Tag Archives: driving

Im-pick-able Timing

All my life, I’ve had issues with timing.

If there was a ‘worst possible’ time to attempt something, I would nail it.  In grade school, the other kids could whisper and pass notes all throughout class; but if I tried it even once, I got busted by the teacher instantly.

Same with clothing problems.  Anybody can have a wardrobe malfunction1, but mine occur at the worst possible moments.  (Then again, I suppose there’s no good time for a wardrobe malfunction.)

When I was running for a bus and my shoe flew off, it didn’t happen on the sidewalk.  No, the perfidious shoe launched itself off my foot while I was dashing across the middle of a busy six-lane street during rush hour.  Fortunately I didn’t get creamed by traffic or ticketed for jaywalking.  Or would that be jayrunning…?

And the one and only time my underwear elastic failed, it was while… you guessed it… I was running for a bus.  Fortunately I’d worn pants that day; so instead of dropping to my ankles and tripping me into the path of an oncoming truck, the errant undies only slithered down my hips and hung up on the crotch of my pants.  It wasn’t the most comfortable sensation in the world, but at least I didn’t get murdered by my own gitch.  (That’s yet another reason why I avoid wearing dresses.  Just think:  If I’d worn a dress that day they might still be picking my pieces out of a truck grille.  Dresses are hazardous to your health.)

Anyway…

Let’s talk about red lights.  You know those controller devices that emergency vehicles use to switch the traffic lights in their favour when they’re responding to a call?  Well, apparently I have one of those things implanted in my body… only it switches the traffic lights against me.

It’s actually a hereditary condition – my dad had the same problem.  If my stepmom was driving through the town near their place, she’d sail right through with green lights all the way; but if Dad was driving every light would turn red, every time.  I can’t drive through that town without hitting all the red lights, either.  Just when I think “This time I’m going to make it!” the light changes with impeccable timing.

This problem is so much a part of me that I rarely even think of it anymore.  I usually just accept it and move on… until this week, when it jumped up and bit me again.

I was sitting in my favourite chair enjoying the view from our upstairs window.  We live on a dead-end road out in the sticks, so vehicular traffic is sparse and pedestrians are practically nonexistent.

So I was looking out at the mountains absently rubbing my nose… when I lowered my gaze in time to spot a lone man hiking along, staring up at me at the precise moment I was apparently picking my nose.

Argh!

But it could have been worse.  At least I wasn’t having a wardrobe malfunction as well…

Anybody else plagued with timing issues?

* * *

1Here’s a commercial that didn’t get aired during this year’s Superbowl, but I wish it had:

The view that bit me in the, um… nose.

 

36 Comments

Filed under Humour, Life

It’s A Sport

When we made the decision to move to Vancouver Island in British Columbia, we psyched ourselves up for big changes:  rain and gloom in the winter; exorbitantly priced government-administered auto insurance; and laid-back ‘Island Time’ instead of Calgary’s relentless work-hard-play-hard drive.

And speaking of ‘drive’…

Even before we moved, I had an inkling that driving might be, um… different here.  If I was travelling 110 km/hr in Alberta and a vehicle passed me as though I was standing still, I knew it would be either a white Alberta half-ton (for some reason white Alberta half-tons always speed) or a vehicle with BC plates.  And when we went on a holiday a few years ago in the BC interior, we discovered that if we weren’t driving 30 km/hr over the speed limit we were obstructing traffic.

So, fine.  I moved here believing that BC drivers are speed demons.

But they’re not.  They’re just totally nuts.

BC drivers are oblivious to speed limits.  They may travel at 30 km/hr over the posted limit, but they’re equally likely to dip 30 km/hr under the limit for no apparent reason.  And they don’t choose a speed and drive it consistently.  Oh, hell no; that would be boring.  A vehicle pottering along at 80 km/hr in a 120 zone will probably whoosh past doing 140 only a few minutes later.

And passing is a competitive sport here – a slow-moving vehicle is only a fiendish ruse.  The driver toodles along until I signal a lane change and pull up alongside his vehicle, and then he accelerates to match my speed.  And accelerates.  And accelerates some more, until we’re hurtling along side by side much faster than I wanted to go.

