Thursday, July 26, 2007

Driving Me Mad

You have got to love the oblivious driver, they make the rest of us feel quite good about ourselves, don't they? I live in the land of the optional turn signal and where the yellow lines are more like suggestions than actual rules. I don't mind it, really, I feel like a NASCAR driver even when I'm just going to the grocery store. Makes things much more exciting and you're never bored as you run the risk of a spectacular crash everytime you leave your garage. I actually saw a woman reading a magazine as she drove past my house the other day, gotta keep up on "Us Weekly" no matter what, right? I mean, really, Britney might have given birth in the bathroom of McDonald's or Lindsey might have become a nun and you wouldn't know about it. I know how important it is so feel free to run over my kid as he crosses the street, I'll make sure he doesn't mess up your paint job or get any blood on your tires, that would just be RUDE, wouldn't it? By all means, check your email while you're at it, saw a guy doing this last week as we were hurtling down the highway at 65 m.p.h....well, I was going 65, he blew past me like I was standing still. Only rarely do you get the glorious satisfaction of seeing the very same speeder that blew your doors off four miles ago pulled over by a cop. It doesn't happen often, but you'll never forget the feeling when you experience it, trust me.

I am currently engaged in guerilla warfare with the people who constantly speed up and down my RESIDENTIAL street. The posted limit is 30 miles per hour, they average about 40. It may not seem like much, but when your kid is attempting to cross the street to play with a friend, it's terrifying to hear a car going much faster than it should closing in on your child. After fruitlessly begging the city fathers to do something, like a well placed stop sign, my neighbor across the street and I have taken matters into our own hands. First we got signs in our yards that simply made the polite request, "We Live Here. Drive 25", short and sweet. The rest of the neighbors loved the signs, even random people at the grocery store who happened to know which house is mine told me how great they thought my little sign was. All was well, I would see drivers looking at my sign and then checking their speedometers. YAY!! At least they're thinking about it, that's what we really wanted to accomplish. After a couple of weeks, we were told to remove our signs as they violated city really, I'm not kidding. Little 24 inch by 24 inch signs, in our yards, were breaking the law. After reading a copy of the ordinance (one of the most mind numbing collections of words I've ever read), I did establish that indeed, my sign did violate the ordinance. But so did every other sign in someone's yard, we're talking "Support Our Troops", "A Gardener Lives Here" or even a "Welcome" sign, they are all in violation. I called our chief of police (who also lives across the alley from me) and asked him if he was prepared to ask everyone in town with a "We Support Our Troops" sign to take in down or face a ticket. Especially considering the fact that our local National Guard unit has been deployed in Baghdad for almost two years. He really didn't have a response to that, but I haven't been asked to take my sign down again...hee hee hee.

Unfortunately, both of our signs have been stolen by persons unknown so we've had to try another tactic with the speeders on our street. My neighbor and I both bought three or four brightly colored playground balls that live in baskets by both our front steps. From time to time a ball somehow manages to leap out of the basket and make its way across the street to visit its bretheren at the other house. Oddly enough, this usually coincides with someone speeding down my street, I can't explain it. And neither can the driver, once he's pried his brake pedal out of the floorboards. Funny how those things just happen, isn't it?