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The Daily Grind, Commute, Back And Forth, Back And Forth

September 25, 2007
The days that my daughter walked to school are gone. I like to drive as less as possible, unfortunately I must drive her to school now. The following is a list of what I see most mornings and afternoons when I am making the school run.

People change lanes without their turn indicators and whether a car is in the desired lane or not. Get out of my fucking way because I coming over seem to be a favorable driver’s creed.

Red stoplights are not observed if no cars are coming in the opposite direction. The first time I witnessed this I thought it was just the motorcycle driver’s impatience. Then I saw it again, and again, and by the fourth time I concluded it must be the way people drive around here, (No cop, no stop). Moreover, the county has the nerve to put those photo spies (photo enforced) that produce copper-less traffic tickets in the poorest areas in the county. The people I see running red lights do not look very destitute (judging by the value of the vehicle anyway). I understand running a red light when the light is yellow and turns red or even if the speed limit on a particular road is fairly fast (over 35mph) and the driver miscalculates the distance and speed, however just to run it flat out is entitled insanity. Just this morning this little red car was following behind me on a 50mph farm road. Sometimes on my ass, sometimes quite a distance back, sort of the driving that one would assume is from a cell phone talker/driver. As I am approaching a major intersection (with lots of traffic) to turn left I see that the light is changing from green to yellow to red. How far back I was, I would not have made that light if I wanted to. Unbelievably, as I move over to the left turn lane, the red car behind me zoomed up and ran right through the red light. It is absolutely remarkable that the other cars in the green lanes had not begun moving yet.

No one seems to know that changing lanes in the middle of the intersection is illegal either, or they do not care, especially one intersection in particular.

The police do in fact congregate at coffee shops, in this case, it is the Starbucks in the town square, Thursday mornings seen to draw the most police cars, as many as four at one time.

There are far too many SUVs and big trucks on the road. I know the traffic jam at the elementary school would be less intense if there were fewer to no SUVs. It is like maneuvering children through a herd of mammoths. I just do not get it, gas is around three dollars a gallon, the environment is falling apart and people still do not care! It is a wonder that the parent even bothers to pick their child/ren up from school instead of sending a surrogate. Not as if they are listening to anything the children say. The adult has a cell phone stuck to their ear the entire time, while waiting for the child, while connecting with the child, while loading the child up in the mammoth, and while driving off to the nearest McDonalds. I play a little game, how many cars go by without someone on the cell phone. I usually cannot get to five, and I have never ever ever gotten to ten, ever!

Lines are formed outside the social security office by 8:30 am, and by 8:00 at the Mexican Consulate.

Senior Mexican looking men in cowboy hats and boots meet somewhere in the downtown area between 8:30-9:00 every Friday morning. Like clockwork, I see them in different pedestrian crossings making their way to some place, all heading in the same direction. There movements seem jovial. Young men in their late twenties to early thirties hang in the downtown park, almost as if they supposed to be looking for a job and cannot go home until a reasonable time.

At least twice a week I see a scruffy looking white man in his late twenties carrying a nearly full plastic bottle of Coca-Cola moving with a lackadaisical impatience. I see a little bit of every one of my brothers in him, and most men, nothing in particular though. The other day when a train held up traffic, hence causing him to wait to cross the tracks he had at least three obtuse tantrums. Incidentally, I only noticed a ceramic tile company because I was stopped for the train, had never noticed it before, they have a big banner in front welcoming contractors. Also, not one train carriage is free from graffiti, cargo trains that is, Amtrak must be too fast for the vandals. Most of the graffiti look/s like rubbish but occasionally there is an interesting drawing with quite a bit of detail and color.

More to observe in the future… the crossing guard who is cornered by a male senior citizen every morning, and O-M-G, I saw him there again this afternoon. She used to spend that time chatting with other women, now he is there just yapping up her time!

