Category Archives: streets

Roadway Droppings

Depending on commute time, you can spend a lot of time in your car each day.

Probably a third of life is spent in the car.

Sure, cities say, help the environment….carpool.  What about my mental health?  Carpooling does nothing to help that precious, limited environment.  Who wants to be stuck in a box with a random bunch of strangers with odd habits?

  • Mouth breather
  • Teeth sucker
  • Strange body odor, that you can’t quite figure out
  • Constant talker
  • One upper/know it all/celebrity in their own mind
  • Nose picker/sniffler/throat clearer
  • Continual noise creator: singer, whistler, chatter…anything to fill the silence
  • Cell phone communicator on YELL volume tendency
  • The Convertor to my way of ……fill in the blank for whatever belief.
  • Just to name a few….

Having to go to work on a Monday is annoyance enough, thanks.

There we all are, thousands of us, shuffling along the highway, heading to our cubicles and walls of importance.

Sigh.

Side note: Whoever invented the actual cupholder for the car, rather than the plastic clip you put into the window lip, was a genius.  How many years filled with hot coffee crotches did it take for them to figure that out?

Our car is a little metal box of comfort.  We can reflect on the day’s list of events, review talking points for the upcoming meeting, ponder what the hell that dream meant last night, sing at the top of our lungs, talk to ourselves about the idiocy of our boss/wife/husband/sibling/friend or yell back at the talk radio commentary.  It’s similar to a therapy session crossed with a UFC match blended with a PBS documentary on daily life.  Fascinating and nobody gives a rip.

As you sit in traffic, it gives you time to reflect on the beauty that surrounds you.

Including the garbage. Plastic bags, cigarette butts, plastic bottles, garage sale signs, rope, wood slats, tarps, traffic cones and random bits of junk.  Then there’s the odd balls.

Car batteries and appliances.  Obviously, they’ve been dumped.  Easy to imagine a pick up truck slowing down on the highway in the cover of night and dark clothed individual in the back….quickly pushing the items off the back.

TVs are in the same category.  This is especially true if you come along a stretch of highway where they are plentiful.  There’s one stretch in the desert near my mom’s house and it’s littered with car batteries and TVs.  Like cactus.  It’s interesting.  When you drive through, you count to see if more have arrived.  Did they come on the last bus?  What flight just arrived?  I swear last time there were only four in that cluster, now there’s six.  Are they multiplying on purpose?

Seat cushions and dresser drawers.  Now those are poopers to loose.  They’re part of a set.  Did they fly out of the back of a truck on moving day? Are you going to drive back through where you came from and look for them?  What if you were moving across country?  Kinda hard to explain mixing and matching your seat cushions or dresser drawers.  Not like you can buy them in aisle 4 of Home Depot.  And what if it starts raining?  Or someone runs over your seat cushion?  Total failure at that point.  Might as well keep on going.  Guess you’re getting a new sofa.

Mattresses are a different story.  They could be dropped on purpose, to avoid the dump charge.  Or perhaps, they simply gave out.  Their flying engine booster cable expired and they simply fell from the sky.  Their magical genie was able to continue to on to safety, however the flying….oh wait….I was thinking of a flying carpet.   Never mind.

Have you ever noticed the amount of shoes you see on the road?  Last night a single slipper.  Tan with fake fleece lining. Lots of shoes.  It’s amazing.  Always only one.  What are people doing?  Taking their shoes off in the car and throwing them out the windows?  I HATE YOU SHOE!  You would think they’re going to need that shoe.  Sometimes you see the shoe-mate a few miles further down the road.  At least, if you needed a pair of shoes you could stop and pick them up.  Could be your size.

Speaking of shoes….what about socks? I saw one the other day along the road.  It was navy blue.  Mid-calf height.  Now why would a sock be on the side of the road?  Seriously.  Who is taking their socks off on the highway?  Last time I checked, the deer weren’t wearing socks.

Then there are the toys.  Tragic.  I imagine some kid thinking their stuffed friend wants to smell the air as they zip down the highway.  And poof.  Out the window they go.  Or perhaps the stuffed friend had been rescued by a community refuse receptacle displacementologist, who had strapped them to the grill of their vehicle.  Sadly, the stuffed friend could no longer endure the intake of bugs or simply had enough motion sickness and decided to jump off. Laying along the roadway was a better life than speeding along at the blur of a Concord.

I confess, this year, I lost an antler going down the highway.  Yep. An antler.  Norman, my little car lost an antler.  Completely forgot to tape down his magical reindeer antlers to the windows and when I opened it a crack for air off it went.  For a brief moment, since we were in the standard standstill “practice your patience” traffic, I did ponder stopping to pick it up but thought better of it.  So for the day, Norman was a unicorn.

Hands down, the strangest thing I have ever found along the roadway?

A set of dentures.

 

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Pardon Me, Where Was That?

It dawned on me today, I have no idea where I live.

No clue.

Heaven help me if someone were to ask me for directions. Wait, they already did. The conversation went as follows:

“So where are you guys living in Smalltown?”

Oh, we are near the Landing.

“What road is that?”

Blink. Blink. Blink.
Well, shit. I have no fucking idea what road.

I can’t blame it entirely on modern technology. You see, every day Elvis tells me what route to take to and from work. He doesn’t say street names. He just says things like, “In a quarter mile, turn left.” I have to read the GPS map to see the street names.

Even though I’m looking at the GPS, I’m not reading the street name. I’m looking at the line ahead and thinking, okay, I near to make a 90 degree left turn in 1/2 mile….or I need to curve to the right, but not really turn right in the next 30 seconds.

