Tuesday, January 17, 2006

I called WTOP's traffic line, and yes, I'm a loser

Sure, WTOP is hard to listen to these days with there "read straight from a PR release" stories, annoying chatter, and even more annoying laughter. Nevertheless, its saving grace is the traffic report on the 8's that I always catch. While driving along Canal Road on Thursday morning, I came upon a broken down car in the left lane. Being the considerate rush hour driver that I am (unless you cut me off when I didn't leave you enough space), I called WTOP's traffic line and reported the quickly building delay. Five minutes later, everyone in the DC metro area knew of my call. You're welcome.

Sure her laugh and banter with WTOP's anchors makes me want to change the station, but when it's the only reliable report in town, you make sacrifices.

Then, proving that I'm not a 2006 one-hit wonder (as I've called a few times in the past), I called again today after learning about a stalled car on Canal Road just after the Chain Bridge. When I got to the site, the car had been moved to the left so I did my patriotic duty and called the traffic line again and spoke with one of Lisa Baden's peeps and got my message across. She and the morning anchors are way too bubbly and easily amused for my taste, but at least I get the traffic report. If I had my way, I'd have Bob Marbourg (though anyone but Lisa works for me) report traffic in the morning as well as his afternoon slot. He doesn't deal with the dumb-downed anchor talk and gets right to business. While I was around the city this weekend, it was nice listening to 1010 WINS' longer traffic reports that were all business.

Another day of police cars, Jersey walls, and traffic in the district.

I recognize feeling giddy when a call of mine is reported is sad on lots of levels, but I have my reasons. You may ask, who actually calls the traffic line with traffic tips? If I'm already stuck for taking the wrong road, why should the next guy get the help I didn't? Well, I guess this just means I'm a good and courteous driver afterall...riiiiiiight.

Star light, star bright,
the first star I see tonight.
I wish I may, I wish I might,
why is there so much goddamn traffic tonight?

It's all about the pay it forward (never saw the movie, but I think I got the idea), you scratch my back, I'll scratch yours (after you wax that hair) way of thinking. Many of WTOP's best traffic tips come from the drivers who are, hello, stuck in traffic. The tips I hear are usually from others who have made the cell phone minute sacrifice to let me know, so I'm just trying to keep the circle of life/traffic flow intact.

How do you get yourself out of a dead end without making a u-turn?

Even after I pathetically call, I get all excited (no, not down there) knowing it'll be on the next report. It's kind of like being an anonymous tipster who knows what'll be reported before the general public. You know, like those government people who leak stuff to the press and know what the Post will lead with tomorrow. I should have outgrown this feeling after a few years of hearing my writing read on TV news, but I haven't. I'm just trying to get my discredited 15 minutes of fame. That's why most of us blog anyway.

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