  1. archcrone permalink
    September 25, 2007 9:10 pm

    Around here, for left-turn lanes, there is a cut-out with a trigger embedded so that the left turn arrow will get triggered. After cities around TN spent boo-coup bucks to install these triggers, it was found that motorcycles were not heavy enough to activate the trigger. thus a motorcycle could conceivably sit through numerous red lights until a car comes up behind it to activate the trigger.

    So, what happened was, the state legislature passed a law that motorcycles (light two-wheeled vehicles) only were allowed to make left turns on red, and only at intersections that had the cut-out in the lane (signifying the embedded trigger), and as long as no traffic was coming from the opposite direction. but, I do want to point out that this is different from wantonly running a red light, for any reason.

    Oh, and be careful of those traffic cameras. Around here, (we have several) when the camera was installed at an intersection, the length of the yellow light was shortened to 3 seconds. Intersections that don’t have the cameras, the yellow lights usually last 5-6 seconds. The shortened yellow light with the camera is for revenue only. There are a number of studies that show lengthening the yellow light to 5-6 seconds reduces rear end crashes as much (and in some cases more) than installing cameras and shortening the length of the yellow light. I’ll have to pull that post up for you (it’s someplace in my old archives), there was actually a pretty interesting discussion about lengthening yellow lights.

  2. Anna permalink
    September 26, 2007 2:03 am

    Oh, Kitty. I hail from parts west where photo radar & SUV’s rule. Your funny posts brings back painful memories – esp. the SUV part. I personally think we should pass a constitutional amendment that bans them from existence. But, then again, I’m also for banning guns, so what do I know about the probable passing of amendments.

  3. redsneakz permalink
    September 26, 2007 2:05 am

    The things I see when I drive my kids to school, or when I’m driving to work, simply astound me sometimes.

    As always, though, you said it better.

  4. Kitty Glendower permalink
    September 26, 2007 5:22 am

    Anna I’m all for the gun ban and the SUV ban, bring it on, I will sign. Troy and Barnaby don’t use guns, and they always catch their bad guy.

    Chuck you should tell us about it, your daily drive. You have been very quiet lately. And nothing from your friend here.

    archchrone The motorcycle trigger could be a good defense for the one motorcyle guy I saw, because it did turn green as soon as I drove up, but the others were cars/SUVs/trucks. I do think the yellow lights are too fast. They seem to change in no time. Of course yellow light or no yellow light some people will rear end you anyway. About four weeks ago (his car is still in the auto body shop) someone rearended Mr. Glendower. He was minding his own business, sitting at a red light and a car hauling ass slammed into him. Never braked. Causing Mr. Glendower to hit the truck in front of him and the truck hit the car in front of it. Then the fool (the reckless driver) struggled to get out of his air bag and ran leaving his car there. Oh we have had the drama. And poor Mr. Glendower’s car is less than a year old. When he opened the trunk it was like a pretzel. The other cars were not damaged though. The abandoned car was totaled. He ran into an apartment complex, leaving his driver’s license in the glove compartment. Of course we are instructed to sue him for our deductible but supposedly even if we did he is only legally obligated to pay half. What a mess.

  5. archcrone permalink
    September 26, 2007 12:51 pm

    Kitty, that’s a horrible situation. Is the body shop dragging it’s feet on fixing Mr. G’s car? That sounds like an extremely long time to be in the shop without having been fixed.

    The problem with the decreased length of yellow lights, is that it will be used (and has been used successfully) to “justify” (which is the wrong word but it’s early and I’m not at full brain capacity yet) causing an accident.

  6. CountryDew permalink
    September 26, 2007 4:44 pm

    I have not been reading long, but apparently you don’t have school buses? Around here there is an endless parade of parents driving children to school, while the buses pass by their homes, and arrive about half empty at the school. I don’t have children so I don’t really understand the need to drive them as opposed to letting them ride the bus. It seems like a horrible waste of gas.