Sad, but true.

Even before I discovered Elvis, I can still quite honestly say, “I have no idea what road.”

Yes, I live in a development, well people want to know what street that’s off of.

It’s a two land road, just like all the others, right off the main highway, you know that one that goes North and South? Yes, but what is that? Is that Route 35? Route 21? Route 4?

I don’t know. We are at the fork in the road. Quite literally.

You know the spot. There’s a Walgreen’s, then a Costco, that Paws Wet Nose day care is across the street, which is next to Dave’s Supreme Body Building. The post office isn’t far from us. If you go down the road about a half mile and turn left there is a cute yellow house and a big Catholic church.

They ask, “Well it’s near the lake right?”

There’s a lake? Where? No, I don’t think we’re near the lake. We’re near the Landing, but not a lake.

Isn’t Donnelly Funeral Home near you?

What? I have no idea. There is a funeral home, across from the Post Office. It has a small parking lot and is next door to my chiropractor. Is that the one you’re talking about?

“No, I don’t think you’re near the lake.”

Well no shit, Sherlock.

Then they want to know the name of the development we’re in. Unfortunately, by this time in the conversation, my brain has exhausted itself trying to remember a street name. Now you want to know what the name of the development is? Dear Lord, I know it is a red sign with red flags. There are huge power lines that run along the side and there’s a bunch of trees. We get coyotes, turkeys and lots of frogs….at night mostly. Is there an area signed up for those three creatures?

You see, had you not been quizzing me about the streets, I could have very easily told you the name of the development.

This is when it dawned on me….I have no clue where we live.

The problem is, I grew lazy with street names. When I lived in Alaska, this is exactly how I gave directions for getting to our house:

At the McDonald’s intersection turn right.
Go down till you see Amerigas on the right and turn left at that light.
Take the first left past the Duck Pond.
Our house is the one that looks like Hanzel and Gretel live there.
We’re on the right.

People found our house every time.

Well, duh. Who can’t find a house if you identify what landmark is on the corner, versus those little tiny green street signs? If I’m not watching the GPS map that Elvis provides, it’s very likely I drive right past my turn….I can’t see those damn signs until they’re in my review mirror and even then it’s a nano-second visual.

And why are there NO street signs identifying the street you’re traveling on? Yeah, it’s all fine and dandy that I just passed Pilgrim Drive, Rock Avenue, Main Street, Columbus Drive….Broadway. But WHAT IS THIS STREET? No signage.

Heaven forbid you’d need to know. I’m at the corner of Repent Row and cute purple Cape Cod style house, you know the one with the lavender bushes along the white picket fence? Butts right up to a house with yellow, almost gold trim and dark blue siding. On Thursdays and alternate Saturdays they offer a miniature petting zoo for little kids… Oh YEAH! Nope. Not a clue.

To combat this, I’ve tried to call out my street names when Elvis advises me I’m going to be turning. Usually my drive home takes me the same way for the first half. I did pretty good today. The problem though….too many alphabet streets. Christ.

Left on A.
Right on G.
Right on K.
Left on C.

L M N O P….

Really, when did C get behind K?

I won’t even go into how many Commercial Roads, School Lanes, State Streets, Main Avenues and Quarry Drives there are around here. You would think they’re all connected. NOT.

To compound matters, there’s all the routes. Route 3, 7, 12, 21, 34, 73, 666, 102, 54. Seriously. Okay, there’s no Route 666, but somedays there may as well be and I’m on the People Mover Express.

This is also the reason I need Elvis to guide me, cause I have no clue where I’m actually going. And listening to the traffic report in the morning is utterly useless.

“We have a slow down on the 22 all the way back to 48 with the A Street artery cut off. Traffic is picking up on the 78 as you approach the curve but forget about the 127-South and 11-North, those are stand stills all the way back to Downtown Abby. Watch out for the accident on Commercial Drive as you come out of the 509 Exit ramp, the pigs are flying with chocolate covered bacon candy bars throughout the expressway heading west and the due north lanes are just clogged for the 2 right hand 33 westward lanes.”

Yeah, whatever. I think learning Japanese might be easier.

Today, strangely enough, I did pretty darn well on the first half of the drive. However, before I get to the roundabout, I start to pray to the roundabout fairy to get me safely over to “the second exit.” Those things are death traps. Want to give someone a punishment? Send them through these Boston roundabouts. Total and utter chaos. It’s like all of the sudden 4 year olds are behind the wheel. Forget they can’t reach the gas pedal….they have no idea where they’re going.

Once safely pass the guillotine that is the roundabout, I continue on my putt-putt of a drive and eventually have a EUREKA moment.

I know where I’m at! Well, I don’t actually know where I’m at…but I recognize enough to turn off Elvis and continue forth without guidance. It literally goes like this:

Stay to the right, go to the bottom of the hill where the weird boarded up house on stilts is at and go straight.
Continue straight past the fire house and house with unique brick pattern.
Veer to the left at the lovely purple house.
Ignore Elvis when he tells you to turn left after the old gas station, go straight.
Turn right past the big white church….you are homeward bound!

Yes, it’s true. this is how I know where to go. Visuals. Not words on a tiny sign.

The best part of my trip, is at the end when Elvis comes on and says, “You have reached your destination. Ahhh thank you, thank you very much.”

Whew, victory yet again! This production could not be possible without the contribution of Elvis and the Waze app on my iPhone. “Let’s rock and roll baby!”