of football. That's how a long weekend should be, no matter what we're supposed to be celebrating.

The biggest adventure by far was the after-work commute on Friday. I was heading down to Centerville (south of Dayton) for Troy's football game that night, with a stop in Piqua to pick up my friends Amy and Doug. Centerville is a pretty long way from Toledo, and I knew traffic would be heavy for the long weekend, so I took off work an hour early in hopes of making it to the game on time.

I thought I could avoid some heavy traffic by starting early, but apparently a lot of people had the same idea that I did, because there were a lot of vehicles on the road even at 4:00. Traffic was a mess. I-475 and I-75 were moving along generally around ten miles under the speed limit, with too many people cruising in the passing lane (one of my biggest pet peeves), using their brakes for no apparent reason, and just being not too intelligent in general. Then it started to rain, which made things worse.

Still, I wasn't all that concerned. This was exactly why I had left work an hour early, and there still shouldn't have been any problem making it to Centerville in time for the game. Then, just like last week, interstate traffic came to a complete stop.

There had been a lot of unnecessary braking all afternoon, so I didn't think too much of it when the SUV in front of me started braking. I started slowing down, then realized traffic wasn't just slowing down, it was stopping. I put on my own brakes so I could stop as well. It was lucky for me that I had plenty of distance from the vehicle in front of me, because it was at that point that I was rear-ended.

In truth, it turned out to be nothing more than a tap. It jolted my car forward pretty good, though, so I had no idea at first how severe it was. I pulled off to the side of the road, as did the car that hit me, and I got out to go make sure everyone was okay. As I walked back, I looked at the front of the car that hit me and saw no damage or markings at all, and I took that as a good sign. The girl who hit me was a little shaken up, but she and her passenger were both fine--it wasn't a very hard impact at all, as it turns out. We looked at the back of my car, which had some white scrapes, probably from her license plate, but nothing worth worrying about. We both got back into our cars and pulled back into traffic.

The traffic was still in stop-and-go mode, so I inched forward a little at a time for half an hour or so. At that point I realized I was going to be late, perhaps severely, if I didn't do something. I pulled out my handy road atlas and found an alternate route I could use if I could just make it to the next exit. Normally I wouldn't do this, but I justified it since I was only going to the exit, which wasn't far away: I pulled over into the right shoulder and bypassed the traffic jam that way. As it turned out, there was an accident just before the exit, and that was what was causing the holdup. Instead of getting off at the exit, I ended up nosing my way back into traffic and staying on the interstate, since that was where the bottleneck ended. I felt pretty bad about doing that, but at that point it was too late for me to take it back.

From there it was smooth sailing. I ended up getting to Doug and Amy's house at 6:30 instead of 6:00 as we originally planned, but otherwise it was fine. We left immediately for Centerville, and got there with no further drama. We did end up missing a little bit of the first quarter, but unfortunately we did get to see each touchdown Centerville laid upon our beloved Trojans.

When the beating was over, we went back to their house for a while. I watched a show called Decisive Battles with Doug, which was pretty cool--it's a show on the History Channel which uses video game technology to re-enact historical battles. After that the three of us watched the local high school football highlight show, and then I headed to my parents' house in Troy for the night.

I was pretty tired at this point, so I didn't stay up for very long at all. There was some pizza left over from my parents' dinner, so I ate some of that while I talked to Mom and hung out with my dog Cupid. Then I went to bed.

I got up early on Saturday morning (8:40 a.m.) because Dad wanted me to do some work on his old computer before I left, and I wanted to be back to Bowling Green by noon at the latest. I got up and started trying to work on the computer, to find out gradually that it was to no avail. I think the hard drive may have gone bad in the months the computer has been idle, as all the error messages I got indicated a problem writing to the disk. I tried several different approaches, though, and none of them worked.

I eventually gave it up as a lost cause and just told Dad he'd have to get it worked on professionally if he wanted to get it back in working order. I talked to him and Mom for a few more minutes, and then headed out of town.

