Monday, March 7, 2022

The People's Convoy

 The traffic approaching the American Legion Bridge on the Outer Loop of the Beltway was heavy yesterday afternoon on my way back from church.  I was riding somewhere near the tail end of the People’s Convoy, the shambolic trucker protest of…something.  The mask mandates that have all been rescinded?  The pandemic restrictions that are now lifted?  The federal vaccine mandates that never existed?  Freedom is their cry, but honey, ain’t nobody free from traffic on the Beltway.

The convoy itself wasn’t quite what I’d anticipated.  Not a parade, not tightly organized columns, not the close formation of Rolling Thunder bikers.  Just scattered randomness.  Near me, a Gadsen flag flying Toyota SUV, covered in political bumperstickers.  Far ahead, a single truck, with signs I couldn’t read.  They weren’t in formation, but had been absorbed into the semi-solid particulate sludge of DC traffic.  The convoy wasn’t the cause of the slowdown, which had been caused by a minor fender bender.  It’s the Beltway.  There are always accidents.

It was stop and go, stop and go, but started to clear as I got nearer to the bridge.  The pace accelerated.  Up ahead, in the lane next to mine, I saw brightly colored debris in the road. Fabric?  A bit of carpet?  It wasn’t large, just about the length of a man’s arm.  Cars and trucks were running over it, treading it down into the tarmac.  It fluttered weakly.

At the moment I passed it, I realized what it was. It was an American flag.  Old Glory must have fallen from one of the flag-festooned trucks in the convoy, as insufficiently secured things so often do.  I felt the urge to stop and recover it, but I was past it before I could act, and leaping off of your scoot to run grab something in flowing traffic on the Beltway is a great way to cash in your life insurance policy.

I sighed into my helmet.  “Well, that meant something,” I muttered.