Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Rules of the Road - 2011 Edition

I know I've had a few choice words about driving over the course of my blogging, so I'll do my best not to repeat myself, even though some of my road rules apparently need endless repetition because some of you obviously haven't been paying attention.  Before you embark on the great American motorways in search of a cheap vacation, make sure you understand all the basic rules of the road.

  1. Yellow lines divide lanes.  This is America, you should be driving on the right side of the yellow line.  Yellow dividing lines are not optional simply because you bought a gas-guzzling SUV the size of a zeppelin.  If you can't follow the lines, you shouldn't be driving.  As with coloring, you can say outside the lines is "creative" but it mostly results in a bloody mess.
  2. Parking lots.  They also come equipped with dividing lines.  If you can't fit your car in, you might want to reconsider your lifestyle choices.  Basically, if you can't park it, you shouldn't be driving it.  Also, handicapped parking spots are marked for the handicapped, not for the chronically late.  Your scheduling issues make you incompetent, not handicapped.
  3. Light jumping.  WAIT YOUR FUCKING TURN.
  4. Self-delusion.  Everyone thinks they can work their smart-phone and drive.  No one can.  Read the stats, tell your kids, and put down the phone.  I'm guessing that text isn't really worth dying for, or killing someone else.
  5. Courtesy.  Being on the road today is like sitting in on a congressional budget debate, only with 1200 lb cudgels.  If you've got rage issues, perhaps you should address them somewhere other than behind the wheel of your car and misdirected at the poor schlep who's also trying to get home on time.
  6. Motorcyclists and bikers.  Yep, you're right, you're entitled to the road, too, but that also means you have to obey the same rules as the rest of us.  You know, lights, stop signs, yellow lines (see #1 above), and courtesy.  You also might want to think back to basic physics class and lessons on mass in motion, before you let your road rage out on someone in a car.  I saw a guy on a chopper spit on a car the other day.  I gave the car driver big props for not simply backing over the moron.
Alternatively, you jump on some kind of public transit and avoid this crap altogether. 

But of course, this is America, where we violently defend our right to gobble up every bit of fossil fuel to fill our oversized cars to lug our overweight kids to the Wal-mart and buy them some soda at the best discount around.  I shouldn't complain, I suppose.  At least Coke is still made in America.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Down Time

Let's talk the pleasures of summer.  In many ways, I have a fantasy life, because I still have many of my summers free.  Just the word "summer" conjures up images of sweating glasses of icy drinks, the sound of the ocean, the smell of grills, the bleeping sparks of lightning bugs.  You think of long, lazy afternoons; a melt of time stretching into the hazy, humid dusk. Days at the pool, nights at the drive in.

But... but.

If you're a bit compulsive, with a control freak twist, going from a jam-packed schedule to a suddenly open-ended vacuum presents it own particular challenges.  Trying to do it with a couple of pre-teens who take delight in creating mayhem just makes the fun more... pungent.  In other words, long, unstructured days can cut both ways.  I'm trying to force myself to relax, to take time to read a few books, not stress about all the stuff I should be doing around the house.  I tell myself that no matter how much the offspring try to push my buttons, there's going to come a time when they don't want anything to do with me, so I should try to let it flow off my back.

When all else fails, there's still a tall, sweaty glass of whatever I want to drink.