Anti-Social RVing

The other day, I was behind an RV on the freeway.  You know the kind, the super-duper shiny house-on-wheels, towing the family car behind it.  My first thought was, “That is a great way to travel for those who are too lazy to pack.”  My second thought was, “Don’t these stupid things have any speeds faster than 45 mph?”  My third thought was, “I could totally get behind this way of traveling, because hey, I’m too lazy to pack.”

My mind immediately wandered to joyous days on the highway, spent with my family and pets.  Oh, the places we would go!  The adventures we would have!  The people we would meet! Just me, my loved ones, and the open road. Especially with the weather we’ve been experiencing here … dismal, cold, and just enough snow to be annoying but not enough to be fun… it would be awesome to just pick up and go someplace warmer and sunny and much less work-y.

Then, I remembered.

I hate driving.  I hate wearing anything that doesn’t involve fuzzy slippers.  I hate people. I’m not fond of adventures.  If I’m not tuned in to social media at least hourly, I go certifiably insane.  I cannot parallel park my bicycle, much less one of these behemoths.  I hate driving in the rain or snow and at night; heck I hate driving on clear days, for that matter.  Not to mention, my loved ones and I would potentially hurt each other if we were confined to a large tuna can on wheels for hours at a time.

Now, I’m not saying this whole idea is out the window; it still seems more appealing than say, getting bamboo shoots through my eyeballs while gargling Spam juice and listening to Polka Hits as performed by Hip Hop artists.  Barely.

If I am going to be stuck in a rolling trashcan for hours and days, I fully expect some concessions.

I would need unlimited access to WiFi wherever I am.  New York to the desert and everywhere in between, I need a specialized WiFi connection.  I need all my bars, all the time, wherever I am.  My RV will be a rolling WiFi receiver.

Speaking of bars, yes, please.  A nice fully stocked bar to keep me sane on my journeys.  I can think of no better way to drive down the freeway than with a glass of wine in my cup-holder.  Oh.  Wait, that’s not right.  How about, I can think of no better way to ride down the freeway than with a glass of wine in my cup-holder and a chauffeur driving me?  Not just any chauffeur, but a chauffeur who knows better than to speak to me, look at me, make eye contact, or ask questions, lest my breathtakingly introverted awkwardness come to the fore. Maybe my special RV will have the driver’s seat fully encased in sound-proof steel.  Or, hey!  The cone of silence!

The chauffeur’s wife will be the RV maid.  For a ridiculously high sum (I mean, come on, I’m nothing if not generous), she gets to stay in a closet and come out when I am asleep, silently cleaning up behind me and making a fresh batch of waffles before joining her husband in the driver’s compartment cone of silence. She can double as the “polite one,” and engage in conversations with strangers at gas stations while I peep through the curtains and silently hate on everyone.

I would require all roadways to be clear of cars and traffic so that we can zip effortlessly through the landscapes with little to no interaction with civilized society at all.  My RV will be equipped with rocket launchers to ensure my path will always be clear … and fast.  No slow lanes for me.

The main thing keeping me from my Anti-Social RV road trip is money.  I mean, right? I can’t help but think a fully stocked bar, unlimited WiFi or Hotspot capabilities, a well-paid maid and chauffeur, and a rocket launcher might set me back a few dollars.  Suggestions on getting capital for my adventures are certainly welcome.

In the meantime, I will continue to make mean faces at the young child looking back at me through the frilly curtain in the back of this slow-moving RV. Hmmm. It seems I can be just as anti-social without the RV, after all.

 

 

 

Who You Gonna Call?

So.  I saw a sign on a bus I was following on my way to work this morning. It took up the entire back of the bus. I wasn’t able to take a picture of it because … you know … driving. Aren’t you proud of me? (I’m looking at YOU Lee!).  “Big surprise” you mutter to yourself, mass transit vehicles often have signs on them – marketing gurus routinely avail themselves of the moving real estate for product placement and advertisements for businesses. Yes, you’re right, of course. But this sign got me thinking and as we know, my mind does tend to wander.

