I have this new square gig where I drive around a lot. And by “a lot” I mean a-fucking-lot, eight or ten thousand miles a month; more miles than most people drive in a year. That much time in a car, it becomes a learning experience. You see things, hear things and think things that are, by turns, funny, goofy, and/or completely rat-panic crazy…
Traveling through Louisiana, along I-12, one passes a sign directing motorists toward Baptist Pumpkin Center. My thoughts the first time I passed it ran something like: Fuck me, in the South even the gourds have religion. But why Baptist pumpkins? Wouldn’t the land be better off with a nice Unitarian Pumpkin Center? Furthermore, do pumpkins even have souls? And if they do, doesn’t carving up their flesh every October seem just a tad, I dunno, rude?
If a state must have a center for pumpkins, why not dispense with religion altogether and erect a straight-up Louisiana Pumpkin Center? I myself would like to see opened the Evidentiary Rationalism Pumpkin Center.
Fines Doubled for Speeding
The entire Texas highway system is currently under construction. You can’t drive more than five miles without encountering those little orange signs warning you of the fact, and informing you that fines for speeding in construction zones are doubled. But here’s the thing. It’s not always obvious, upon entering a Work Zone, that there is any work being done in it at all. Certainly, in Dallas and your other larger burgs, signs of work are all around—equipment, large machines, off-duty lawdogs, and guys in bright vests. But in the hinterlands, of which Texas is largely composed, you come upon a warning sign, along with its constant, obnoxious companion the reduced-speed notice, travel along for a number of miles, and then pass another sign offering the happy news that you are exiting the work area, and are now free, presumably, to travel at speed. And then it hits you that during the whole of that last Work Zone journey you passed not a single workman, not a single piece of earthmoving equipment, not a single orange cone, not even a single clod of upturned earth. But you almost always see a fricking cop.
After some thought, it hit me what’s happening in the Lone Star State. They have no sales tax in Texas, a fact their politicians continually crow about, yet without ever mentioning the state’s high property taxes, which are, to land owners, the rough equivalent of a state-sponsored asshole resizing program. But since not everyone is fortunate enough to own property, the state must fill its coffers somehow, and thus, I believe, was born the Non-Work Work Zone. Put up some warning signs, reduce the speed limits, stick a cop out there, double the fines, then sit back and listen to the whimsical jingle of cash registers.
In no time you’ll be able to fund a new stadium for that bunch of losers and malcontents called the Dallas Cowboys.
Short Sharp Shit: Randomness
In a truck stop north of New Orleans, I watched a beautiful Filipino lady playing around with her cell phone. She placed a call, and began speaking to the other party…in a rich, thick Cajun accent • If you drive while smoking an electronic cigarette, the cops will think you are doing the marijuana with a one-hitter and pull you over. Then they will not act even remotely abashed when they learn the truth. Fuckers • If you leave town for eight days and do not take your trash out before departing, you come home to find that your house smells like Shamu’s asshole • On some backwoods highway in Mississippi, I came up behind a Smart Car. It was painted the color of canned salmon, festooned with Betty Boop stickers, and wore a vanity plate that read: I♥PINK. Passing it, I looked over at the driver. He was 75 if he was a day, shirtless, and sported a Stars-and-Stripes doo-rag • A trucker in Encinal, Texas, told me that a lot lizard offered to blow him for forty bucks. For fifty bucks, she’d take out her teeth • Armadillos are suicidal • Any town where the hot place to hang out on Friday night is the parking lot of a Flying J, is not a town where I would like to live • It’s a damn shame that so many luxury cars do not come equipped with turn signals • The DFW highways were designed by an infant, an infant that was given a fistful of mushrooms and forced to spend the entirety of its short life reading Russian novelists.
Never Arriving at Your Destination…On Right
The Garmin company can pucker up and smooch my hairy nutsack. Their GPS devices have very much their own ideas about getting you from Point A to Point B—usually by way of Point Ω. Let’s say you pull up to an intersection. The sign says I35 W Right, I35 E Left. Your Garmin is very likely to tell you to turn Left onto I35 W, and then you have a decision to make. Does the little electronic bastard mean you want I35 W? Or does it want you to turn Left? And it’s a 50/50 shot you’ll pick the right one, because sometimes it means the road and other times it means the direction. God damn. You’re better off following a flock of migrating pelicans.
Left Lane/Right Lane
And finally, in the state of Texas there are exactly seven people who know how to operate a motor vehicle. I know. I’ve counted them.
So, here’s an ounce of advice for the remaining gazillion: the left lane is for passing. Put even more simply, left lane FAST, right lane SLOW.
If you find yourself motoring along in the left lane, and other cars are whizzing by you in the right lane, or backing up behind you in your own personal convoy—get the fuck over! Pay attention to what’s going on around you, hang up your phone, get over your fucking delusion that you have been designated a highway hall monitor, you stupid, ignorant, ugly, Xanax-addled, yammering, gibbering, apathetic, IQ-of-a-field-mouse, Twitter-account-for-your-pocket-dog, your-mamma-never-hugged-you, wanna-run-you-off-the-road-and-watch-you-die-in-a-gas-fire, passive-aggressive COCKSUCKER!
Shit… Now I’m all outta breath. And I need whiskey.