The Skin I'm In
Prison Songs and Sweet Killarney

Crazy Drivers -- Know Any?

All of you who said Alice's Restaurant were quite right -- but Stephanie gets the two pats on the head for being first! Pat, pat.

Joe and I were on our way home from the movies (The Queen -- very good, I think Helen Mirren is amazing) when we noticed a car driving onto a closed part of the under-construction highway, just past a turn-off.

"That idiot missed his turn!" said Joe.

"Look -- he's turning around. Where does he think he's going to go?" said I. (The southbound and northbound lanes are divided by Jersey barriers; u-turns are impossible.)

"Jesus Christ! He turned off his lights!" blasphemed Joe.

And then we passed the "idiot" and realized said "idiot" was a county cop setting himself up to watch for the real idiots.

"You know, those guys don't get paid enough," said Joe.

"You're tellin' me," I concurred.

Then we reminisced about the stupid drivers we've seen over the years, and we instituted the Idiot Driver Award.

Fourth place: Joe happened to pass a big old Crown Vic. It looked a little strange; kind of low to the ground and wobbly. Then he realized what it was: instead of the regular tires, the Vic was sporting mini-spares. Not one -- not two -- yes, all four tires were mini-spares.

Third place: I was following a pickup truck in lunchtime traffic, going along at a pretty good clip. I noticed that the truck bed was piled high with about a dozen mattresses. Yes, a dozen -- they were higher than the roof of the pickup. Then I realized that the mattresses were NOT TIED DOWN in any way, shape, or form. And as soon as I formed the thought Those things are going to fly off the back of that truck, they did. The top three stood up vertically and then flopped into the street. Luckily, I was far enough behind that I could avoid them.

Second place: We were on the way home one night when we passed this hunkajunk moving along the road, a little slower than normal, but not much. As we passed him, we noticed that the headlights were out. The passenger, though, was helping out by shining a flashlight out the window onto the road ahead.

First place: Joe was driving on the Beltway, an interstate highway where the speed limit seems to be a minimum rather than a maximum. As you travel west past Georgia Avenue, you get a spectacular view of the Mormon Temple dead ahead. One afternoon -- before rush hour, thank God -- Joe came up over the rise to see a car stopped dead in the center lane. The two women in the car were busy taking pictures of the temple. Luckily, the other lanes were clear and Joe was able to yank the car and pass them.

Special Hitchiker Hubris Award: Joe was a courier in a former life. He was making a delivery one day, driving fast down I-95. As he passed the exit for the now-closed Lorton Correctional Complex, he saw a hitchiker, hands raised high, thumb out. Yes, hands. The guy was handcuffed.

Needless to say, Joe did not pick him up. He called 911 to report the fact that a handcuffed dude was hitching next to the clank -- perhaps they might want to do a little checking?

Now it's your turn -- what idiocy have you observed on the highways?