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Uncommonly Sensible

Keeping the "anal" in analytical... (While trying to remain civilized)

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Location: United States

Friday, December 01, 2006

Baby, you can drive my car...

...mostly because I don't own one.

I've got a Harley that I named "Leilani", and a GMC conversion van that I named "Blanche".
(Which I also call the "Camobile")

But no car.

Anyway, I saw a station wagon on my way to work yesterday, and it occurred to me that they've gone out of fashion...supplanted by minivans (which I call "Suburban Mom-mobiles") and the ever-popular SUV.

What I wanted to talk about though, is people's driving habits, which have been fodder for many a comedian's routine. And rightly so, considering all the material they have to work with.

A couple of quick anecdotes:
(I commute 10K miles yearly)

I drive my (15 MPG) van to work and back doing the speed limit, for fuel economy reasons; one time a guy rode my bumper (in the right lane) for miles, and when he finally passed me, I got the "single digit salute". I guess since I was only doing the posted limit, by his (warped) reasoning, I should have been driving on the shoulder using my 4-way flashers. I mean, I could understand it had I been doing that in the left lane. Some folks tenaciously remain there at all costs, as if it were their God-given right or somesuch. That's one of my pet peeves, and if I were a cop, I'd be issuing tickets aplenty for it...stay right except to pass! It's the law in a lot of places, but rarely enforced.

Another time I was riding my (40 MPG) Harley to work, upon which I generally do about 10 miles over the limit because fuel economy is inherent already, and happened upon a similar scenario. In this instance, someone was riding somebody else's bumper and flashing them with the high beams. Again, this was in the right-most lane, on an interstate in a place that had three lanes in each direction. When I pulled alongside the driver's side window of the nitwit displaying the aberrant behavior, I yelled "Go around them, you idiot!" I suppose it hadn't occurred to them, because after I pulled away, that's what they did.

Some people, I swear...

21 Comments:

Blogger MargeinMI said...

OY! Jack, you've opened a can of worms with this one!

One of the greatest pleasures of living out in the sticks is not having to drive in the insanity of city traffic every day. I used to commute in rush hour to downtown Detroit years ago. Nowadays, the worst traffic offenders are deer and slow moving farm equipment on the main drag. :o)

On a recent trip to the city to the symphony, I was passed by 4 punks on crotch rockets. They started poppin' wheelies in 60 mph, HEAVY traffic. OMG!!!!!! On I-94 on Friday evening. I was praying they didn't crash because they were in front of me. But only because they were in front of me!

BTW, my woodchuck outweighs your woodchuck by at least 5 lbs. ;o)

December 01, 2006 7:11 AM  
Blogger KJ said...

Sorry about that, Camojack.

But seriously, they have that emergency lane for the speed limit people.

In Atlanta, the speed limit on the interstate is a dangerous speed. But if you are in the right lane or two (since there are usually 5 in each direction, I'll give those people two lanes), that is fine. But fer the love of God, get out of the left lanes. Let us maniacs get around you.

Driving definitions:

Idiot: anyone driving slower than you want to drive.
Maniac: anyone driving faster than you want to drive.

December 01, 2006 7:31 AM  
Blogger mig said...

I see those station wagons and two things come to mind.

1. When I was little, about 4 we lived in the back of one of those near Haleiwa

and

2. Driving somewhere on Oahu with the folks about the same age throwing clothes out the window one piece at a time. Oh brother! I got more than a finger wagging.

December 01, 2006 7:36 AM  
Blogger Maggie said...

You city dwellers are not the only ones with traffic problems.We have our own traffic problems here in rural America.
During tobacco harvest time,we have to contend with endless train-like trailers hauling tobacco to the barns to be dried.Now that it is cotton harvesting season,we have to contend with hugh,snail-paced cotton harversters taking up the entire road.
I must add,that the drivers are usually considerate and pull over and let you pass, accompanied by a friendly country wave.
Then there's corn and hay harvest time......soybeans......

December 01, 2006 9:17 AM  
Blogger Maggie said...

Our family of 6 could fit comfortably in a Woody Wagon.My children would always argue about who would get to sit in the seats facing the rear,so they could wave at the cars behind us.

December 01, 2006 9:23 AM  
Blogger camojack said...

MargeinMI:
Generally speaking, it's those "punks on crotch rockets" who drive thataway; usually by the time someone can afford a Harley, they've matured somewhat.
(Somewhat, I said)

BTW, are you saying that yours is bigger than mine?!

KJ:
The thing is, since I'm on 3rd shift, my commute isn't during "rush" hour...so there's typically plenty of room to get past, should one so desire.

mig:
You've got a good memory. I don't remember very much from when I was 4.

Also, I didn't get to Haleiwa until I was in my 20's.

Maggie:
City dweller? Heh. Although I was born and raised in the city, I neither live nor work there nowadays.

As for those rear seats in station wagons, I could never bear sitting in the seat facing the rear, 'cause going backwards makes me sick...

December 01, 2006 10:26 AM  
Blogger JR said...

The station wagon with surf board rack is still making people happy in California...

On long distance drives, I love to stay right except to pass... I count the number of vehicles I pass...

I hate tail gaters, it is my right to slow down... hehehe... And if they do not get the message, I slow down even more... hehehe...

December 01, 2006 10:50 AM  
Blogger darth_meister said...

Now those wagons are classics. Do you know if that one has been restored. If not it's in incredible condition.

I still remember the Pontiac strato-cruiser a friend of mine had with rear-facing seats. Talk about getting motion sickness! Built like a tank, though. No wonder it got only 11 mpg!

