Posts Tagged ‘Driving’

Have you ever driven in Southern California? The Main Street, El Camino Rael runs from San Francisco to San Diego. 600.2 miles of a hellish nightmare. Six lanes, three in each direction. Two of these lanes appear and disappear without warning. u-turns are encouraged. Imagine, you are stopped at a red light, you can see the next red light a city block away, between you and that light is a short strip of road with a speed limit of 55mph. If you are not doing 55 by the time you cross the intersection you are currently sitting at, you become a moving hazard!

You know your right turn is coming up but not sure exactly where so you move into the right lane, You are moving at 60+ mph cars are all around you and your lane disappears. Whatever you do don’t use a turn signal. Turn signals tell the other drivers to bunch up and not let you merge. Luckily its okay if you fly past the street you want because now you get to play frogger and cross over to the left lane before the next intersection so you can ‘bang-a-uey’ into the three lanes of traffic coming at you and start the process all over again. There is of course one street far worse than El Camino Rael. The Freeway.

We decided to meet some friends for dinner. My father in law (John) who has been diagnosed with Dementia opted to join us. I am driving, John in the passenger seat, my wife is in the back being the navigator. With growing horror I notice signs for the entrance to the freeway. My wife pipes up;

Denyce: “Wait, we can take El Camino Rael all the way if you don’t want to take the freeway”

Me: “Point me in that direction”

Denyce: “I need a moment”

…we didn’t have a moment! In a moment we were going to be on the freeway! My father in law tells me to turn right at the next street, I ask my wife who is manning the GPS, who mutters, yes turn right”

Me: “Okay Denyce, now where?” I ask, the mood being a little tense.

Denyce “I don’t know yet, ask my dad”

Me: “Which way John?”

John: “How should I know? I have no idea where we are going.”

Me: “Then why did you tell me to turn right?”

John: “Because left was wrong”


Denyce: “We may be going the wrong way.”

Me: “You told me to go right.”

Denyce: “No I didn’t.”

Me: “Yes, you both told me to go right”

Denyce and John: “No I didn’t.”

Denyce: “El Camino Rael is in the other direction we should have turned left”

John: “Yes El Camino Rael is in the other direction, turn around.”

Me: “Okay but you told me to go right so I went right!”

John: “Yes but I did not know where we were going.”

Me: “So why did you tell me to go right?”

John: “Because I didn’t know where we were going.”

Finally I get turned around. I know I should drop the issue but I couldn’t.

Me: “Denyce, you and your dad told me to turn right.”

Denyce “No I didn’t!”

I start to worry maybe I’m the one with Dementia.

Me: “Yes, you told me to turn right!”

Denyce…a little softer now, “ Yes I did, but I wasn’t using my directional voice”

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Quietly driving the to work, The radio is tuned to our favourite talk radio show,(yes we have reached that age) our friend, the very funny Kevin Nelson is host. I’m negotiating traffic, enjoying the views from the mountain top, just enjoying a quiet ride into work while my wife relaxes in the passenger seat with her eyes closed.  Suddenly my wife speaks up:

Denyce: I just learned I can wink out of both eyes independently.


Denyce:  If both eyes are open I can close my left eye without a problem however if I close my right eye the left side of my face wrinkles up.


Denyce:  If both eyes are closed I can open my left eye without a problem but if I open just my right eye my left eye opens just a little bit.

Me:  Well, it has been a while since I’ve been able to write a post for my blog.  But I think that’s about to change.

We both laugh and talk about my upcoming post, and how she got thinking about winking and blinking.

 a moment passes.

Denyce:  Maybe it is because my left leg is shorter than my right leg.

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Things that drive me crazy:

I was sitting at a stoplight in the right hand lane.  I have two possibilities, I can go straight, or I can turn right.  The van beside me was in the left hand lane which means they have the option of going straight or turning left.  I’m minding my own business when the driver honks her horn.  I casually look over, and using a form of sign language she communicates to me that when the light turns green she is going to pull in front of me and turn right.  I smile and shake my head ‘no’.  She looks at me with her big eyes and nods her head vigorously that she needs to turn right.  I shrug and point behind me indicating that if she needed to turn right then she should be in the right line behind me and not in the left.  She rolls down her window and starts to say something to me.  I smile and shake my head ‘no’.  She starts a new kind of sign language that involves an ugly face and one finger, and lots of words coming out of her lips that thankfully I cannot hear.  The light turns green and she starts to pull ahead of me.  But she isn’t fast enough, the car behind me doesn’t let her in either.  I grin and travel on down the road. 

I’m not the one who got into the wrong lane. I’m not the one who wants to break the law.  I’m not the one who wants to hold up morning rush hour traffic.  Yet it seems from her gestures that I am somehow the bad guy.

I’m getting off an exit ramp and merging into traffic that is not moving.  Everybody is doing the right thing.  One car goes, the other merges, next car goes, next car merges.  Yet three cars behind me the driver does not wish to wait his turn and merge.  No, he is special.  He thinks it is okay to fly past all the other cars and then merge as the road disapears into one lane.  Then he gets upset with me when I don’t let him merge in front of me. 

For the love of all things, do not speed past me, cut in front of me and then slow down.   

By all means turn on your turn signal after you have already changed lanes.

Better yet don’t turn on your turn signal, but by all means slow way the hell down to make a turn without any warning.

Even better, I know you see me trying to make a left hand turn out of the gas station.  I wait because you are moving pretty fast.  Can you tell me why you wait till the last possible minute to turn on your turn signal?  Seriously I could have gone had I known that.  Thanks moron.

Don’t get upset with me when I fly past you at 70 miles an hour and toot my horn and scare the crap out of you because you are too busy texting and driving to realize you are slowly crossing into the passing lane doing 50 miles an hour in a 65 mile an hour speed zone, and had no idea I was there.

In fact don’t get upset with me when I toot my horn to scare the crap out of you because I look over and you are trying to drive and text at the same time.  If you had been driving and paying attention I wouldn’t have to scare the crap out of you in the first place.

When I look in the rear view mirror and you are putting on your makeup while sucking on my exhaust pipe all I really want to do is slam on my breaks.

Go ahead and tailgate me while I’m doing the speed limit or faster.  Depending on my mood I’ll probably go even slower.

If nothing else I ask two things:

A) Learn to use your turn signals.

B) Learn to merge!  I’m talking to you Pennsylvanians.  The people on the highway have the right of way, we don’t have to move over for you to merge.  You are the one that has to do the merging.  And while I am at it.  Don’t stop on the highway to let people in.  You only think you are being nice.  But have you given a thought to the people who have to come to a stop behind you.  It is a highway for crying out loud!

Stepping of my soap box now.

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