Ad Fail?

Studly Doright and I recently drove to Dallas from our home in Florida, most of the time taking advantage of the interstate highway system. I took a few photos along the way—none of them very memorable.

But in Texas a billboard ad campaign caught my eye.

Snakes! Why did it have to be snakes?

Maybe I’m being a wimp, but I don’t exactly relish the image of a rattlesnake seatbelt. I call this an ad fail.

Now, a similar seatbelt billboard didn’t bother me. In fact, it’s pretty clever.

It’s a western belt. In Texas. I like it.

Am I wrong? Would the snake ad make you want to buckle up?

Peace, people!

Worth Every Mile

On Saturday morning there were a couple of charity sales that I’d been looking forward to attending, so I got up early and drove into Tallahassee. On my way into town, I called my mother-in-law, Saint Helen. When we were in Texas last month, she was still recovering from some health issues and wasn’t her usual feisty self.

We hadn’t chatted since that visit and there was a lot to catch up on. So much, in fact, that we talked all the way across Tallahassee and I was almost in Monticello, a good 35 miles northeast of my intended destination, before I realized what I’d done.

Saint Helen thought that was hilarious, and when she laughed she sounded like her vibrant self again. I’d drive way out of my way any day just to hear that laugh.

Peace, people!

That’s a teenaged Saint Helen with her dad, Buck Parker, and two of her five brothers. I just love this picture.

Lost in Tallahassee

It’s difficult these days to become lost. I have GPS in my car and on my phone, so there’s really no excuse for taking a wrong turn, or two, or twelve. But on Saturday afternoon I wandered around Tallahassee for over an hour in search of a specific address and only found it once I’d turned off my guidance apps.

Still, I can’t figure out what went wrong. The address was entered correctly, but first the car’s GPS directed me to a gas station and then to an office complex. I tried my phone’s app and it took me in a huge circle right back to the gas station. Weird. When I turned off the guidance I decided to try to find the intended location just by driving in what I believed to be the logical direction and lo, and behold, I found the venue rather quickly.

The sad part was, I arrived an hour after I’d planned and then had to immediately leave to be home for an outing with Studly Doright, and I was frazzled. I kept picturing my car’s make and model being flashed on one of the highway signs asking drivers to watch for missing senior citizens.

Tomorrow, I’m staying home.

Peace, people.

Near Misses

Have you ever had one of those days where you seem to successfully dodge one mishap after another? I have to confess that’s not my norm. If a ball has begun rolling down hill a mile away from me then chances are our paths will cross before long and I’ll go heels over head in spectacular fashion.

Yesterday, though, on my way home from Tallahassee I managed to avoid one potentially injurious incident after another. Rather than go into detail I’ll simply list them.

1) Someone driving a sporty red car ran a red light through a busy intersection just as I entered said intersection. My reflexes saved me. My raised middle finger was of no use.

2) A mile or so down the road an impatient driver on a side street pulled around another car and darted in front of me. I applied my brakes and my horn simultaneously. No fingers were raised.

3) As I entered a tightly engineered roundabout the car in front of me came to an abrupt stop causing the car behind me to very nearly rear end my car. At this point I’m thinking, Should I just park and call an Uber to take me home?”

4) I turned onto a familiar country road to take a shortcut home. A road construction crew had stopped oncoming traffic allowing cars in my lane to proceed. Unfortunately one southbound idiot decided he didn’t need to wait on cars going northbound and came right at me. I’ve now become something of an expert at avoiding crashes, so I find space to make room for the $&:(@?! and after honking and glaring at him I went on my less than merry way. Note: glares are as ineffective as middle fingers.

5) At this point I figured I had most certainly survived the gauntlet. Now that I was within three miles of Doright Manor surely nothing else could befall me. Then there was a cow. Now, I grew up in rural Texas where it wasn’t uncommon to see a lone cow or even a small herd of cattle on the road, but this was a first for me in Florida. I rounded a curve in the road and there she was, just waiting for me to kill both of us. I pressed on the brakes and stopped with at least two entire inches to spare.

6) I managed the rest of the drive without incident, and have decided to become a hermit. At least for a day or so. My guardian angel needs a rest.

Peace, people!

Super Power

Not too many days ago I published a piece titled, “Manipulating Space” in which I explored the very slight possibility that I might have been endowed with the super power of making myself, and my vehicle, smaller for the purpose of avoiding an accident.

https://nananoyz5forme.com/2019/07/30/manipulating-space/

Now no one, including me, took that possibility seriously, but yesterday I had another episode that could’ve been attributed to spatial manipulation, but more likely was the result of my excellent driving skills. I can’t read that last part aloud without Studly Doright convulsing in fits of laughter. He’d sooner believe I had a super power.

Here’s my story, and I’m sticking to it. On the spur of the moment I’d decided to go to a movie in Tallahassee. Studly was out of town, and my evening stretched before me like an endless sea. It was either see a movie or watch television all evening. The movie, Blinded by the Light won.

I had about half an hour to get to the theatre, more if you figure in the twenty minutes of trailers before the film, but I needed to buy my ticket and a snack, so there was no time to waste. I grabbed a wrap and my umbrella and began the drive into town.

Traffic was pretty heavy on the road between Quincy and Midway. I found myself following a pickup truck towing a trailer loaded with a junk car. Just before we reached Midway, the windshield of the junk car blew out onto the road right in front of me.

Did I do the whole space manipulation thing? Nope, I just deftly maneuvered my car around all the debris and emerged unscathed. I’ll save my super powers for real emergencies.

Peace, people.

The Artful Dodger

Yesterday I drove across Florida, Alabama, Mississippi, and Louisiana, on my way to see my son and his family in Dallas. More than once I encountered torrential thunderstorms that reduced visibility to less than a handspan.