When I capitulate and pull in behind him he immediately slows well below the posted limit, all ready to play again when I make another attempt to pass.

If somebody did that on the prairies, I’d know they were purposely messing with me.  But here, the driver just smiles vacantly through the windshield as though he doesn’t have a clue I’m even there.  Hell, he probably doesn’t.  He’s floating along in a happy cannabis-tinted world of his own making.

It’s a testament to the idiocy out here that I drove Calgary’s Deerfoot Trail this December with a sigh of relief.  The Deerfoot is a freeway that cuts through the middle of the city, varying from six to twelve lanes wide and featuring bumper-to-bumper traffic weaving in and out at 100 km/hr.  And I turned to Hubby and said, “Should I be concerned that I’m finding this a relaxing and pleasantly predictable drive?”

But that doesn’t mean I want to move back to Calgary.  Oh hell NO.  The 800+ bulbs I planted last fall are already poking their noses out of the ground, our heather is in bloom, and our baby rhododendrons have fat promising buds.  Spring is just around the corner here, and for that I’m willing to hone my defensive-driving skills.  Like the rest of the BC drivers, I’ll just consider it a sport.

As long as it doesn’t become a full-contact sport, everything will be fine…

P.S. I’m risking my life and sanity doing a road trip today, so I’ll check in this afternoon.  ‘Talk’ to you then!

33 Comments

Filed under Humour, Life

Slipping Through The Crack(s)

Every now and then when life gets too stressful, my friends and I head for the mountains.  Our day trips always include good food, window-shopping, a soak in the mineral hot springs, and, of course, gut-busting laughter.

A couple of weeks ago we made another jaunt to Banff, a day I cherished since I know I’ll miss my friends and our road trips after Hubby and I move to the coast.  We managed to complete the hour-and-a-half drive acting like actual adults:  Chatting and exclaiming over the scenery that remains spectacular no matter how often we visit.

But then (as it frequently seems to happen when I’m involved) we reverted to the mental age of thirteen.  To protect the guilty, I’ll identify my companions only as J, L, and Swamp Butt.  Yes, there’s a good reason for that nickname.

Here’s how it started:  In the restaurant at lunch, Swamp Butt and I claimed the banquette seat with our backs to the wall while J and L chose chairs across from us.  I had just settled in when a sudden movement made me glance over toward Swamp Butt… who was canted away from me at a steep angle, ass pointing in my direction while she muttered something about ‘the crack’.

Apparently the look on my face was priceless, because J and L burst into uproarious laughter.  By the time Swamp Butt managed to explain that she was only scooting over on the bench because she’d been sitting on ‘the crack’ between the banquette cushions, we were all in tears of hilarity.

Which primed us nicely for what happened later.

After a lunch of rich food and beer followed later by a gigantic dinner and more beer, Swamp Butt was living up to her nickname.  We managed to maintain a semblance of composure while she walked along crop dusting the streets of Banff, but just as we got into J’s vehicle for the drive home she cracked off another fart that clung like a vile cloak when she got into the vehicle.

Gasping, gagging, and giggling, we all powered down our windows and rode out the stink.

It was late, and we subsided into tired but happy silence on the drive home… until halfway back to Calgary when the quiet was broken by the sound of Swamp Butt’s window powering down.

In the next instant the rest of us simultaneously slammed our windows open, causing another paroxysm of laughter; especially when the sudden burst of highway-speed turbulence sucked an unsecured shopping bag up from the floor.  I snagged it just before it soared out the window, generating a volley of badinage about what a ‘crack’ team we are.

Swamp Butt didn’t let any more slip and we all made it home unscathed, but it’s a testament to the power of aversive conditioning how quickly our reflexes developed.

And it’s a testament to the power of friendship that our day will become yet another funny shared memory that binds us together regardless of geographic distance.

These precious friendships will never slip through the cracks… despite anything else that may slip through ‘the crack’!

13 Comments

Filed under Humour, Life

Self-Driving Auto-Paranoia

A couple of days ago I discovered an article about how and when a self-driving car should be programmed to injure or kill its passengers.  It’s an alarming proposition, but it’s actually a valid point:  if the car has to choose between wiping out ten pedestrians or only its driver, simple logic says it should choose the lesser number of casualties.