I got back to Bowling Green just after noon, right as the BGSU-Oklahoma game was kicking off. McComas and his girlfriend Charissa came over, along with their baby Kiersten, to watch the game on TV with Brandi and me. My mom had made some taco dip and some cupcakes for me to bring back, and that went over quite well. It was fun to hang out and watch the game. Even the baby was pretty amusing, and that's coming from someone who generally dislikes babies.

BG lost the game 40-24 but looked pretty good doing it, if that makes any sense. Oklahoma is ranked #2 in the nation, and they're absolutely loaded. The stars would have had to align perfectly for the Falcons to pull the upset. They didn't, but there was no shame in losing to a team as good as Oklahoma, especially since we managed to keep it relatively close (we lost by 16, but Vegas had the spread at 31). The best part of the game was the emergence of sophomore quarterback Omar Jacobs, who has the makings of a superstar. This was his first start, and to do it in front of such a large and hostile crowd against such a good team was a major test. He passed it with flying colors. He kept his head and played with poise in the face of significant pressure--he did not get sacked or throw any interceptions all game long, while connecting on a couple of touchdown passes. He's going to be a hell of a lot of fun to watch, and his performance gives me great hopes for Bowling Green's chances in the MAC this season.

McComas and Charissa (and Kiersten) took off shortly after the game was over, and Brandi and I headed in for a nap. I was really tired after getting up so early, and Brandi was tired even after sleeping until noon.

We got up later in the evening and got ready and headed out to BW3 to eat and have a few drinks. We hung out there for a while, where we saw the end of LSU's narrow overtime victory over Oregon State and a good portion of BYU's win over Notre Dame. From there we headed to Downtown, where we continued drinking while just hanging out and people-watching. Brandi ran into an old friend and chatted for a while, which was cool. We ended up meeting up with McComas and his brother Matt and heading upstairs to Uptown. We danced for a while, but it was so hot in there that it was actually foggy from perspiration. Brandi and I sat down for a few minutes until McComas and Matt were ready to go, and then I drove them home.

It should be noted at this point that, although I had been drinking for several hours, I was not feeling any effects of alcohol by the time I drove home. It had been a while since my last drink at that point, and I didn't feel much in the first place. I'm not sure where my high tolerance comes from--I drank two Malibu & cokes, three Smirnoff Triple Blacks, and had three shots, but felt very little effect. In some respects that's good--being able to drive home at the end of the night is one benefit, although Saturday night was pleasant and a walk would have been fine--but sometimes it's fun to get a little buzz going, and alcohol can get expensive.

Sunday was the most low-key day of the weekend. I slept a little later than Brandi did, and then we went out and did a few things after I got up. We stopped on the BGSU campus on the way home in the hopes that the University Bookstore would be open--I'm looking for a new BGSU polo shirt I can wear to work--but it was not. We did eat at the Wendy's in the Student Union, though. Brandi started watching a chick flick on TV when I got back, and I started feeling sleepy, so I turned in for a nap. When I woke up a while later, Brandi was asleep. I got up and played some PlayStation football and did some reading. After she got up we did some laundry and watched TV. She went back to bed a short time later, and I stayed up to play more PlayStation football and do more reading.

Brandi had to work on Monday, Labor Day, but I was home for the holiday. I slept in, then got up and hit the PlayStation. I pretty much just chilled out until Brandi got home from work in the late afternoon. We hung out for a little bit, then got ourselves ready and went out for dinner at Olive Garden. The food wasn't as good as it usually is there, but it was nice to go out for a nice dinner--we hadn't really done that for a while. I outdid myself in smoothness when I ordered a "laspberry remonade" to drink. We stopped at Wal-Mart afterwards to pick up a few things, then went home to do more laundry and watch a little bit of The Fellowship of the Ring.

Oh, and one other note from the weekend: my car, perhaps upset about being whacked, started acting up again. It did it a little bit immediately after being hit, then a little bit more as I started back to BG on Saturday morning, then a bit more on the way to Olive Garden yesterday. Today it has been fine. This drives me crazy. Oh well--if it can last at least a few more months, hopefully I'll get to a point where I can think about replacing it.

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