My knuckles are still bone white from holding the steering wheel in a death grip. At least most of my fellow travelers kept their speed in check; although, occasionally a hotshot would come barreling willy nilly through the downpour as if the roads were dry and the sun shining fiercely. I'd have flipped them the bird if I hadn't feared taking my hand off the wheel.

In addition to dodging the aforementioned would-be NASCAR drivers, I also had to avoid an odd variety of other objects, including, but not limited to the following:

1) a blue and orange striped beach chair
2) one canvas bag approximately three feet long.
3) an infant car seat (no baby, thank goodness!)
4) a tennis shoe

But the best thing I had to dodge was a large alligator. He was dead, thank goodness, but still gave me a fright as I saw him just in the nick of time. Apparently some other driver wasn't as fortunate as I'd been.

Hopefully today, as I head north and west away from the coast, the weather won't be as crazy, the drivers less aggressive, and the gators safely in their proper habitats. I'm tired of being the artful dodger.

Peace, people!

Driving Home

In another life I might have been a truck driver or a race driver or even a cab driver. The act of driving is one I thoroughly enjoy. Others seem oblivious, though, to the joys.

One afternoon this week I sat at a stop light and watched as the twenty-something woman in the car next to mine immediately slouched into her seat and began texting on her phone once her brakes fully engaged. 

For a few seconds I watched her intently typing a message–most likely something earth shattering like, “LOLZ!” Or “WTF man?!” before I scanned the other traffic around me that included an unevenly loaded trailer two cars ahead and a motorcycle with a dangerously low tire in front of my texting friend. In addition a group of elderly pedestrians was crossing at the indicated walkway a few car lengths in front of me.

My texting friend noted none of this. In fact, once the light changed to green she continued to sit and text only moving forward when those behind her began honking their displeasure.

This isn’t a treatise on safe driving; although, as a motorcyclist few things infuriate me more than a driver who texts while behind the wheel. No, this is a post about noticing one’s surroundings and enjoying the drive.

Many years ago (I might’ve even been a teenager!) I read a fluff piece in a doctor’s office magazine about the connection between women and driving. The magazine, I recall, was a religious publication, perhaps Guidepost, or something similar. Something about that article stuck with me all these years, even though I couldn’t quote a single word from it if my life depended on it.

The heart of the article was that women had gained a great deal of freedom in the preceding decades (this was probably written in 1975) and that perhaps the greatest freedom outside of being able to vote was that of being able to drive, and with that freedom came great responsibility.

The author of the article noted that female drivers always looked proud and responsible, that they seemed particularly aware of their surroundings and relished their independence. The author went on to say that since female drivers often had children in tow they seemed to take extra care with their precious cargo and to spend time pointing out interesting and educational sights along their routes.

Perhaps I was young and impressionable, but I took that article at face value and decided that I’d be an exemplary driver–and I probably succeed 85% of the time. 

I enjoy engaging with the road, noting how different driving surfaces interact with my tires. I love solving the puzzle of traffic, figuring out where my vehicle fits into the bigger picture as Car A moves into the space vacated by Car D while avoiding Pedestrians X, Y, and Z. And I’m keen on listening to the engine and how the gears shift in the transmission.

When our children were small I helped them learn to read by calling attention to billboards and signs on the sides of trucks. Our youngest could spell “Toyota” before her third birthday.  And time spent at stop lights wasn’t wasted either as we sang along to the radio or counted the number of blue, or red, or white cars around us.

Maybe my texting friend will at some point look up from her screen and realize there’s more to driving than pressing on the gas pedal and steering the wheel. Let’s just hope she doesn’t get rear-ended before then.

Peace, people!

  

Skating By

slipping on black ice
skittering wildly on by
hoping for a brake.

  
once out of control
look out kiddies, here i come
screaming yeehaw, y’all!

  
’round and ’round again
spinning donuts whip whapping
as hood chases boot.

  
May I never have to drive on snow and ice again.

Peace, people!

One for the Road

This morning I set out from Doright Manor near Tallahassee, Florida, on a trip to see my daughter and her family in Illinois. I’ll tally over a thousand miles on the trip to Illinois, necessitating an overnight stop.

Right now I’m relaxing in my hotel room in Paducah, Kentucky. Paducah is a pleasant community, home of the National Quilt Museum and a terrific arts and antiques district. On this trip, though, I’m only seeing the inside of my room.

 

Part of a Japanese quilt exhibit from 2013
  
Dream Catcher quilt

 
Friends and family wondered why I decided to drive rather than fly, and to be honest a couple of hundred miles back I was wondering the same thing. Driving all day in sometimes brutal interstate highway traffic has every muscle in my body wound tightly and in desperate need of a massage. 
 
if only!
 
In spite of that I enjoy driving when I have the time. It gives me a sense of control that flying doesn’t. I have my own car at my disposal instead of needing to rent or commandeer one at my destination.
Early on this morning I promised myself I would resist the impulse to load up on junk foods and diet sodas during my journey. In fact, I decided I’d stick to healthy foods only.

That promise lasted for approximately an hour into my drive when I stopped to use the ladies room at a Burger King and exited the establishment with a large diet Dr. Pepper and a cinnamon roll. 

 

Pretty sure my cinnamon roll topped 500 calories.
 
It all went downhill from there, but I do think there might’ve been a carrot or two in my Mexican food dinner. The lime in the Corona Light I had an hour ago was most likely the healthiest part of my day. Note to self: must do better tomorrow.

  
Paducah is more than half way to my daughter’s home, and there aren’t any major metropolitan areas between here and there. If I get up early I can be there by early afternoon. And tomorrow, I’m eating healthy! Although, I think there’s a Krispy Kreme on my route….

  
Peace, people!