I love those Linebrook Road construction guys. I want to grab every single one of them and kiss them. Of course they would not likely regard this as a kindness. But I do wish I could somehow express my gratitude.
Linebrook Road was a neck-snapping nightmare, a rack-and-pinion-wrecking moonscape. But then, with astonishing speed, the road gods did their demolition and prep work — whatever it is that road-building people do — and swiftly laid down a beautiful, smooth new river of pristine black asphalt.
Only days before, life was wretched. In the earliest phases of construction, my body quickly learned that it was going to be pitched, yanked, knocked about like a crash-test dummy as my vehicle navigated the treacherous work zone. Soon I was so conditioned to the trauma, I couldn’t even control my own visceral responses: Approaching the construction area, my butt clenched involuntarily, as if to protect my innards from being splattered on impact.
But now, life is beautiful! Sailing along Linebrook Road toward town, my little car is like a clipper on the bay, the wind whooshing down off Marini Hill to loft me toward Lord’s Square.
Of course, all this joy has its costs. And I’m not just talking about the $3 million we approved for the Linebrook redesign. I’m talking about cops. This is a Jaws moment: We’re gonna need a bigger force. The temptation to exceed the speed limit is now virtually too great for human resistance. Linebrook Road is delicious. It’s a black-topped slalom. It begs you to go fast.
These days, I find myself — a long-time practitioner of speed-limit compliance — taking Linebrook at record speeds, yet all the while screaming silently to myself: “Slow down, fool!” If memory serves, there’s a sign somewhere in the vicinity of 120 Linebrook that says “SLOW CHILDREN,” but I’m generally moving too fast to read it. I somehow recall a Catholic church at about Pineswamp, but all I see now is a huge tan blur, as if I’m Harrison Ford jumping into hyperspace, but without the paycheck.
We’re going to need more cops, I think, or the bodacious new Linebrook Road is going to be like an oversized video game, with vehicles streaming back and forth faster than us tired old folks can possibly track. And after GAME OVER, you don’t get another life.
I felt very badly for officer Ted LeMieux, the Ipswich policeman directing construction traffic and accidentally struck by a Peterbilt truck loaded with hot top. The driver was mortified, the officer had emergency surgery, and initial reports indicated that it was simply an unfortunate accident. I truly hope so. But I must confess to feeling a bit of perverse relief that it wasn’t one of us Ipswich civilians who bonked the cop. It coulda been me. It probably coulda been you. I’m tellin’ ya, insurance company computers are recalculating like crazy, and any day now we’re going to hear that Ipswich have been declared a high-risk group. All because of that beaucious new ribbon of road called Linebrook!
There could be an upside to all this, however. More cops, more speeding tickets, more cash in Town coffers? Picture this: Instead of that one lonely police officer we often see lying in wait on the parking lot at Our Lady of Hope, there could be a whole squadron of them: rows and rows of official black sedans and SUVs, ready to roar down the revenue road. I figure every new traffic cop could be worth a couple thousand times his weight in traffic citations. This changes everything. One new school or two? Heck, we’ll build one each in all four precincts — all paid for by speeders. The ones who survive the crashes, I mean.
Cops or no, let’s slow down.
And if you see me out there speeding, you have my permission to honk — flash your lights — yell — gesture rudely — throw fruit — something, anything. Somehow, please, get my attention. Before I squash one of those “SLOW CHILDREN.”