Monday, April 13, 2009

Driving Me Crazy

     Well boys and girls, we are back from another festive Easter weekend, and glad to be. As fun as it is to go see the family it's always nice to get back to the daily grind in a weird sort of way.
     I am actually pretty grateful that I was able to make it back alive and in one piece, as there were an awful lot of morons out on the roads this weekend. I don't know if it was the fact that many people were travelling for the holiday, or maybe it was the full moon, but I saw the worst driving behavior all weekend long. Now, I know what a lot of you are thinking. "Take it easy small-town boy, people drive more aggressively in the city. We don't just put around town on the John Deere like you do." Okay, first of all, get bent. Second of all, I have NEVER seen a tractor drive down the main street of town here outside of the occasional parade, so suck it. Thirdly, I spent the bulk of my life, including my formative driving years, in a major metropolitan area. So I know how it is there. And I can snap into the urban super-aggressive driving mode as quickly as anyone. I can fend for myself just fine. But that's not it. I can handle city traffic. It was the stuff I saw on my way there and my way back that absolutely threw me for a loop. Seriously, it scared me to the point where I sort of wanted to park my car in the middle lane of the freeway with the emergency flashers on and get out and lie flat on the pavement in front of it and just see what happens because quite frankly, I would have been safer than driving along with all these people. Here is a brief synopsis of what I managed to see just while driving around:

- A guy work like hell to get into the left lane then abruptly crossing all three lanes of freeway at once traffic to exit abruptly

- A car that appeared the be piloted by two seven-year-olds going ninety in the fast lane. First of all it was a Chevy Aveo, which I didn't realize could go that fast, and second of all the driver looked like he was seven because he was ducking down doing something below the console. Bold strategy, Cotton, let's see how that works out for them! Not well, it turns out, because about an hour up the road he was sitting on the shoulder with a State Patrol cruiser shining a spotlight right through his window while writing him a ticket. I shouted "ha-ha!"like Nelson from The Simpsons when I drove past.

- I saw not one, not one but two cars make U-Turns in the middle of the freeway in those little turn-arounds that are for emergency vehicles only. Yeah. And it's not like one was following the other, they were two separate vehicles in two separate incidents hundreds of miles and several days apart. That is NOT okay because it really is dangerous if you don't know what you are doing. And these people obviously do not know. And it's doubly stupid for the guy in the city who did it because you are never more than a mile from an exit in an urban area as a general rule, so it's not like he would have had to go 26 1/2 miles out of his way just to go the other direction. Seriously.

- The lady that I thought would take the cake was the woman that I saw pull an maneuver that I have never seen pulled before. This lady (and I know it's a lady because I clearly saw her in her vehicle as I looked on in horror) managed to pull this off on a crowded freeway (it was a holiday weekend, so as usual for this part of the world all the traffic was flowing away from the cities back towards the countryside as I was going from the countryside to the city, and she was on the other side where everyone was driving) and I could not believe it. It made me weep for the people at the DMV, because it showed that they obviously don't care about what they are doing if they licensed this person. She came down the exit ramp, driving northbound on the southbound exit ramp, until she got to the end where the ramp met the freeway proper, then she whipped around and headed southbound on the freeway. Oh man, this scared the living shit out of me. Now, I know that our fine traffic engineers have come up with some completely atrocious and confusing interchanges for our roads. And there have been times that I, a certified road geek, have come close to tears because I couldn't figure out how to get onto one freeway or another from where I was, but never once did it occur to me to just drive down whatever ramp I could see to get onto the highway, regardless of traffic flow. But this lady apparently decided to do just that. She is like those people at Enron that were just making up the numbers in their ledgers to make the company look good. Neither of them seemed to care about the possibility that a semi might be oncoming. Seriously, I was in awe and totally frightened at the same time, like when you are about to be attacked by a bear or a puma or something.

     So anyway, I was thinking that freeway lady would take the cake, until I read about the shenanigans that were going on in Norway while I was away. And I thought OUR highways were in bad shape. Now, it's gonna get a little racy but bear with me. Sometimes, as a person, one is lucky enough to get what it called road head, in which one's partner performs oral sex on you while you are driving. Sounds pretty fun, doesn't it? Of course. It is certainly dangerous though, because all sorts of stuff can happen while driving and being preoccupied with something else, like talking on the phone or doing your makeup, you could imagine what might happen while receiving oral sex. So you can see how that might be dangerous. But a couple in Norway took things to a whole new level.
     Oh yeah, this couple decided that they were going to have sexual intercourse while driving down the freeway. Yep, you read that right. Apparently road head was not enough. What a story that would be for young Sven to tell his buddies in high school: "Ja, anyone can be conceived in a Saab but how many of your were conceived in a Saab that was driving on the freeway at the time?" But, there is a problem. Having sexual intercourse while driving is extremely dangerous and really should not be attempted at any time. As would be expected, the car was swerving from lane to lane and caught the attention of the local police, who proceeded to make a traffic stop. Here now, here is my favorite part of this whole thing: once they realized the reason for all the swerving, they started to videotape the incident. Oh yeah. Nothing like pervish Norwegian police. Imagine how many different entities are going to get a cut out of that Internet video. The couple, the auto manufacturer, the police department, the officers, etc. So anyway, they started taking video (and I assume still photos as well) to document the tomfoolery and the proceeded to issue a citation to the man that could impose some pretty hefty penalties on him. The BBC noted that the man would likely face "a fine of several thousand Norwegian krone [one United States Dollar is worth 6.56 Norwegian krone as of the time I am writing this] and a lengthy driving ban" for his actions. Fair enough. The local police noted that he was veering from side to side and that he could not see because the woman's back was in the way. Fine. But my second favorite part is that the woman apparently is going to get away scott-free. Oh yeah, it's good to be a woman sometimes, isn't it? The police actually let her drive her Romeo home from the traffic stop; I assume in separate seats.
     So I guess the moral of the story is that I am glad I wasn't on the Norwegian freeways this weekend, because I could have been run off the road by stupid people procreating as opposed to just people who are stupid and driving, which I think would be much, much worse, because not only is your car destroyed but you have to be reminded that YOU weren't getting laid at the time. Unless you were getting road head at the time, in which case that would be a story for the ages.

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