Thursday, January 2, 2014

Happy Motoring

I'm miffed.

In fact, I'm ready to go Lewis Black on drivers these days. At my old age I've encountered any number of inattentive captains of four-wheeled road ships. I phrase it that way because all too often people remind me of the Exxon Valdez captain when they climb into their cars, trucks, and SUVs. Not that so many people are drunk while driving (though a number are), but they might as well be, considering the all-too-popular dangerous habit of texting while driving or taking their eyes off the road for any reason, for that matter.

Take Gertie, for example. Riding along Route 419, I noticed that the poor woman seemed to be having difficulty negotiating a curve. Either that or she was curious to see how different life would look if she rode the line separating the right lane with the shoulder of the road. I wondered whether or not she would introduce the side of her Buick to the guard rail. Though I'm glad that I was behind her where I could keep an eye on their questionable motoring skills, I nearly blew out my master cylinder hitting the brakes when she over corrected and nearly pin balled off of a Durango in the passing lane, which increased my appreciation for cup holders. Apparently her phone call was so important that it was worth risking her safety, as well as everyone else's.

It was about a mile from that episode that I encountered another disaster looking for an opportunity -this time, it was Tommy Sophomore and his backward-facing ball cap. I'll never know what he was texting, but apparently she was about to say yes, judging from his intense focus which led his prefrontal cortex to shut out a green light, three car horns, and some guy screaming at him through a closed car window. Again, I decided to keep this kid in front of me. I reasoned that, if he's intent on not paying attention to the road I don't want him following me. My rear bumper needs paint as it is.

Then there are the thousands of motorists who apparently never heard of an ashtray. Either that, or the highway department has had some serious budget cuts and is now paving the curbs with millions of Marlboro butts. I used to wonder why, on nice days, no one ever kept their windows rolled down. The intersection of 419, Carriage Drive, and Grandin Road revealed the source of the mystery one day. Lowering the window of my Accord, I was greeted to a whiff of cigarette stench which could rival the filthiest pool halls in Chicago. I don't know how many cigs were strewn along the gutters, but I'm reasonably certain that if they were to be placed end to end and you were to follow them, you'd end up in Darlington. That gives me an idea: if tobacco is ever entirely replaced by e-cigarettes and someone's car breaks down at night, the stranded motorist at least has a handy penlight. Nicotine and a flashlight in one, baby.

I'm thankful that most people are reasonable about their driving, even though too many of us simply have to slow down for a good look whenever someone tweaks a fender on their Tercel. That, of course, increases the odds of additional accidents and visits from the bearded lawyer who "cares about you".

I'll get off of my soapbox now. I have errands to run, and, depending on how motorists are behaving today, I might end up getting a free paint job.

That would make me happy.


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