December 01, 2006 11:00 AM  
Blogger Road Rider said...

Colorado has the right lane-except-to-pass law. Drivers generally obey it.

Until very recently I used to commute 75 miles one way to work, through Denver via I-25. I've seen ninja bikes on one wheel at 60 - 70 mph on more than one occasion. I usually move over several lanes to avoid running them over in case they lose it. Running over them can really rip up your suspension!!! OK I care about them too, but when you drive like an idiot, you can't blame anyone but yourself if/when you wipe out.

December 01, 2006 11:10 AM  
Blogger Nightwalker said...

Slow news day, eh, Jack?

Seriously, though, I love that station wagon up top. Throw in a 120 db stereo and put it up on dubs and it'd really be sumpin'!

:-)
Frank

December 01, 2006 1:26 PM  
Blogger camojack said...

ELEVENTEEN!!!

JR:
Let me guess...you like the Beach Boys?

I can't stand tailgaters, either, and have been known to brake suddenly.
(What, you didn't see that deer?!)

darth_meister:
I lifted the picture off "Da 'Net"; it was on a site that listed it as being for sale, however. I agree though, it is in excellent condition.

Road Rider:
Drivers in some States generally do not obey the "stay to the left unless passing" law. As JR seems to imply, you can pass many of those people on the right though, which I've done often.

Those crotch rockets mess up an undercarriage way more than the (erstwhile) operators thereof.

Nightwalker:
The news is generally bad, although what I'm reporting here isn't all that positive.

That's a fine specimen of a Country Squire, however...

December 01, 2006 3:05 PM  
Blogger 'da Bunny said...

I'm glad those ugly station wagons with the fake wood on the sides have gone out of style. Bleah!! But, the real "woodies" are still very popular out here in CA. Went to a car show with about 300 of 'em over on Moonlight Beach in Encinitas a few weeks ago. Lots of beautifully restored woodies, along with other relevant period memorabilia, set against the backdrop of the Pacific Ocean and bright blue skies! Gotta love it, dude!!

December 01, 2006 3:20 PM  
Blogger benning said...

It is my considered opinion that the average driver loses 50 points of IQ upon putting their behinds behind the steering wheel of any vehicle. The corollary is identical for the average shopper once their forearms rest on the handles of a shopping cart.

I drive a station wagon, Camo. My last car was a sedan (repo-ed) and the one before that was a ... station wagon. I find them useful, but I cannot afford an SUV. *sigh*

December 01, 2006 5:36 PM  
Blogger Beerme said...

I drive a four-wheel drive, American (GMC) Pickup. While I will admit to having hit my brakes a time or two to back off a tailgater, I have discovered an equally effective response that is not nearly so dangerous. I have a "cargo light" which can be activated to light the bed of the pickup. It is a white light that is located very near the top-of-the-window brake light. If I casually press the button at the right moment, the driver tailgating behind me will damn near stop to avoid my not braking! They then realize what I did and it torks 'em off pretty good, safely. It generally ends up with the same gratuitous "you're number one" salute, but it is safe, while braking suddenly is not.

December 01, 2006 6:16 PM  
Blogger camojack said...

'da Bunny:
Yes, the "fake wood" typically consisted of contact paper, bordered by moulding. "Bleah" is an understandable reaction to it.

Those surf woodies, on the other hand, are classics.

benning:
My first car was a station wagon that used to be the family transportation.

But I think the drivers with the cellphones plastered to their heads are the ones whose IQ drop...and they're a very real hazard, statistically.

Beerme:
I do something similar occasionally, which only works sometimes; I turn on the running lights, which can be mistaken for brake lights in that tailgating situation. It works best around dusk or dawn...

December 01, 2006 7:08 PM  
Blogger JR said...

Guessed wrong, I never liked them...

December 01, 2006 11:35 PM  
Blogger camojack said...

JR:
I like some of their songs, but not many.

As evidenced by the title of this current post, I'm a Beatles fan...

December 02, 2006 1:15 AM  
Blogger Kajun said...

I used to run a wrecker [many years ago], several times I attended fatal accidents where someone who insisted on driving in the passing lane was head-on colided by a drunk or disoriented driver who thought this was a two lane road that they had just turned onto...sure makes a mess!

December 03, 2006 2:31 PM  
Blogger camojack said...

Kajun:
Once upon a time (back in the 70's) I was driving Eastbound on I-40 in Tennessee, in the right lane...good thing too, because as I was about to crest a hill some [self-deleted] came blasting over the top going the wrong way in the left lane. I reckon it could have made a mess if I'd been in the left lane at the time, too.

They were probably (as you said) drunk or disoriented.
(Or both...)

December 03, 2006 5:49 PM  
Blogger Cassandra said...

I truly feel sorry for anyone trying to drive the speed limit where we live, camo, even when not in the passing lane. Especially older people who may just not be comfortable going faster because their reaction time isn't what it used to be.

I find myself getting impatient if I'm stuck behind someone (heaven forbid) obeying the law. I ride the spouse about it every now and then b/c they're obeying the law and we're not. But no one goes the speed limit here - it's insane.

I really worry about my parents sometimes.

December 04, 2006 5:47 PM  
Blogger camojack said...

Cassandra:
I really only drive the speed limit when I'm in the van commuting...for fuel economy reasons. When I'm traveling or riding the Harley, I average 10 MPH over the posted limit, whatever it may be...

December 04, 2006 9:20 PM  

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