But the realization that my future vehicle may be plotting to kill me makes me just a wee bit mistrustful of technology.

Or, in my case, more mistrustful of technology.  I’ve never been good at leaving my safety in the hands (circuits?) of inanimate objects.  (Or even animate objects, for that matter.  I’m a lousy passenger even with a human driver – I spend as much time watching the road as the driver does.  But that’s another story.)

My point is, I’m suspicious of any electronic device that wants to make decisions for me.

Take my GPS, for instance.  The lady inside my GPS can usually get me where I want to go, but she’s not always good at it.  When we’re in unfamiliar territory, Hubby usually drives while I navigate.  Theoretically the GPS should be all we need, but I never go anywhere without a paper map; partly because my GPS has a tendency to announce “Low battery!” and/or lose its satellite connection at critical moments, but mostly because I don’t trust it to choose the best route.

I can set it to ‘faster time’ (which is usually dog-slow) or ‘shortest distance’ (synonymous for ‘via goat-paths and dodgy neighbourhoods’), but there’s no setting for ‘common sense’.  So, after a few forays through dense forest on steep roads no wider than our car (though, as the GPS insisted, that road was technically ‘paved’) our trips have become a power struggle between the GPS and me.

The GPS lady says, “In… two hundred metres… turn left.”

And I say, “Ignore that.  It doesn’t know what it’s doing.  Keep going straight.”

Hubby, like all husbands with a modicum of self-preservation, silently follows my directions while the GPS says in snotty tones, “Recalculating.  In… one hundred metres… make a U-turn.”

Me:  “Ignore that.  Keep going.”

GPS (getting cranky):  “Recalculating.  In… three kilometres… TURN LEFT, IDIOT!”

Me:  “Ignore that…”

Given the choice, I’d rather have an up-to-date paper map and only use the GPS to pinpoint the location of the nearest Dairy Queen.  (And don’t get me wrong; that’s a critical function.  I need frequent ice cream breaks when I’m on the road.)

But antagonizing my GPS is probably a bad idea, because the new cars will have them built in.  And if a hostile GPS triggers the ‘kill-the-driver’ algorithm, I could be in serious trouble.

On the surface, the self-driving car seems utopian:  I could be snoozing or reading or snacking while my car takes me safely and efficiently to my destination.  But in reality I’d probably end up sitting in the driver’s seat with both hands on the wheel, simultaneously watching the road and keeping a wary eye on the car in case it tries to kill me.

But maybe I’m just paranoid.

Or maybe that’s not a ‘maybe’…

* * *

And speaking of technology… there’s a new discussion over at the Virtual Backyard Book Club:  Aydan’s Tech Gadgets – Love ‘Em Or Hate ‘Em?  Click here to have your say!

50 Comments

Filed under Commentary, Humour, Life

Zen, Shmen.

Sometimes a lifetime of voracious reading is an advantage; other times, not so much.  On the upside, as long as I have a book (or newspaper or magazine or propaganda pamphlet or even a shampoo bottle with text on the label) I’ll never be bored.

On the downside, having a bottomless well of trivia in one’s brain isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.  I know what to do in just about any situation, but it’s not always practicable to do it.

For example, I know how to make a gas mask out of an empty bleach bottle, a bulletproof vest out of Bibles, and a deadly weapon out of a newspaper.  I sincerely hope I’ll never be in a situation where I need these skills.  But if I were, I suspect that the chances of actually having an empty bleach bottle, a stack of Bibles, or a newspaper are slim to none.

In the non-lethal side of my reading, I’ve also absorbed a startling variety of random information:  Business and marketing and writing tips out the ying-yang, of course; but also fascinating factoids on everything from neuroplasticity, Buddhism, and quantum physics to Wicca, time management, and mindfulness meditation.

The latter two came to mind last weekend while I was broiling in my car at a dead stop in bumper-to-bumper traffic.  There’s something about a traffic jam that ratchets my blood pressure up to Vesuvius levels.  It’s part claustrophobia and part resentment over the waste of my all-too-scant ‘spare’ time.

