Ow! My Foot!

May 2006 - My foot hurts. And, I have no one to blame but PennDOT. It's true. PennDOT, which has mastered the art of being a general pain in the a$$ to the drivers of an entire state, is now a very personal pain in my left foot.

Let's take a step back. On a recent Friday night, about halfway through my shift at work, my left foot began to hurt. The pain was in the ball of the foot. As long as I wasn't walking, I was OK. Well, that particular night was especially crazy. Lots of stuff going on, barely enough people and me doing more walking around than usual. Because I was so busy, I really didn't have time to think about why my foot was hurting. I just knew that every time I took a step – OW!

Somehow, some way, I managed to work through the pain. I made it home safely and went to bed. But, when I got up the next morning – more pain! My foot still hurt and I still had no idea why. I couldn't remember doing anything on Friday that would turn my left foot into a ball of pain.

So, I thought. And, I thought. And, I thought. And, then, it came to me! PennDOT! My foot hurt because of PennDOT. But, it wasn't because of anything PennDOT did on that Friday. No. The offending road project actually happened the day before!

On that Thursday, it seems some bridge along northbound Interstate 81 needed fixing, and the time and place for the repairs coincided with my drive to work, a drive which occurs in a vehicle with a manual transmission. Well, it turns out the backup caused by this repair project was about four miles long. That meant four miles of constant pressure against the ball of my left foot as I rode the clutch to keep the car from stalling in the stalled traffic.

After maybe half an hour of riding the clutch, I finally made it to the actual work site and could see what the PennDOT workers were doing. I spotted four reflective neon green safety vests. The guy wearing one of the vests was standing behind a truck, trying to look busy. A second guy in a vest was pouring water out of a bucket onto the shoulder of the road. And, two other guys in vests were sitting on the barrier watching the guy in the vest who was pouring the water. When I finally got to work, I shared this observation with a man who used to work at PennDOT. He said, "It sounds like they were waiting for the concrete to dry." I kid you not. That's what he said. Four PennDOT workers waiting for concrete to dry.

I just know there's a joke in there somewhere. But, right now, my left foot and I are not laughing.