Thursday, August 14, 2014

Thoughts on the Commute

In which I grouse about my commute, Mrs. Drang's commute, your commute... Or just plain driving around...
The most common make and model of car in Pugetopolis today seems to be the Kia Soul. I have no problem with this, it seems to be a practical car, not particularly attractive but not ugly, not huge but a large enough cargo area for grocery shopping, not so low that drivers of a certain age will have trouble getting in or out...
The drivers seem to be largely of Mrs. Drang's and my demographic, as the last point might indicate.  So why does Kia advertise the thing with animated hip-hop dancers hamsters? Beats me.
Mind you, the most common type of car on the road is the "crossover", the domesticated SUV that has largely replaced the minivan. Note that they are largely identical across manufacturers. This is what happens when everyone uses the same software to design vehicles to meet government safety and economy regulations.
If you're driving under the speed limit on the interstate stay in lane one.
  • And turn on your hazard lights.
  • And you'd better be having a medical or mechanical emergency.
Speaking of Lane One, a new one on me:
Today, as I was going to work I spotted a truck towing an Oversize Load.  The banner on the rear of the flatbed trailer identified it as such.
As I got closer, I realized the load itself was a crate.  As large wooden crate.  A huge wooden crate, it looked big enough to hold an M1 Abrams tank, or two, in fact, one on top of the other.
You could say the crate was sizeable.
So, if you're driving a semi rig hauling a flatbed with an oversize load, which overhangs the edges of your flatbed three feet on each side and is so tall it won't fit under most overpasses, the only reasons you should not be in Lane One would be
  • Lane One is marked "Must Exit", and it isn't your exit
  • There's an accident or construction or other blocking "mess"
  • The vagaries of highway design have you merging from the left
Swerving from Lane One to Lane Four and then immediately back since Lane One is your exit is a sign that you shouldn't be trusted with a license to operate a tricycle on a playground, let alone a semi rig on the Interstate.
  • Someone's lucky I couldn't see a "How's My Driving?" sign...
It is a little known fact that the Seattle area doesn't actually get as much rain as, say, New York. It rains frequently, but not usually heavily. Furthermore, July and August are usually bereft of precipitation, leading to obscure bloggers making jokes about the Yellow Sky Demon...
Also, it is common around here to complain that four or five days without rain causes everyone around here to forget how to drive once it starts again...
  • So, it is noteworthy that yesterday we got more rain in one day than we usually do in the entire months of July and August combined, and I saw no signs of jackassery behind the wheel. 
  • Good job!  (The fool above was spotted today, when it was overcast but not rainy.)
Meanwhile, Seattle's answer to Boston's Big Dig has been delayed even more.  Tunneling machine Big Bertha ran into a 9" pipe, you see, that was one no charts, and it broke her tooth.  So they have to drill down to perform dental surgery.  Which will apparently take until sometime next spring.
  • I don't want to say "I Told You So"... Oh, who am I kidding?  Of course I told them so!
  • Much of the Seattle waterfront is fill, which is why it's of such concern seismically.  Why they think drilling a tunnel is a better idea than building a new viaduct is beyond me...
  • Oh, who am I kidding? They hate cars.  They hate drivers. They hate the idea that individuals have that much control over their personal movement. 
  • Who is "they"?  Collectivists in general, the Powers That Be in Seattle, specifically, who love to encourage the development of housing, as long as it doesn't include any place to park a privately owned car.
  • Jackasses...

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