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Not Your Ordinary Cup of Joe

My life is now complete. Two of my favorite things combined into one hot mug of scrumptiousness. Hell, I may even become a morning person if I can wake up to coffee like this. Okay, well, that may be pushing it a little, but finding a local place to purchase this coffee is most definitely at the top of my “to do” list.

 

click on the photo to read all about this delightful concoction

click on the photo to read all about this delightful concoction

Reflections of the Road

Mankind has invented many horrendous torture devices throughout his stay on this earth.  A few that come to mind are those virtually invisible Bluetooth phone earpieces that cause you to assume the user is talking to you but of course they’re not – only you don’t realize this until after you’ve already held a 5 minute conversation with yourself, those automated voice response systems on help lines that force you to say words until you are screaming at a robot which only makes things worse…both for your self-esteem and getting the department you so desperately need which is why you called in the first place, and self-checkout lanes with overly sensitive scales that proudly announce to everyone that you have an unexpected item in the bagging area…a dozen times.

No other device, however, can cause as much horror, anger, embarrassment, and fear as a car horn in a traffic jam. I. Hate. Car. Horns.

The victim of the car horn is usually some unsuspecting person who ended up on the wrong side of a red light, trapped in an intersection with nowhere to go while the traffic he is blocking begins playing the well-known symphony, “The Cacophony of Horns,” on their steering wheels.  The victim has few options and can either respond with the “embarrassed grimace, hands thrown up in helplessness” ploy or the famous “I need to change my radio station right now for the next five minutes while pretending I can’t hear you” trick. And it’s not as if the hapless victim wants to be doing what he’s doing…he doesn’t want to be there either.

The other day found me in a particularly crowded shopping district.  Things were rolling pretty smoothly and I could see the lights lining up in perfect harmonious greenness.  Gotta love it when small miracles happen.  Imagine my surprise when, instead of rolling through this rare alignment of roadway perfection, I found myself reading the bumper stickers on the car in front of me as we all sat at a complete stop.

From where I was sitting, I could see the green light in front of me. There was more than enough time for the cars to siphon through.  The light just beyond my own, the next one in line that you might think would be holding up traffic, was also green, and still we sat.  It really only ever takes one person to wreck your traffic day, and I am sure there was someone daydreaming of God knows what behind the wheel or more likely, talking on their cell phone that was snarling the smooth flow of cars.  The sea of cars stretched through the intersection creating a virtual parking lot at a line of green lights.

I can easily imagine the actions of the drivers in the middle when the inevitable happened and the light turned yellow.  First, they threw their hands up and made a show of yelling something at the cars in front of them. They exaggeratedly leaned over to peer up at the now yellow light, and then to their companion, if they had one, with a show of complete exasperation.  The light turned red, as yellow lights do, and now they were stuck.

These hapless drivers were now in the Traffic Trap of Doom.  Packed in tight, they couldn’t pull to the side, they couldn’t move forward, and backing up was not an option.

The drivers who were trying to cross the road to get to the shopping center on the other side (a joke about a chicken comes to mind, but I digress) take this as a personal assault on their driving freedoms.  The rally cry of “Let’s wait patiently for the light to turn green so the traffic jam can clear up” rang forth.  Ok, not hardly. Wait for the light to change?  Who has time for that?

The honking started innocently, as it always does.  A single frustrated tap from an unknown car to the left.  Like a wolf pack on the prowl, that honk was taken up by another driver.  And another.  And another.  Soon, the symphony lifted to the sky and magically, nothing happened.

Not a thing.  Despite their best attempts, traffic was still sitting exactly where it was before they started their raucous assault on those of us with ears.  The hard lesson learned this day was that a car horn does not summon a traffic fairy to come lift cars out of the way, no matter how loud and long you blare it.  Did the honkers expect that their efforts would somehow create an opening, like Moses parting the Red Sea?  The only thing these frustrated drivers accomplished was to give everyone a headache.

The victims in the Traffic Trap of Doom continued to pretend they couldn’t hear the honking, cheeks flushed with embarrassment, silent prayers lifted to the traffic light gods that the light would change soon and their five minutes of fame would be over.

Normally I would be just as frustrated as the next person to see a blocked intersection, but in this case, I could see from my position that there was no way the stuck drivers should have expected the cars ahead at the first green light to just stop.  It wasn’t a matter of mistimed lights or people pushing to get through a yellow light. They saw the alluring vision of two green lights ahead and assumed they would shortly be moving forward, flowing as smoothly as the rum they would later be pouring into their coffee as they retold the harrowing experience to their family later that night.  It’s a natural assumption.

Who knew a distracted driver could back traffic up into the next state just by glancing at Map Quest or porn or whatever it was he was doing up there?

Of course, it didn’t stay backed up for long.  The distracted driver got his shit together, and life resumed normally for all involved.

The horn blowers duly patted themselves on the back for the role they played this day; for without them, however would we have survived?

Well played, anonymous horn blowers.  Well played.  We thank you.