The time management books tell me that sitting in traffic is an ideal time to plan to-do lists and so forth, but I think they underestimate my powers of concentration.  (Which is a polite way to say I’m incapable of driving and thinking at the same time.)  If I started plotting Book 12 while sitting in a traffic jam, I’d blink back to reality two hours later still parked in the same place while infuriated drivers honked and swerved around me, spewing invective and flipping me the universal gesture of fellowship and goodwill.

Or how about Zen and mindfulness?  I should ‘be in the moment’.  There was no emergency; I wasn’t late for any appointments; and there were absolutely no negative consequences that could result from my slowdown.  I should just breathe.  Relax and enjoy the downtime.

Zen, shmen.  I knew a detour that would take me to my destination via the back ways and save me oodles of time!

Or not.

In the traffic jam, I had noticed that the black minivan ahead of me had a distinctive set of those little family-caricature decals on the back.  When I finally made it to my destination half an hour after winding through a series of convoluted back streets, guess what I saw in front of me?  That same damn minivan.  Apparently it took precisely the same amount of time to inch through the traffic jam as it had taken me to follow my complicated detour.

That took a bit of the shine off my triumph, but not as much as you might think.  I’d rather be actively driving than sitting in traffic for the same amount of time.  And at least nobody yelled or flipped me off.

Zen traffic meditator or complex detour planner – which are you?  And what’s the most obscure thing you’ve learned lately?

* * *

New discussion over at the VBBC:  Blue Eddy:  Man of Mystery.  What do you really know about Eddy?  Click here to have your say!

41 Comments

Filed under Humour, Life

Hot Cars And Warm Memories

Woohoo! The new cover for Book 2: THE SPY IS CAST is finally ready!  Playing with the Audi R8 was fabulous, and it brought back memories, too.

I’d love to blame the long delay on ‘circumstances beyond my control’, but the truth is I’m doing the covers myself and it took so long because I’m short on ‘spare’ time and dog-slow at Photoshop. But hey, I’m getting better! By the time I’ve finished updating all the covers, I should be a pro. (Or, more likely, a trained chimpanzee repeating rote behaviours without grasping the underlying concepts, but whatever. It kinda looks the same to anybody who isn’t a pro themselves.)

Anyway, without further ado, here it is:

I’m pleased with the sophisticated gray-on-gray (no, not Fifty Shades) look, and I’m thrilled to have a real R8 in the picture! When I wrote the book, I never dreamed I’d actually end up sitting in the car of my literary fantasies. Many thanks to Doug S. and the staff at Glenmore Audi for letting me do the photo shoot at their dealership!

My only regret is that I didn’t ask to go for a ride in the R8, but I’m not too sad about missing out. It isn’t right to make a car like that slog along in Calgary traffic, and there’s no place around here where it could really strut its stuff. But even though I didn’t go for a cruise, the thought of riding in a hot car brought back a happy memory for me.

I’m not sure whether a love of high-performance automobiles is genetic or learned, but either way I was destined to inherit it. My dad’s dream car was a 1966 Corvette Stingray with the 427 big-block, and sometime in the mid-70s he bought one. (Aydan’s 1966 ‘Vette in the Never Say Spy series is based on my dad’s car. Are you surprised? Nah, I didn’t think so.)

We lived out in the country on gravel roads that weren’t Corvette-friendly, and Dad lived a busy life. The ‘Vette didn’t get driven very often, but every now and then he’d fire it up and go for a run. Since he had a wife and three kids and only one passenger seat, we kids didn’t get to ride along very often; but one day it was my turn. I was in my mid-teens at the time, not quite old enough to have my driver’s license, but old enough to know safe driving habits.

We rumbled out the lane and idled along the gravel road until we got to the highway, which was straight and flat with miles of visibility. Dad looked both ways, turned onto the highway… and punched the gas! He was always a careful and law-abiding driver, so I wasn’t sure whether to be terrified or exhilarated. The big engine roared and the tires chirped through the shifts. Dad dodged back and forth between lanes, showing off the handling (which was pretty good considering it was a brute-force muscle car), and then he pointed it straight and let the horses run.

As quickly as it had started, it was over. He slowed down and turned around, and we drove home as sedately as if we’d been in the family sedan.

But one or both of us might have been grinning.

So thanks again, Doug and the gang, for letting me “borrow” the R8, and for reminding me of a beloved memory of my dad and his dream car.

