Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Joni's Rules of the Road

            My daughter says I drive like Cruella DeVil.
            My best friends refuse to get into my car.  And I hung onto the family mini-van long after the kids were grown so it could be my stealth vehicle, a car virtually immune to the attention of cops.  So I would never write a blog criticizing other drivers.
            Okay, just this once.  Can someone please tell me why they let people drive 40 mph on the speedway?  I mean the freeway?  How is forcing other drivers to swerve around you not a hazard worth a $200 ticket at the very least?   I seriously doubt that these people are paying one fraction of the attention to their task that I am.  In fact, in Joniopolis, you would have to qualify to get on there, the same as you qualify to be in a race.

            And why aren’t we testing people’s reflexes when they renew their licenses?  If you lack the skill to avoid accidents, aren’t you now in the category of causing them?  Driving is not something everyone should do, despite the outcry that even the sleepiest among us should be able to steer tons of metal at high speed so they can get themselves to work.  Let’s face it: Not everyone is qualified to perform surgery, not everyone is licensed to practice law, and not everyone should be hurtling down the highways without a brain in their head.

            I admit I go a wee bit faster than I should.  I once raced the family mini-van at the local speedway, and sold an article about it to Woman’s Day magazine.  It was the Fourth of July (hence free admission—I am nothing if not a tightwad), and we had just come from the annual church pancake breakfast in the park.  I had heavy wrought iron griddles in the back, a carload of family members, and a Jack-in-the-Box ball on my antennae.
            When I got in line for a white number to be painted on my windshield, I discovered that 9009 looks great from outside, but spells “Poop”  for those of us sitting inside.    I noticed the other drivers (all the ages of my children) had their hoods popped up with ice packs on their engines to cool them.  They were wandering around looking at each other’s engines.   I popped my hood open as well.  Nobody came by to look at mine, so I busied myself by reading a Bon Appetit magazine as I waited for my turn.

            And finally it was time to screech my silver van through the bleach troughs and out onto the quarter-mile straightaway.   It was glorious!  I think I beat a Mustang next to me.  Then I was told the idea is to duplicate your speed a second time, so I hurried around to do it again.  Only this time the meanest woman in the known universe came up and demanded that I empty my car of passengers.  Apparently this is an un-posted rule (where was she earlier?) and unless I complied, I couldn’t race.
            It was all about safety, she said.  Aha.  Forcing my husband and two of my kids out into the middle of the race track, to run for their lives towards the bleachers, was obviously safer than letting them stay in the car.  Incredibly, they made it to their seats before getting run down.
            But now the weight of my car was thrown off; how could I possibly duplicate my score?  Well, I’d simply have to try my best.  Once again I watched for the green light and went zooming out ahead of the car next to me.   And again I was given a slip of paper with my time on it.  At this point my 19-year-old son, who raced there all the time, came jogging up to see how I had done.  I, of course, had no idea what any of the numbers meant, but I knew victory was mine when his eyes narrowed with jealousy and he said, “Let’s see you do that again.”
            But no further demonstration was needed.  I had raced once, then twice, and had a nearly perfect performance.  No need to dilute the waters of success; my score was as good as a trophy.  Even the teenagers were giving this mini-van mom a thumbs up.

            So I’m just saying it might be a good idea to include a similar exercise before licensing people to get on the freeway.  Those who fail can take surface streets, enjoy public transportation, or ride their bicycles to work.  The world—and the freeways-- would be a safer place.


  1. *Laugh* *Snort* Get thyself to a road rally! Hey, if your driving makes your friends nervous, just tell them to do what you do when things get scary... "Close your eyes."

  2. Ha ha! I actually used to say that to my mom! And when my three buddies from So Cal visited recently, I gave them each a crash helmet. It was the least I could do.

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