I don't like to get up early, especially on Saturday, I don't do nice things for the community and I'm not a big fan of nature. Yet, somehow, I found myself at the corner of Africa hot (yes, it is Africa hot even at 9:00 a.m. in Southeast Texas), mosquito infested, Martin Luther King Parkway and East Virginia at 7:30 a.m. as a volunteer traffic director for the first annual Spindletop Spin.
I was on the return path of the bikers and my job was to stop cross traffic at my intersection so the cyclists could make it safely home to live another day. I decided I would stand in the middle of the overpass above the parkway and watch for the riders as they made their exit onto the access road which runs beside the parkway. When bikers finally came into view, I quickly learned I had another job. A young boy, about thirteen or fourteen years old, missed the exit for the access road and was riding his bike down the busy parkway.
I had two fears. The first, and most important, was that the boy would be squashed. The second was that all of the cyclists behind him would follow him onto the parkway and I would be responsible for all of them getting squashed. Oh, the humanity. So, I started yelling at him from the overpass. Luckily, he heard me. He turned around, now going the wrong way up the parkway, and safely made it to the access road.
My friend Darlene, whose spot was on the outgoing leg of the bicycle route, joined me after the last cyclists passed her post. As we stood in the middle of the overpass I was gesturing like a good Cajun as I told her about the boy missing the exit and suddenly realized that the drivers below could see me wildly waving my orange flag above them. I can't imagine what kind of dangers they thought the girl in the Ramones cowboy hat and orange safety vest was trying to warn them about.
At one point a policeman came by and asked if we needed anything and Darlene said she needed to go to the bathroom. He told her to get in and off they went. Darlene looked oddly natural in the backseat of that patrol car and I told her so. After she went 10-20, she came back and helped me direct traffic. She was much better at it than me using crisp flag signals rather than my hesitant little hand motions and half-hearted flag wiggling. At one point, she even waved a patrol car, which had it's lights flashing (!), to stop. The girl has balls.