Corvette

Dad’s Corvette 30 years ago. Yes, that’s an outhouse in the background.

 

35 Comments

Filed under Life, Writing

I Love My Job!

I’m always alert for research opportunities, and this week I was rewarded beyond my wildest dreams.

As you may know, I’m redoing my book covers. I’ve hired a professional photographer to do the main images but I’m filling in the backgrounds myself, so I needed a tractor/trailer unit for Book 8: SPY NOW, PAY LATER.  John R., one of the true Knights of the Road who’s been trucking for 48 years, generously agreed to let me photograph his truck.

Little did I know what was about to happen…

John and me

 

When we arrived at the depot, John offered to move the truck to where I could get a good shot. Then he asked if I wanted to get in the cab while he moved it.

Well, hell, yeah! I clambered eagerly into the passenger seat and peppered him with questions about the gauges and the engine and the air brakes and the jake-brake (engine retarder brake) and everything else, while he patiently explained it all.

I’ve always loved the roar and snort of the big diesels and the bone-rattling growl of the jake-brake, but I’ve never had a chance to get up-close-and-personal with them. Perched in the passenger seat grinning from ear to ear, I basked in the auditory delight while he drove across the yard.

I had finished my pictures and was turning away when John asked, “Do you want to go for a ride?”

Do I? Are you kidding? I was up into that passenger seat so fast I don’t think my feet even touched the steps.

When we reached the Trans-Canada Highway he turned left, which surprised me. I thought it would have been easier to turn right instead of crossing the median with the big rig, but whatever. I was in my glory, and John even indulged me by using the jake a couple of times even though it was completely unnecessary (we were out in the middle of nowhere so it wasn’t prohibited).

At the next small town he turned around to head back, but after crossing the median again to get us on the right side of the highway, he pulled over onto the shoulder and stopped.

Then he said, “Now you’re going to drive us back.” (John has trained lots of drivers for their Class 1 license so this wasn’t as reckless as it might sound, but I’m convinced he has nerves of steel nonetheless.)

After a moment of paralyzed disbelief, I jumped at the chance. My heart pounded so hard I thought I might have a heart attack and I’m pretty sure John’s steering wheel still bears the imprints of my white-knuckled grip, but I drove an 18-wheeler! How cool is that?!?

My short but thrilling trucking career (note the wild hair – we had the windows open so I could enjoy the sound of the engine).

My short but thrilling trucking career (wild hair and all – we had the windows open so I could enjoy the sound of the engine).

I certainly didn’t perform any great feats of driving skill – John shifted the gears from the passenger’s seat because I couldn’t figure out the split-shift and keep my eyes on the road at the same time. But I kept it between the lines and I made the two turns off the highway and onto the yard without dropping the trailer into the ditch, so I’m going to call it a success overall. And it was a giant thrill!

Have I mentioned lately that I love being a fiction writer?

I really, really do!

Many thanks to John for my big adventure, and to his wife Nellie for documenting it with photos!

34 Comments

Filed under Life, Writing

Dear Truckers…

Dear Truckers,

I just got back from driving another 2,400 km trip across the Canadian prairies, and now I’m sad.

I always looked up to you as professional drivers. I admired your skill and courage as you pushed through summer storms and winter blizzards. I respected the personal sacrifices demanded by an exhausting job that kept you far from your friends and family.

I loved to watch a semi starting up from a dead stop: the cab of the tractor torquing with sheer brute power; the big diesel engine growling and snorting. I always enjoyed the sight of your big rigs gobbling up the miles. I liked the thought that in each of those cabs was someone who loved the open road as much as I do.

But my last couple of trips have ended all that.

Maybe some of you are still dedicated professionals, but too many of you are downright dangerous. I spent my drive in dread of having to pass you. Five different truck drivers nearly wiped me off the road; veering into my lane and weaving back and forth. One even drove down the centreline for several miles at a time. If I’d had any safe place to pull over, I’d have called 911 and reported that guy, but I didn’t dare stop in case he caught up and actually succeeded in killing me on his next try. 

I always give you lots of space and make sure I’m driving consistently so you don’t get any surprises.  I know cars can be hard to see from where you sit so I always make sure I’m visible in your mirrors, but that didn’t matter because these guys weren’t watching their mirrors.  Or the road.

