When All The Want-to In The World Won't Get You To The Houston Rodeo

Hair Balls had every intention of being at the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo Saturday afternoon. Plans were to take in the vendors at the Reliant Center, pet a few animals and eat some of the food that won the Golden Buckle Foodie awards this year.

In fact, Hair Balls was within one car-switching lane of being on the path of righteousness that would have enabled us to take a right on McNee and a left into the parking lots at Gate 15 when a silver-haired deputy rapped on her window and instructed her to move all the way to the lane on the left (the lane farthest away from Reliant).

We'd already waited 40 minutes, dedicated to the (occasionally zen) experience of being stuck in an unholy mess of traffic (to put it in perspective, we didn't leave the area during hurricanes Rita and Ike because we didn't want to sit in that much traffic) but with the inspiration of having a teenager in the car who really wanted to see the livestock show, we persevered.

Who knew -- maybe we still had a chance of being able to weave our way back across four lanes of traffic (despite all the cars, the honking horns, the almost complete absence of brotherly love and for God's sake if you like your music that loud, please shut your windows)?

Then came the handwriting on the wall of flashing signs: LOTS FULL LOTS FULL LOTS FULL and USE PARK & RIDE, the latter, of course, being miles away. Even the decision to give up didn't make things go any faster, it took another 20 minutes to clear the scene.

We're not experts at traffic, but it seemed almost as though the deputies might be making things worse as they took charge of the lights, recalibrating their timing. For instance, it was a deputy who motioned Hair Balls forward into the intersection and then ordered her away from Reliant when the vehicles in front didn't move and she was blocking cross traffic.

If you don't want to spend an hour on Main Street next to but not in the HLSR this year, we advise you to use the park and ride or use the light rail. If nothing else, you'll be in a better frame of mind to enjoy the show.

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