The Bear Trap, a pleasant DC comedie

Environmental Architecture, Plans

So today I helped out with a performance in Hyattsville, Maryland.

Now, Maryland is a curious state.  Of all the states, it has arguably the best credentials, as every city and town is a licensed MD.


Annapolis, circa 1980

After doctoring up a post like that that, I must say that Maryland is, in fact, a very merry land: decent roads, decent theaters, decent food, flipping awesome houses.  Which is something.

The problem that I have with this magical, merry land of mirth and medical mastery is that lies smack dab on the opposite side of the bear trap.

I found myself realizing this tonight on my way to and from that magical land.  As I said, I was working on a show in Hyattsville, Maryland (which, being a show, none of us were really being paid and were doing because, truly, there is no thing in life greater than the stage), and I found myself wandering like Odysseus.

The trouble began when I picked up one of my actors at 5:15 from his work in Tysons’.  We intended to arrive in Hyattsville by 6, (or 15 after six), which didn’t seem like a bad approximation.

Until the bear trap sprung.

“The bear trap?”  you ask, “I’ve never heard of the bear trap.  Is it like the Mouse Trap for Americans?”

Sadly, I shake my head, “no.  It is not a thriller.  It is not even a mystery.”  It is fact, plain and obvious.

“The bear trap, ” I explain, ” Is the thing that encircles the DC metro area, and it is composed of the following parts, which will be interrupted by a picture before this post gets too text heavy.”


 A Bear Trap

Now, above you is a bear trap.  This device, according to wikipedia (the professor you can always trust to be at his office hours), is

“made up of two jaws, one or two springs, and a trigger in the middle … When the animal steps on the trigger the trap closes around the foot, preventing the animal from escaping.”

 Now, as seen in the upsconded image above, a bear trap has a central section that runs from the trigger to the jaws.

The Bear Trap is composed of the following parts:  495, 395, and 66.  Those who know it might well agree, the shape is similar, the purpose proportionate, and just as dark.   The outer loop and inner loop are the dual jaws of the trap, and 66 is the spring container leading to the trigger.

The trigger itself is a deadly combination of construction and rush hour, so that no matter what time of day, the trap is active.

Wikipedia states that

Usually some kind of lure is used to position the animal, or the trap is set on an animal trail.  Traditionally, these traps had tightly closing jaws to make sure the animal stayed in place.

Thanks, Professor.

As we can see, the beltways and the 66 have the exact same intention: to make sure the animal stays in place.  They are all placed on vital trails with a very tempting lure – the honey-sweet city of washington DC.

In my case, it keeps being the lure of theatre in Maryland.

Whatever the lure, the trap is ready to spring, and spring it did.  The climax of my melville-esque whale-of-a-dictionary-containing-tale is this:

3 Hours

Spent in traffic.  Sitting.  Planning on removing my license plates, registration info, keys, and just leaving the darned car and walking.

see, the Bear Trap isn’t about killing the beast (or car).  No, it’s just about immobilizing it.  When you see the poor beast stuck as it is, you’ll probably do the rest.

Never forget the Bear Trap.

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