Sunday, November 19, 2006

Driving To Distraction. Or is it From Distraction?

Let’s play let’s pretend. There you are driving along the New Jersey Turnpike at 65 or 70 miles an hour. You are in the fast lane. The fast lane in the United States is not the same as the fast lane in Western Europe (and I assume if people have cars, Eastern Europe). This is because in Europe people go fast in the fast lane. If you don’t go fast the cars behind you that want to go fast will come at you, get right up on your rear end and flash their lights until you get over to the right where you belong. They use the fast lane to pass, not lolligagging around looking at the sights or trying to be macho by blocking the entire road with their slow moving vehicle. Don’t you love the word lolligag? I think it’s onomatopoetic. If you say it slowly, like loll-i-gag it takes a long time to get to the end. Well, maybe it’s just ‘gag’ that’s onomatopoetic but I’m taking license. For those of you who don’t know what onomatopoeia means, or won’t admit it, it is when the word sounds like what it is. Yiddish words are often onomatopoetic. Words such as ‘kvetch’ which means complain or ‘kabitka’. Actually, kabitka means an old Russian wagon but it should mean a “miraculous recovery”. Can’t you just imagine someone who has been very ill suddenly rising from their death bed and yelling “It’s a kabitka! I’m not sick anymore.”

But I digressed. You are shocked aren’t you? Back to the Turnpike. Don’t you wish you had a sign you could hold up, when you are forced to pass on the right, that says; YOU IDIOT. MOVE OVER! Or when there’s a car weaving in front of you—clearly not paying attention – a sign that says GET OFF YOUR PHONE or PULL OVER IF YOU NEED TO READ! Yes, the other day I saw a guy reading the paper as he drove at 60 miles and hour. You often see this when you’re in rush hour traffic in Washington, because people want to know everything before they get to work—but they are standing still. I think it’s a little different on the highway. Here’s my point, someone needs to invent a device that allows you to direct your driving frustrations at the person causing them. It doesn’t have to be on the NJ Turnpike, I’m just using that as an example because we made our monthly trip to Cow Town this weekend. What is Cow Town and why would anyone go to a place with such a stupid name, you ask?

Cow Town is a flea market that is open on Tuesday and Saturday every week of the year. And it is WOW! (That’s onomatopoetic.) It’s about three football fields full (alliteration) of chatchka’s (that means crap). We love to go there to a stand that makes a fabulous cheesesteaks—as good as any in South Philly. And trust me, I took the train to Philly when I was pregnant to have a few cheesesteaks. There is a stand run by a Pennsylvania Dutch family that makes barbeque chicken wings, and there is a guy who roasts fresh peanuts—dark, regular, or light. It is not a trip to make if you are attempting to diet but it is worth the 2 ½ hour drive if you are not.

I digressed again, and this time I made myself hungry. Back to my road rage. There is only one way to explain why people who shouldn’t be are driving. A few years ago I had to retake the written part of my driver’s license. I studied like it was a final exam in my college major. I got to the Virginia Motor Vehicle facility—the same one discovered issuing drivers licenses for terrorists, and I started to take the test. It was really hard. I passed but not by much and, as I said, I crammed for hours. There were people who were taking the test in cubbies next to me who were blind, deaf, dumb, and couldn’t speak any English, (that’s not Shakespeare). And I watched as they took the test. Some were accompanied by friends or dogs. It was so interesting that I finished my test, got my license and watched to see whether they made the cut. Almost without exception, they did. I was sure they didn’t know a red light from a green light and if they saw a color differential, they clearly did not understand stop and go, but these people were going to be out on the road along with people I loved. These are the people who would are now driving on back roads and highways, determining their own speed limits, reading comic books, talking on the phone, eating fast food, and hogging the road. I can’t imagine what the road test is like except my friend Amy’s mother had to retake the test when she was 83. Amy had been a wreck about her mother still driving and thought this was a perfect way to get her mother off the road. She wouldn’t have to take her license away, the state would. The state thought the fact that she never checked her rear view mirror, didn’t use her signals, drove without paying much attention to the speed limit and couldn’t park, were not things about which they needed to be concerned. And I’m sure Virginia is not the only state guilty of giving a drivers license to terrorists and the incapable, or rather turning the incapable into vehicle terrorists. Maybe signs are not enough. Maybe someone needs to invent a device that plucks these people out of their cars and hoists them on their own petard. (Now that’s pure poetry). We’re just sayin...Iris

2 comments:

Walt said...

I have visions of the old Hertz commercials, but in reverse.

"Let New Jersey take you from the driver's seat."

Grin

Walter Briggs said...

Now, that's what I call poetry in motion..