Confession Time

So, while I did not make any “true” New Year’s resolutions per se, I did make a somewhat small vow to be a better, nicer, more tolerant person by reigning in my bad colorful language (as it is directed at others, even if said persons are completely unaware of said tirades against them), especially when driving. It’s not going well. Just in case you were interested.

Winter Games

Now that the holidays are over and the first real “winter event” having happened (in my area at least), the only thing facing us is a bleak, grey, block of time until spring.  Don’t despair, though!  This is the time for fun and frolic in the fresh, cool air of the winter time.  Let the Winter Olympic Games begin!  In fact, here are some of the games we regular folks can play this winter:

Guess that Frozen Lump:  Is it leaves?  Mud?  Dog poop?  What IS that mysterious brown lump frozen to your sidewalk? Players will pick up mysterious objects and attempt to identify them, feeling protected because they are wearing gloves.

Slip and Slide Pride Recovery:  As you walk down the sidewalk and slip on that tiny patch of ice, you must recover quickly and gracefully.  Points are awarded for stylish arm waving and flapping, catching your bags before they hit the ground, and doing the soft shoe shuffle.  If you hit the ground, points are lost.  Extra points are awarded for trying to pretend it never happened to the bystanders recording you for YouTube.

How Deep is the Snow?:  This fun little game is played when you step off a paved surface into a pile of snow without realizing there is a hole under the pile or simply misjudging Mother Nature’s (or the snow plow’s) ability to heap up the white stuff.  Points are tallied based on how long you stand in the snowbank looking confused, how caked the snow is onto your pants, and how much snow went down the inside of your boot. Points are lost if you actually require help to remove yourself from said pile.

Dodge That Salt Truck:  We know salt trucks are a necessary evil on the roads in the winter.  Nothing, however, is as frustrating as being in the vicinity of one as it spews dusty white granules at your car.  To qualify for this game, you must have had your car washed three days prior to the ice event, at most.  You may drive three lanes over and up to two miles behind the salt truck.  Points are deducted from an opening score of 100 in increments of 10 points per inch of dust on your car.  Someone writing “Wash Me” in the dust while you are in a store qualifies you to win this round instantly.

Bread Dash 2017:  Players will meet at a supermarket immediately upon hearing there is potential for snow in the next week.  From the front doors, contestants will glare at each other and begin the sprint for bread, toilet paper, and milk.  The proper way to collect these items will be store brand, generic, and finally when all the cheap items are gone, name brand products.  Points are deducted for browsing and collecting unapproved items such as laundry detergent and pasta noodles.

Radio Stalking for Kids:  Children will earn points for how frequently they change the TV and radio stations hoping for cancellation updates beginning at midnight the night before a forecast winter event.  Player is disqualified if an entire song, commercial, or news cast is completed before the station is switched.

Ice Sculpting:  In the morning, players will report to their vehicles.  They will not be told of any ice or weather event prior to the morning the game is played.  They will need to scramble for brooms and ice scrapers to remove the elements from their vehicles in enough time to make it to work before being considered “late.”  Points are lost if players attempt a “quick ice fix” they read about on Facebook and it fails.  Points can be added, however, if the player’s arm is encrusted in snow that melts down the sleeve of their coat as they are driving to work.

Jamming to Traffic: In this fun game, players stuck in traffic jams repeatedly attempt to find stations on their car radio with music or coverage of anything other than the winter weather event.  No one has ever won this game in the history of radio forecasting, so no points are awarded.  Ever.

Guess Why These Idiots are on the Road:  Players invent fun stories of why there are so many drivers on the road during a winter weather event.  They are awarded points for cursing at the other drivers for being dumb enough to be on the road.  More points are awarded if you can adequately justify why you, yourself, are on the road and why you should not be called an idiot as well.

Winter Cookbook:  Players must utilize whatever food they have on hand in their kitchens to feed their families and pets.  Not to be confused with feeding your family WITH your pets; this is a different game entirely, people. No pets are ever harmed in the Winter Olympics for Regular People.  In this game, players are told that there is only a light dusting of snow expected.  Accordingly, the players will scoff and refuse to go to the store.  On the following morning, they will find their door completely covered in eighteen feet of snow.  Now, these players must use whatever food they have in the kitchen to feed everyone.  Some suggestions: hot dog and rice soup, spoiled ground beef delight, and “that should still be good, it only expired two days ago” surprise. Extra points awarded to those who can create a palatable dish from canned green beans with a sketchy expiration date and old cake mix.

Facebook Beach Picture Collecting: Players earn points based on how many of their friends share pictures of the beach and post about how warm it is in Florida or Mexico.  Players lose massive amounts of points for sharing these photos or in any way confessing to a bout of envy.

As you can see, the winter is full of fun games that anyone can enjoy!  I personally want to enjoy them in Florida or Costa Rica. Or anywhere the cold does not hurt my face. Now, where did I put those damned chains for the tires? Ahhh…let the games begin.