Years ago we rarely saw a wrecked semi unless the road conditions were truly fearsome, but I saw three fresh wrecks during this trip. There was bright sunshine and unlimited visibility. A long straight four-lane divided highway on flat prairie. Perfect driving conditions. I don’t know what you’re doing up there in that cab, but you’re not paying attention to driving. Maybe you’re texting or talking on the phone or, like one guy I saw, reading a book propped against the steering wheel.

Why would you do that?

You know you can’t stop an 80,000-pound vehicle on a dime. You know what happens if you run into a smaller vehicle.

When I was young, we called you Knights of the Road. You looked out for us little folk, and you were heroes to stranded motorists. In a blizzard, we knew if we could find a semi and follow its taillights we’d be okay. Now you’re just as likely to lead us over the edge of a cliff.

I’m so disappointed. I feel as though the big brother or sister I’ve idolized all my life has turned out to be a fraud.

I know the days of stopping to help other motorists are long gone, made impossible by your ridiculously tight schedules and the added dangers of armed nutcases and heavy traffic. But do you really care so little about your professional pride and the safety of other motorists that you won’t even bother to drive a straight line?

Come back, Knights of the Road. I miss you. I miss the joy of driving and the sense of safety you used to give me.

And I don’t want to become a grease spot under your wheels.

With sincere sadness,

Diane

* * *

Sorry it’s not my regular foolishness today. I usually love driving that trip, but those drivers really spoiled it for me.  I guess I’m lucky they didn’t spoil it permanently.

Just to show I haven’t completely lost my sense of humour, though, I’d like to share a little personal revelation I had somewhere around the middle of Saskatchewan.  I was singing along with my music as usual when I suddenly realized that I am incapable of screeching out high notes without simultaneously clenching the steering wheel in a white-knuckled grip and contorting my face in a horrible grimace.

Between my awful caterwauling and my scary expression, it’s no wonder the truckers try to run me off the road.

P.S. Something weird is going on with either WordPress or my domain today.  I’m sorry if the blog won’t behave – I’m trying to figure out the problem.  In the mean time, as they say:  “Call me if you don’t get this message”.

25 Comments

Filed under Commentary, Life

Zombie Bullets

Prepare for the impending zombiepocalypse!

Everywhere I turn, I’m reminded that zombies will soon overrun the earth.  In fact, a recent Calgary Herald article reported that an expert has rated Calgary as one of the best places to survive the zombiepocalyse.  Whew, that’s a relief.

I’ve been wondering why zombies are getting so much press lately.  I initially thought it might be because everybody’s tired of vampires, so zombies are the next option in the creepy catalogue.  That makes sense, because zombies are easier to relate to in real life.

I mean, really, what are the chances of seeing a vampire?  They crumble into dust at the slightest touch of daylight and cringe from silver and go up in smoke under holy water.  They’re not really that durable.  (Don’t talk to me about sparkly vampires.  I’m strictly old-school.)

Zombies, on the other hand, are practically indestructible.  Shoot ‘em; hack ‘em up; whatever.  They just pick up the pieces and keep on coming.  According to the ammunition experts at Hornady, you need special ammo for shooting zombies (not to mention a fully-automatic weapon).  No kidding, this is a real product.  I’ve seen it in stores.

But after careful consideration, I think zombies are looming as the next big threat because they’re real and they’re already living among us.

I know that’s a scary thought, but the truth is I encounter dozens of them every day.  Sometimes they’re on foot, but as a general rule they seem to prefer mechanical conveyances.

I’m sure you’ve seen them, too:  hunched in the driver’s seat, their deadened eyes staring straight ahead without any regard for road conditions or traffic.  Occasionally their rigor-mortis grip is locked on the steering wheel, but more often their nerveless hands clutch cell phones or coffee cups, or both at the same time while they drive with their knee (or some other appendage with a life of its own; I’ve always been afraid to look too closely).

Oblivious to the rest of us, they drive through red lights and stop signs, turn left from the far right-hand lane, and weave in and out of traffic deaf to horns and blind to the universal gesture of fellowship and goodwill that frequently accompanies horn-honking.

