Column: “That Got Me to Thinkin’?”; “The Commute”

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8/10/20 “That Got me to Thinking…?” Chapter 9 “The Commute”
By Bruce Williams

     Bruce Williams

 

I commute for 45 minutes into Bellevue most days, giving me ample time to observe and note several tendencies of my fellow travelers—things I’ll chuckle at, grow disgusted with or avoid altogether.  Here are just a few from my daily trip, so buckle up…

Let’s begin with the tailgaters.  I’m no granny—I typically leave it at 70 mph while traveling in the GoodToGo lane because you can take your foot off the gas at any time and decelerate down to legal virtually immediately.  There seems to be three main perpetrators of the bumper hug, even those times when there’s nowhere to go in thick, rush hour traffic.  The first is the German luxury car driver (I see you, Audi!)  Surely you must be made aware of the superior handling of their fine piece of machinery—maybe a little swerve and tickle will jog your memory?  And we all know that if you drive any of those Tokyo drift imports with a tail fin, you’re all about the the street racing and unfortunate haircuts.  The third class of tail humpers is the angry monster truck.  The bigger the better (you can drop the stepladder to help your lady up), and bonus points if you’ve got Old Glory flapping in the wind anchored in the bed or a pair of those hanging gonads that let everyone know without a doubt that both you and your rig possess the requisite “balls”.

Then you’ve got the cars creating the traffic jams—there they be, ten miles under in the middle lane creating a ripple effect as cars pass on both sides like river water circumventing a laconic boulder.  Usually these cars are either beige or robin’s-egg blue compacts, an earnest elderly woman with a bob carelessly floating adrift in her seat, arched forward as close to the windshield as her seatbelt will allow.  In the rear window you have the choice of a menagerie of stuffed animals, tissue boxes or other hoardish clutter.  They might have a license plate cover that says something to the effect of, “What happens at Ganny & Bumpa’s house stays at Ganny & Bumpa’s house.”  So cute.

Speaking of personalized plates, you’ve got another whole genre of bad actors here—there’s the egomaniacs that assumes you’re jealous of whatever they’re up to: “YUHATN”; “KARMA4U”; “TRPHYYF” to name just a few recently spotted.  Then there are the sheer swings and misses, my favorite so far being “NCSTMOM”—now I’m not sure if she’s the nicest mom, or if she sponsors a child at North Carolina State, but to me she’ll always just be the unfortunate Incest Mom.

A passion I’ve developed is documenting a category I simply call “Murder Vans” (I’m currently compiling a coffee table book depicting the Northwest’s rich tapestry of this particular phenomenon).  Murder Vans are older model, full-sized rust buckets with a long list of desirable accessories: privacy drapes, mud flaps, doors held on with chains or bungees, faded ice cream truck decals, moss or other filth.  Really the possibilities are endless, but the capturing of snapshots (without being detected) while speeding past provides quite the invigorating challenge.

Given more time, I’d wade into the unnecessary concept of driving gloves (recently spied on a young fellow as he was piloting what must’ve been his grandmother’s Captice Classic), or those decapitations-waiting-to-happen flatbed trucks.  And motorcycles!  Zipping through traffic with that reckless sense of invincibility that just leaves me shaking my head.

Well, be safe out there—and more importantly—don’t be an ass.

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