“Feel like you got hit by a bus?”

That was the headline on the advertisement that filled my windshield with its smoggy glow this morning. Luckily … despite the question in front of me … the advertisement, and the bus, stayed firmly on the outside of my windshield, thank you very much.

The ad was for a doctor’s office, one of those urgent care clinics where they’re open late and cater to families whose children get sick at odd hours (don’t they all?) and late-night revelers who wear their beer goggles with pride, even though they couldn’t juggle those chainsaws as well as they thought they could, and well, they end up at the urgent care clinic advertised in front of me.

Presumably, the ad was directed at sick people, as in “I have the mother of all stomach flu,” or, “I have a head cold to beat all head colds and since I have to work every waking hour of my day and can’t take off to see a regular doctor, can you help me breathe through my nose, please?”  But …

It got me thinking. It’s clever marketing, there’s no doubt about that – got hit by a bus … on a bus … now, that’s funny.

Or is there a more sinister motive? Is it subliminal messaging?  Are they planting the seed with their ostensibly innocent headline? I mean, that’s how subliminal messaging works, after all. Do they want you to get hit by a bus? And if their prognostication should come to fruition, you know who to call. Seems like a twisted bit of cross-promotion symbiosis if you ask me.

On the Road

Commuting to and from work is fun.  Said no one, ever.  We share the road with many drivers, each one completely unique and apparently, as I have come to find out, following their own set of traffic laws.  As a frequent traveler on a major highway system in my state, I am amazed at how my mere presence on an entrance ramp has a magical effect on the flow of traffic.  A car that was previously more than half a mile away in the middle lane spots me and speeds up, moving over to the lane I need, and cuts me off…or worse, keeps time with me so that I can’t get over.  This dastardly deed is known as “Don’t Let Him Over” and the game begins as soon as a trailing car sees your turn signal, indicating politely that you’d like to be somewhere else, anywhere else, really, as long as it is away from the grandmother doing 25 mph in the fast lane.

There was obviously a law passed about this, requiring you to speed up no matter how far away the car wishing to slide over and merge actually is.  The memo never reached me, though, and I continue to think there are nice drivers left out there.  Somewhere. Obviously far, far away. It could be that my language in traffic is too brutal for the delicate souls driving around me, so they purposefully excluded me from the mass mailings.  Sadly, this only increases my tirades and antics; not knowing the rules of the game, I’m run up onto the shoulder of the entrance ramp.  My oversized sunglasses hide my identity, though, and in my car I’m free to call you whatever I want. Sort of like those extreme-right trolls on Facebook.

Karma is sweet though, when I am cut off by someone speeding towards the light, only to be caught next to me in its web of eternal redness…that just makes my day. Yes, I know, obviously I live a pathetic existence for this to humor me as much as it does, but I try to get amusement when and where I can.  These people will always find a reason to fiddle with their radio, adjust their visors, or do anything that allows them to not make eye contact with my triumphant face as we sit in what, for them, has become the world’s longest light.

My personal favorite are the ones sitting, waiting to make a turn into my lane, seeing my lone car coming with no one else behind me or around me, only to turn directly in front of me …sometimes waiting — no, usually waiting, until I’m right up on them to do so.  The unwritten law here is that they must go no faster than 20 mph when they accomplish their feat.