To combat this menace, I’d like to suggest a new kind of Zombie Bullets.  Like the Hornady product above, they would incorporate the all-important green colouring.  And they’re already available in standard paintball calibres.  Pair them with one of the new fully-automatic paintball guns and a heads-up automatic targeting system installed in our cars, and we’re all set to eradicate the latest zombie menace.

I realize that shooting a zombie’s car with a paint pellet won’t stop the zombie in question, but at least it’ll provide a warning for the rest of us.  When we see a vehicle dripping with green slime, we’ll be able to take evasive action.

And hey, it’d make police officers’ jobs easier, too:  “I’m sorry, sir, your car shows sixty-three distinct zombie-bullet hits.  I’m going to have to write you a ticket for driving without the influence of a brain.”

Ah, if only…

40 Comments

Filed under Humour, Life

Driving Ms. Crazy

Some days, even the simplest things get ‘way more complicated than they need to be.

As I mentioned in an earlier post, sometimes I’m convinced I’m speaking Swahili because nobody seems to grasp what I’m trying to say, no matter how many different ways I phrase it.  I’m convinced it’s the Universe’s way of keeping me humble enough to summon up some charity and patience when somebody else suffers a brain/speech malfunction.

But sometimes it’s really difficult to refrain from beating my head against the nearest hard surface…

We were going to a store that had recently moved.  I was driving, and my passenger (who shall remain nameless to protect the guilty) was giving me directions.  I knew we were going to 9th Avenue, but I wasn’t sure of the address.

Calgary is divided into quadrants, so there are four possible locations for any given address.  Without the suffix “SW”, “SE”, “NW”, or “NE”, you’re lost.  I was pretty sure the store was in one of the southern quadrants, but I didn’t know which one:

Me:  “What’s the address?”

Passenger:  “I don’t know the actual address, but I know where it is.”

Me:   “Okay, where is it?”

Passenger:  “On 9th Avenue.”

Me:  “I know it’s on 9th Avenue, but where?”

Passenger:  “Just take Bow Trail.”

Me:  “I know how to get to 9th Avenue, I want to know where I’m going once I’m on 9th Avenue.”

Passenger:  “I’ll tell you where to turn.”

Me:  *suspenseful pause*  “And… where will I be turning?”

Passenger:  “It’ll be a left turn.”

Me:  “Congratulations, you’ve given me no useful information whatsoever.  Where the hell is it on 9th Avenue?”

Passenger:  “Oh!  It’s at the corner of 9th Avenue and 11th Street.”

Me:  “Southwest or Southeast?”

Passenger:  *growing impatient with my obtuseness*   “No!  It’s on the northeast corner of 9th Avenue and 11th Street.”

Me:  *gritting teeth*  “The northeast corner of 9th Avenue and 11th Street Southwest or 9th Avenue and 11th Street Southeast?”

Passenger:  “Oh…!  Southwest.”

Me:  *sigh*

Before you make any assumptions about gender vs. navigation skills, I’d like to point out that my passenger was male.  Just sayin’.

I can’t imagine how the phrase “It’s on the northeast corner of 9th Avenue and 11th Street Southwest” could have become any more complicated.  What should have been a five-second exchange turned into a ridiculous “Who’s On First” comedy routine.

It might have been funnier if I hadn’t been playing the part of the straight man while trying to steer my car through traffic to an unknown destination.

But it’s okay.  I know with absolute certainty that within days of posting this, I’ll be the one in the passenger seat, obfuscating the directions while the driver’s blood pressure rockets into the danger zone.

Come to think of it, I seem to recall the following conversation not too long ago:

Hubby:  “I’m supposed to turn left here?”

Me:  “Right.”

Hubby:  “Right?  Shit!”  *swerves over two lanes of traffic*

Me:  “No, left!  I meant, that’s right… that’s correct; you’re supposed to turn left…  Never mind, I’m an idiot.”

Thanks, Universe.  I owe ya one.

Anybody else have one of those “Who’s On First” moments lately?

P.S.  I’m so pumped – my new book cover designs are finally done!  Check ’em out in the “My Books” panel at the right – or bigger versions here.  They should start hitting the stores in a week or two.  🙂

29 Comments

Filed under Humour, Life