Last week, our office was sent an email similar to this article in the Hartford Courant (and four others similar to it):
The reason? GET MOTIVATED, a motivational seminar featuring Rudy Giuliani, Laura Bush, General Colin Powell, Joe Montana and a host of others being held at the XL Center today from 8 a.m. to 4:45 p.m. (doors opened at 6:45 this morning). The seminar was a sellout to 19,000 folks who were anticipated to clog the highways into Downtown. Apparently, city and state officials were meeting with event planners to cut down on potential traffic and parking problems including setting up extra commuter lots at Rentschler Field and the North Meadows (and charging $5 a car…not cool for those of us who already pay for monthly parking in the Beat), encouraging carpools, working from home, etc.
In our office, stories of similar events costing people 2 hours of their lives, or how parking lots had filled before regular commuters came to work leaving thousands SOL, ran amok. I was ready to camp out in my office just to avoid the headache and others made plans to carpool or work from home. I packed a ton of paperwork “just in case” and made a plan with my boss, who lives in a high-rise in the Downtown Beat, for her to call me with updates. Since doors were opening at 6:45 a.m., coming in early would have been pointless, since early would have been 6:30 and this Asian does not function that early.
So this morning came, and I woke up 45 minutes early and turned on the TV, prepared to see a hot mess on 84W. Nothing. Nada. It looked like normal congestion. My text updates from my boss were the same lackluster, “Everything looks normal”.
So, I headed in and still, nothing interesting until I got to the Trumbull Street exit when things came to a sudden standstill. Turned out, it was just police officers stopping everything for no apparent reason because it looked like any normal day. WTF? What was I so worried about? Why did we all make so many contingency plans like it was Y2K all over again? Even as I made my way to the parking lot, the only slowdowns were those caused by the police–cones blocking off lanes, officers on bikes riding in the middle of the street, or hanging out in intersections not directing traffic.
My parking lot, next to the XL Center, was also free and clear for spots as normal–even though the seminar had already started an hour before. Did I have my days confused? Nope, as I walked through the Center, people were still filing in–clearly, not motivated enough to get there on time. As I crossed Trumbull, a police officer (hanging out with a group of five) told me, “You’re good to cross ma’am.” Really? That bright white walk sign wasn’t a enough of a tip-off. Or the fact that there’s not a car on this street? Damn, you’re SO useful…so glad you’re getting paid overtime to state the obvious! I restrained myself, smiled and thanked him.
So my point to all of this is…
Either all the planning really paid off, which is why everything was so darn smooth
This was a whole panic for nothing and all the extra officers (and there were a TON) were just a waste of taxpayer’s money (unless the event people paid for it…in which case, fine). Perhaps they’re all longing for the hysteria that snowfall in new England seems to cause these days.
Let’s just see how getting out of here is because if it’s a clusterf&^*, there’s going to be one angry Asian on the road.