  7. Kitty Glendower permalink
    September 26, 2007 5:30 pm

    countrydew There are some school buses but that is where the muddle begins. The child did ride the school bus in Kindergarten and first grade, then we had to move (left the military). Second grade she walked to school. Then we had to move (the complex we were living in is being demolished and rebuilt (Surveyers were there this morning, I noticed), no early warning or we would not have moved there). Where we live now, there may be school buses for the local school, however there was not room for her, so they offered to send her to the second nearest school (which would have a bus I assume) but that school was full as well. The third choice was further away and there was a risk that she would be moved back to the second school, and then maybe the first as seats became available. Therefore, we kept her in the same school as 2nd grade because when a job transfer comes through we will be moving cross-country. It really sucks and we seem to be living for the day that we can finally move to where we will stay for good. I noticed yesterday, our dreams are growing. So far, we want a pool in the backyard, several trees, at least an acre, access to the woods, snow, deer and bears visiting, maybe a cat, another dog house, flowers, etc. LOL!

  8. Kitty Glendower permalink
    September 26, 2007 5:32 pm

    archchrone I think I will post a picture of the car.

  9. momo permalink
    September 26, 2007 8:31 pm

    I drive my daughter to school because it is on my way to work and it would take her half an hour on the bus, but only five minutes with me. We don’t see too much that’s exciting because it is such a short ride, but yesterday I was almost killed because I was crossing a four-lane street. Two cars that were trying to turn left onto the street were stopped so that I could cross. Some bozo coming up behind them honked, then raced around them to try to turn left. Thank god he saw me in time, because he almost mowed me down. Of course he just looked annoyed and sped off, no acknowlegement of what a dipshit move that was.

  10. Rent Party permalink
    September 26, 2007 11:00 pm

    great post!

  11. Kitty Glendower permalink
    September 29, 2007 2:11 am

    Of course he just looked annoyed and sped off, no acknowlegement of what a dipshit move that was.

    What an idiot.

  12. Chris permalink
    September 29, 2007 1:50 pm

    When we moved to Knoxville, we immediately noticed a huge problem with red light running like you described. I wouldn’t go into an intersection with a green light without looking both ways first.

    They dropped 20 of those cameras in the intersections with the highest collision counts (not the poorer areas) and it seems to have helped at least in those areas. It is a little “big brotherish” but in this case I’m for it because I am tired of seeing people blantantly run lights because their schedule is more important than the safety of other drivers on the road.

    Now, you want big brother? Tennessee announced this week that they are enforcing a law by having agents spy on out of state cigarette stands bordering TN. They are stopping TN tagged vehicles as they re-enter TN and if they have more than two cartons of non-TN taxed cigs, they can be arrested AND have their car confiscated for the “contraband”. I can understand doing this if some guy is buying a buttload of Kentucky cigs, importing them to TN and then reselling them without collecting the TN tax, because that’s clearly illegal. But the average joe sixpack who is just trying to save $4.50 a carton for his personal cigs by driving 10 minutes over the state line? That’s screwed up.

  13. archcrone permalink
    October 1, 2007 1:09 am

    Chris, I’m also in Knoxville, and honestly, I don’t know which intersections have been helped by the cameras. Just today, I saw no less than 4 cars go through red lights at 2 different camera intersections. It’s like that every day at several of the camera intersections I have to go through.

    I stand by lengthening the yellow lights rather than shortening the yellow light and including a revenue gathering device at an intersection.

    The cigarette police is different from the illicit substance stamps, and the crack tax how? I’d almost expect it to be deemed unconstitutional (when the cigs are determined for personal use rather than resale) as the crack ta was recently, if some brave soul has the gumption to take this on, except cigs are the root of all evil, and heaping taxes on cartons and packs, to pay for health care is going to continue to happen regardless of how that is accomplished. Unless of course, life turns out to be the Woody allen movie, Sleeper, and we find that smoking cigs is actually good for people.

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