Thursday, February 17, 2011

Traffic To Traffic

Me: I wish I had some sort of weapon that would sling a piece of metal through someone’s engine block every time they did something stupid in traffic.
Friend: You couldn’t afford the ammo.


            The highlight of my paternal grandmother’s life was watching the traffic in front of my father’s house in Blakely Georgia. She was from the generation of the early 1900’s who thought a woman’s life was over once she was done raising kids and burying husbands. I remember wondering why she watched traffic, just sat there and stared out of the window at the cars and trucks on the road in front of the house, and honestly, there really wasn’t that many back then, and there aren’t that many these days either, but she would sit there for hours and watch. “Just watching the world go by” she would tell me if I asked what she was doing.
            I saw a woman today who was smoking a cigarette in her car with a kid in the backseat. She had the window rolled down, and I wondered if she had ever ridden in the backseat of a car with a smoker up front. If the smoker flicks ashes out of the window sometimes the ash flies back into the backseat, and it is hot. She was wearing a baseball cap, turned backwards, a lot of make-up, and rocking her head back and forth to thumping music. She likely isn’t what my grandmother was thinking about when she was watching traffic.
            There is a certain breed of people who will put their car in park when they come to a traffic light. These people cannot be defined by age, gender, race, sexual orientation, or blood alcohol content. They simply are. They exist independent of the rest of the known universe. Invariably, they will forget they have done this. Wait for it, wait for it, GREEN LIGHT! They’ll floor it trying to move, realize they are a Parker, and then slam it into drive, I watched a guy in an ancient Cutlass ( is there any other kind) park then freak out, and then nearly wreck trying to drive while looking around to see if anyone had noticed which brings me to….
            The Parker’s Cutlass was missing not only the rearview mirror but the one on the passenger side as well which meant he was going to attempt to kill me in three, two, one…Cutlass The parker looks up where his mirror ought to be and weaves over into my lane where I would be if I wasn’t watching him. The guy with him is bouncing off the ceiling because he did see me, albeit it too late to save them had I not been paying attention. One of the things I wonder if my grandmother learned from watching traffic is this, “If they are missing a mirror then they might as well be driving blind, because they are.”
            Generally speaking, a woman who is pregnant is a sign of a woman who is not a virgin. I can count on my right thumb the number of times the story, “I’m still a virgin but I’m pregnant” story has worked out for the woman involved, and I think that just about ruined it for anyone else taking a swing at it. Now, it could be the woman was artificially inseminated, or she might have been raped, but again, generally speaking, a woman who is six months pregnant has sex six months ago, and it is a pretty safe bet that wasn’t the first, only, or last time. It would have been, but as they say in the doctor’s office, “Not damn likely” So here’s the thing; when you see the car ahead of you, and it’s some backward cap smoking woman who is talking on her cell and drinking Jack Daniel’s right out of the bottle while shooting up Windex, and you notice the side of her Cutlass is all caved in, do not get beside her car with your vehicle. Clearly, she had been in a situation that destroyed that side of her car, and quite frankly, you should consider the idea she might be a repeat off fender. Yes, yes, yes, she might have been blindsided, someone else might have injured her car, or she might have been sitting there and the car just crumbled up. More bizarre stories have been believed, but as they say down at the body shop, “Not damn likely”
People are likely head in the direction they are looking, no matter where they are actually intending to go. If they are looking at some cute chick to the left of the car, the car will lean towards the left. If the driver is looking right the car will have a tendency to go right. That’s a given. People know this. Here’s one you better believe, too; if someone in the car is pointing then it is safe, and prudent to believe the car will veer suddenly in that direction regardless of how safe and prudent such action might be for the people in the car, or where the car is now heading. Do not be there. You will not like it when they get there, and are amazed to find you, or what is left of you, there.
            I wonder how much of this my grandmother saw in traffic. I wonder if she saw idiots and wondered how on earth we ever got past the mule and buggy. This was a woman who remembered the first car she saw, and the first airplane. This was a woman who lived through both World Wars, The Great Depression, and Disco. At some point, after all of that, you have to wonder if she thought that every once in a while, people would simply lose their minds and start a war, or crash the economy, or dance to terrible music. She watched all of this and at the end of her life was content to watch traffic, as if somehow, she might discern some truth in it.

Take Care,
Mike

2 comments:

  1. "I wonder how much of this my grandmother saw in traffic. I wonder if she saw idiots and wondered how on earth we ever got past the mule and buggy. This was a woman who remembered the first car she saw, and the first airplane. This was a woman who lived through both World Wars, The Great Depression, and Disco. At some point, after all of that, you have to wonder if she thought that every once in a while, people would simply lose their minds and start a war, or crash the economy, or dance to terrible music. She watched all of this and at the end of her life was content to watch traffic, as if somehow, she might discern some truth in it"

    Ahh, this is beautiful, Mike and full of so many simple truths. Your grandmother probably did think exactly that...and she was right. People react these day, they don't think and act. They put their brains in auto-pilot, there's seems to be little critical thinking going on a great deal of the time


    It's funny but today you and I both wrote about our grandmothers, mine's birthday was today.

    One day, while we were sitting at lunch when I went to Wayx to visit her and she was watching a car through the window, she looked at me and said: "Rose, I'm so glad you're one of the level-headed ones. So many people these days are not."

    I took that as a great compliment :)

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