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Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Not A Residential District!

We were out and about this afternoon when a torrential rainstorm started. I'm not talking about one of those nice summery cloudbursts, those fifteen to thirty minute storms that are as powerful as they are brief. No, I'm talking about a major rainstorm here. One of those rainstorms that make your windshield wipers' high-speed mode seem really slow. The water was running through parking lots and gutters more than twelve inches deep, and in some cases ten or more feet wide. We're talking about one of those rainstorms where you start looking around to see if Noah and his Ark are going to float by.

Naturally, there were some drivers (like Trent, thank you, honey!) who exercised a bit more caution while driving down these semi-flooded roads. In fact, at one point we pulled into a parking lot to sit it out for a bit because the rain was that intense. And then there are the people who don't understand that water on roads can be even more treacherous than snow or ice. They seem to think that since they drive a truck or a fast sporty car or whatever, they are immune to hydroplaning. I'm sure everyone who reads this and drives knows what hydroplaning is. For those who don't drive, a brief explanation. When there is water standing on a road, even less than an inch, it can make your tires lose contact with the road. This can make your car more like a sled with no steering, as it can slip and slide even without you slamming on the brakes.

So here we were, driving two miles per hour below the speed limit through lots of rushing water. Some brilliant person behind us in a small truck decided we were impeding progress and passed us in a no-passing zone. And barely cleared the other lane before a person coming the other way caught up with him. Before I knew it, I was doing an impression of Richard Pryor. Years ago, Richard Pryor had a character in his comedy shows who he called The Drunk Directing Traffic. Even though he was barely able to walk, he had to yell at the cars driving by and comment on their bad driving. As the little truck drove by, I fake-yelled one of my favorite lines from this comedy routine. "HEY! Slow down! This a neighborhood, not a residential district!"

Obviously we made it home unscathed. But it never ceases to amaze me that as soon as the weather changes from dry and clear, people start driving like lunatics. Sweet people who normally drive like driver-safety award winners suddenly lose their minds. They change lanes without signalling or looking. If you honk your horn to let them know you don't want them to kill you, they make vulgar gestures at you while cursing to tell you to get out of their way. It shocks you so much that you can't even come up with a retort like, "Hey, do you kiss your grandchildren/boyfriend/girlfriend/mother/grandma/daddy or whomever with that filthy mouth?"

When it's over and you get home, you just have to laugh about it. During the bad-weather times of the year, we know there will be people out there who just don't know what they're doing. These people also tend to be out in great numbers on holidays and Sunday afternoons. Bless their hearts, they are the ones who drive to Aunt Ethel's birthday party two towns over and don't know the way. They slam on their brakes on the highway and cross three lanes of traffic to get to the off ramp. Or slam on the brakes while on the off ramp and then go off-road to get back on the highway. Eventually they will encounter the speed demons and drivers who think signalling means the other people have to get out of your way, so they just come on over without looking.  Ah, the adventures of the open road...

p.s. Every driver makes mistakes. I don't spend all of my time on the road complaining, and I am not one of those people who is hypercritical or thinks that everyone else's driving sucks. Part of this human's nature is to see one thing and be reminded of others. That's why I end up writing blog posts! :)