So… I’m coming back from my physical therapy in Berkeley, I could take the freeway, but instead I like to take the “back way” on city streets. It’s a tangled process to climb up to the Caldecott Tunnel, two lanes merge into one, right only lanes peel off into neighborhoods. You have to choose when to be in the “right” lane in order to avoid stopping at all the lights. A novice might add ten minutes to their travel time by the wrong choice.
I am making all the right moves, legal moves, choosing the left lane at times, avoiding the right turn only lanes… I notice a motorcycle to my right. We are stopped at the light, but her lane will turn into a right only lane once we get across the intersection. Not many people use that lane so I expect that the motorcycle will cut over in front of me, so I move carefully when the light turns green. To my surprise the motorcycle stays in the right lane all the way to the point where you must turn right, but then it cuts over to my lane. Very unexpected. Very illegal!
I was planning to let the motorcycle go in front of me, now it is seven cars in front of me. In terms of the cycle of traffic lights, it is now fives minutes in front of me. In terms of “the plan”, the driver, through force of will, is not where it’s supposed to be. It’s five minutes sooner!
I thought about this, and just yesterday I was behind a slow truck. I was heading to the same tunnel and I didn’t want to breathe diesel fumes in the tunnel, so I made several legal lane changes to put myself at a distance ahead of the truck. After the tunnel there was some sort of a traffic jam that slowed my progress. I again shifted a few lanes and got myself clear, only to find that I was once again behind that diesel truck.
Temporarily I was ahead of myself by five minutes, then I was back in sync behind the truck until my freeway exit. I hit the downtown at exactly 10:15, the roads were clear, I made it to my driveway safely about ten minutes later. I wonder what I would have encountered if I was five minutes earlier? I wonder if the motorcycle made it to the destination safely? Or is she now hours ahead of herself?