Motorcyclists have laws all of their own.  I do love being on the back of a motorcycle, though I have never learned to drive one myself.  There is definitely something exhilarating about the freedom of being precariously perched on a motorized bicycle without the added security of metal surrounding you.  Every wheeled mode of transportation is supposed to adhere to the written laws of the road, from horse and buggy to tractor trailers.  Except, evidently, motorcyclists (okay fine, most some not all).  I have heard the announcements and I’ve seen the multitude of signs posted about looking twice and sharing the road with motorcycles, and I am saddened by accidents that are usually pretty brutal when a motorcyclist is involved.  That said, motorcyclists need to remember that they are not superheroes, impervious to the laws of nature, God, and man.  I see them riding down the white lines of the road, hurtling through time and space at the speed of sound, barely missing the mirrors on the sides of the cars they squeeze between as they seek to show off avoid the traffic jam the rest of us are just so deliriously happy to be sitting in.  I am not sure it was ever made clear to them that white lines are not designated motorcycle paths.  All joking aside, despite the immediate frustration that arises when I see these insane antics, I can’t help but cringe thinking of what might await them…and those they’re cutting off, down the road, and I keep my fingers crossed they make it home in one piece.

I hate driving … it’s a necessary evil. If I ever when I win the mega-million jackpot, the first thing I will do is get a driver on retainer. I mean, honestly, I have enough to worry about every day without trying to understand the unwritten games and laws that apparently govern our roads.  Most days, I am damned lucky I found the keys to my car to begin with.

Green Means Go

I could be wrong (I have been before and will be again) but I honestly believe that 99% of the congested traffic I encounter on my way to work or home from work is due to that one asshole up front who is on his (or her) phone or otherwise generally not paying attention to the world around him. The other 1% is thanks to the people who have simply never heard of merging and therefore have no idea what to do when faced with such a novelty.

Riding the Waze Wave

In the good old days, we had these things called maps.  I’m not saying I knew how to use them, just making light conversation.

I am both geographically and navigationally challenged.   When my daughter came in to the world, Mother Nature gave her looks, talent, and brains.  Then, looking down on me desperately trying to find the dairy aisle in a grocery store, Mother Nature decided to even the odds in my favor and give her an insanely accurate sense of direction.  My daughter could go someplace one time, and it is permanently ingrained on her brain map.  If, however, I am driving, and we end up three states away from our destination (due to my innate inability to follow directions), my daughter has fantastic technology in the palm of her hand to bring us back on track.  I was forbidden to touch the device, however, after that one time I tried to fold it back up and put it in the glove compartment.

With my daughter off to college and busy with her own life … too busy to help her old mother find that Starbucks two towns away that has that awesome white mocha latte that we’ve only been to 500 times (and I still can’t locate on my own), I figured I would never be able to find anything again.  I had visions of being lost in my own home, unable to find the bathroom or kitchen.  Luckily for me, she had an awesome solution called Waze. If you haven’t tried this app, you should. I swear by it now … and no, I don’t get paid to say that. It’s just as a person who routinely gets lost in my own hometown, I appreciate any little bit of help I can get to stay on track and on time.

Waze is more than just directions.  This amazing free app is powered by its users and allows them to enter alerts for police, traffic, accidents, road hazards, and so forth.  For some reason I do not understand, my car shows up on fellow Waze user’s screens as a blinking neon blip, with people regularly posting updates as to my whereabouts and adding absurd emoticons next to it. I’m sorry fellow travelers, but if it’s any consolation, I really don’t want to be doing what I’m doing either.

Waze has saved me time and frustration on more than one occasion by steering me away from traffic and into a smooth flow of backroads and little-known detours (at least little known to me).  I’ve been into neighborhoods I didn’t even know existed.  Every day driving is now an adventure!  At times, I like to feel in control and will deliberately ignore Waze instructions so that it realizes it is not the boss of me.  I mean, seriously, what the hell are you sending me this way for, you stupid app??  Needless to say, I’ve regretted it every time, because I’ve subsequently run into standstill traffic which has significantly delayed my road trip, not to mention added to my road-stress level…which, in all honesty, is about maxed out on a good day.

Waze doesn’t have the snark delightful repartee that accompanies my daughter’s route-finding directions, but it gets me where I need to be.

Now, speaking of lost, enjoy this news story about a family lost in corn maze who called 911 for rescue.   I may be a get lost in my own hometown kind of person, but I will never be the “lost in a corn maze calling 911 instead of cutting directly through the corn or flagging down the corn maze lifeguard” kind of lost.