Sunday, July 29, 2012

Coke Bath

Some of you may know that I hate driving.  Anything longer than about 40 minutes annoys me.  First of all, it’s wasted time.  If I’m driving I can’t very well be reading a book or magazine.  I have to pay attention to just the driving.  I don’t have enough time in the day to do everything I need to do and time spent commuting eats away even more of it.  Luckily, I can listen to music at the same time, since that is passive interaction and hearing isn’t usually a sense that is required to devote to driving safely.  I’ve listened to a lot of music since living in this area.  Being able to do that doesn’t save me any time, since I’ve never just listened to music- it’s always been playing in the background during some other activity. 

I also hate driving because I’m sitting down in a confined area for extended periods of time.  It’s like being in prison but I can’t even get off the bunk and pace around my cell.  My butt cheeks fall asleep, my leg starts twitching and I can’t find a comfortable place to put my elbows.  I’m a walker- I like to get up periodically and walk around, find some quick task to do elsewhere before going back to my desk or where ever I was sitting.
The biggest reason that I hate to drive though, is because it means I’m forced to go out in the midst of thousands of other people careening around in two tons slabs of metal while they are busy not paying attention.  Texting and talking on the phone seems to be more important to them than keeping their car in their own lane.  Others seem to have defective cars, because the turn signals on their BMW don’t seem to work because they never are in use when the car slaloms across three lanes so they can cut me off and get to the exit ramp.  Yesterday was a perfect example of this. I’m driving along the Beltway in Maryland to get to my Brandywine office.  Ahead of me I see one of those roadside assistance vehicles behind a broken down car in the exit lane.  There are four or five cars sitting behind it, because apparently they didn’t notice a stationary vehicle in the road until it was too late to go around it. 

I approach this cluster of dumb with mild curiousity and caution.  I notice the car right behind the emergency vehicle starts to pull out so I slow down a little.  Then the nose of the third car in the line starts to peek out at as I’m nearing and then pulls out right behind the first car.  There is no way that car can accelerate quickly enough to get out of the traffic on the Beltway because the first car is still in front of them puttering around the emergency vehicle.  I’m rapidly closing the distance and I can’t change lanes because I don’t have enough time to check if there is anyone already in the next lane so I have to slam on my brakes or hit the car.  I do briefly consider hitting it because the idiot pulled out when there were cars coming instead of during a gap in traffic and of course there was no turn signal employed during the maneuvering.  It would show them the stupidity of their actions and maybe permeate their obliviousness for a moment.  I decide against it though because it will mean my car gets totaled in the process and I might end up flying through the windshield somehow even though I am wearing my seatbelt.  I’m screaming at the car as I’m pressing the brakes and everything in my front seat goes flying onto the floor.  I’m still yelling as I pass the car as it gets back into the exit lane and I see the fat woman in the beater car carrying on like nothing happened, like she didn’t almost kill me. 

A mile or two down the road I finally look at the stuff that got thrown on the floorboards.  Oh shit!  I got a drink at 7-11 on the way and that cup was now sitting completely upside down on top of my CD holder.  I grab the cup and scan the floorboards- nothing on the carpets.  Maybe nothing spilled out?  I lift a CD out of the holder and lots of brown liquid streams off.  All the Coke had flowed through the straw and the hole in the cup and was now puddled in my holder, perfectly contained but also totally immersing my CDs in sticky liquid.  I start screaming at the woman in the car all over again.  Now not only had she not been shown the stupidity of her actions, they actually affected me more than her.  Several of the CDs were purchases, not burns of a digital songs, and they were ruined.  The new one from The Cult, something from Dangermouse, Paul Mauriat’s greatest hits- money was paid for all those and now they were soaked and ruined. 

When I got to work, I took a few minutes in the parking to try to clean them up but they had been soaking in too much liquid for too long to be spruced up with a tissue.  I’m hoping that the stuff I burned onto CD from the CDs in my house to make my monthly mix CDs will be salvageable.  So now I’m spending part of my Sunday rinsing off 3 years worth of monthly CDs and jewel cases in the hope that I can still play them after they dry off.  Do CDs rust? Did I get all the Coke off of them or will I end up ruining my car stereo as well?  Wouldn’t that be ironic- the person who avoids crashing into a dangerous motorist is the one who ends up paying the most for it.  That’s why I hate driving- it takes control out of my hands and puts it into the hands of people less concerned with my safety and my needs.  They don’t care what happens from their actions as long as things turn out okay for them.  I need a chauffeur.  My blood pressure can’t take this every day.  Nor can my numb butt cheeks.  Whew, I needed to get that rant off my chest.  I’d been thinking about this all weekend and needed to vent.  Thanks for listening all you faithful and also non-existent readers.

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