One of those days

I’m sure you’ve had one of those mornings where nothing goes right on the way into work. OK, you’ve probably had many of those mornings.

I had one on Monday — and of course, that was a day when I absolutely had to be at work on time.

Baltimore Harbor Tunnel tollbooth, photo by multimedia journalist and environment reporter Pamela Wood.
Ooops, this is NOT where my morning commute is supposed to take me.

I was filling in on police-fire-mayhem duty for our morning deadline. I got an early start by checking my email from home, typing up a couple news briefs and e-mailing them to myself. I figured that would save me time later, and it sure did.

On Monday morning, there were torrential downpours, apparently concentrated around the Anne Arundel-Baltimore City line, which is exactly where I had to drive!

As I drove along a little spur of I-895 (Harbor Tunnel Throughway) that I take every day, the rain was so bad that I pulled over for refuge under an overpass. Visibility was so poor and handling was tricky, almost like driving in falling snow with snow already on the ground.

I took a few minutes to wait it out and then decided to go for it.

Then I saw my exit ramp.

There was a ton of standing water and the car ahead of me plowed through the murky water, sending huge sprays of water splashing up. All the years of writing in my stories warnings from firefighters not to drive through high water came back to me. I did not want to end up in my newspaper!

Unfortunately, my exit is the last one before the toll plaza. Ugh.

So I stopped at the next overpass and did some reporting and once again, my iPhone was my saving grace.

I got on the line with the Fire Department for some mayhem updates and typed up that info, added it to what I had written earlier and sent it off to my editor.

By then, the rain had eased up, so I tried to complete the rest of my disastrous commute. At this point, I was actually just a few miles from my house and about 15 miles from the police station, where I was supposed to be.

I had to drive to the toll plaza, and just my luck, I didn’t have the $2 in cash for toll, so I was given a paper describing how to pay online. The toll-taker took pity on my and gave me a freebie pass for the return trip, and showed me how to turn around without having to go through the tunnel.

As I got off of 895, I hit backups again. This time, it was a four-car fender bender on southbound Interstate 97 and a giant puddle slowing traffic and drawing attention on the northbound side of Interstate 97.

I pulled over on the shoulder, snapped an iPhone photo of the giant puddle and finally made my way to the police station. I got there 45 minutes later than I had planned. But I was able to squeeze out some more police beat items and contribute to a weather story before deadline.

Whew. What a start to the week.

Interstate 97 traffic, photo by multimedia journalist and environment reporter Pamela Wood.
Traffic slows on Interstate 97 northbound to pass a giant pool of standing water during rush hour.
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