Some believe that life imitates art. For me, life imitates news. I read a piece on the myriad of distractions that drivers face on today’s roads.
Any number of activities, both inside the vehicle and out, can cause a distraction. Some may be difficult to predict or control, such as an event along the roadside or a loose object moving inside the car.
I once watched a woman wearing a string bikini and strappy high heels ride her bicycle down Edmonton’s busy Whyte Avenue. If based on the number of rubbernecking cars that crawled dead slow to get a better gander, she was a definite distraction.
Unpredictability is key. Take your screaming baby in the back seat, or the bear that appeared before my father while heading home from the lake. Had Dad been texting or multitasking, there could have been a fatality. Actually there was – the poor bear – but it was either collide with Smoky or get creamed by the fast-moving stream of Sunday traffic behind us.
Another word of advice: if you’re a bear, please don’t lounge on the highway at dusk. If you need a ride, stick out your paw on the side of the road. Or consider a Commuter Pass with Greyhound.
Sure, some distractions you can’t anticipate, but there are others that drivers choose. It’s these choices that leave me clenching my jaw, everything from selecting music, interacting with passengers, making or receiving phone calls to studying the GPS.
To find an article on distracted driving was apropos. I’d just arrived home after witnessing a parade of distracted drivers while stopped at a red light with my husband.
Turning vehicles had the right of way, which gave me time to watch as they maneuvered the turn. None was doing the dreaded texting or phoning, although one man laughed uproariously, with his head thrown back and his eyes pinched shut. The next dude turned his car but stared at something over his shoulder.
Vehicle number three’s driver fought with a food wrapper and the woman following adjusted her scarf in the mirror. The final man to make the light was looking down and digging at something in his lap.
Very few traveling the roads today have lives so vital that they can’t pull over and park for a few minutes. Can’t they at least wait for a red light before eating that drippy fajita or mining their lap for gold? No wonder there are accidents!
Imagine an idyllic world where people simply drive the highways without distraction, eyes front and hands at ten and two on the wheel? That’s the artwork I want to create for my living room, with emphasis on “living.” And I’ll remember to sketch in the poor bear who gave his/her life – along with our car’s front end – so we could enjoy a beach day.
Ten-4, rubber ducky.
Audio version song
“Jaw Harp You Can Dance To”
Tell Your Friends
In my early twenties I accepted a date with a man I met in a night club. He owned a major business and I recognized his face from news articles and TV profiles. Although I wasn’t attracted to him, my girlfriend convinced me I’d have fun, that I should “go for it!”
Date night didn’t begin well. He phoned ten minutes before his scheduled arrival to say he was running late and I’d better take a cab to the hockey game.
While seated at the stadium he ignored me but enjoyed the game, leaping and roaring with delight or disgust, punching the air.
I sure didn’t remember as much gold when I met him several nights earlier. For hockey night, “Goldfinger” wore a lot of jewelry. Even the sheen of his hair and skin seemed unnaturally bronzed.
When the game ended, we headed to the parking lot. A group of people had gathered around his expensive foreign car. As we approached, he leaned over and whispered, “They’re not looking at you, they’re looking at my car, Sheri.” Rude! And Sheri is not my name. Tack these onto the list of bad date indicators.
My middle name was hopeful . . . make that stupid. I should have listened to my intuition, not my girlfriend. Questions: 1) why didn’t I escape to the row of idling cabs outside the arena and 2) why did I agree to stop at his office when he offered to show me “something special”? Sheri’s decision-making skills were sorely lacking that night.
“Take a seat,” he said, pointing to a couch. He went to a wall unit and pulled out a key ring from his pocket. Then he removed his shiny gold baubles – the bracelets, watch, necklace and two jumbo rings he had to lick before they’d budge. He placed them inside a drawer and locked it.
“I’m not going to steal anything,” I called out. He mumbled about them getting in the way. “In the way of what?” I asked. No answer.
With my coat still buttoned, I watched him disappear behind a door. Suddenly his office lobby transformed – the bright lights dimmed and a gas fireplace ignited with a pop. Next, the couch vibrated. I jumped up. It quickly expanded to a semi-circular bed.
My fight-or-flight instinct kicked in and I started to breathe heavily. Got to get out. The moment I fast-walked to the door and hauled on the handle – locked! – another door opened, releasing the smell of damp cedar. There stood Goldfinger in a short brown robe.
“Here,” and he tossed a matching robe at me. “Get comfortable.”
I let the robe fall to my feet. “I want to go, you said we weren’t staying!”
He stretched across his couch-cum-bed.
“Come on Sheri, let’s relax in the sauna.”
My back hugged the door. “No, I want to go. Now!” I pulled out my cell phone and quickly punched the number for a cab. I didn’t have Goldfinger’s address but knew the company name and added, “Please hurry!”
He remained on the bed and thumbed through his phone, probably looking for a replacement to slip on his guest robe. Sheri was a disappointing dud.
Finally, he threw the ring of keys at me. With shaking hands, I tried several before the cylinder clicked.
Glorious freedom! I left the key ring dangling in the lock and fast-walked to the road. I’d never felt so relieved to be done with a date.
As for that “something special” Goldfinger promised to show me, I assumed it was a memento from his trip to Africa, not what was under his short robe. I wonder if it was covered in gold?
Topher Mohr and Alex Elena
Tell Your Friends
I’m in the mood for another stagette. At my last, the highlight prop of the eve was a metal chastity belt for the betrothed. This locking chain device was straight from a tickle trunk of the Spanish Inquisition. The belt didn’t stay on our bride-to-be for long. I tried it; sitting on cold rigid metal isn’t as sexy as it sounds.
The Hawaiian costume we brought stayed on a little longer. My friend was adorable in the colorful leis, hula skirt and flower-covered bra she wore over her clothing. Not surprisingly, she attracted plenty of interest from men in the bar.
As the evening progressed, we moved to a club where we danced long into the night. The betrothed removed her grass skirt, and then off came the floral bra. At some point I slipped on the bra and leis to become the latest Hula Girl. The details are a little hazy, Your Honor. I blame the light show and loud music. Tack on the trays of shooters.
The night was packed with learning lessons.
Lesson one: hang out on the dance floor with attractive young women and men will quickly orbit. I danced with a cute guy who turned our fast dance into a slow, touchy-feely tango. The imprint of his plaid shirt stuck to me for days.
Did I feel flattered that a much younger man wanted me to join his table? Sure, for 30 seconds. But I’m not stupid. I knew where I stood, or tangoed, in the wild kingdom’s pecking order. On the dance floor I was the older antelope of the herd. If a man – let’s compare him to a lion – was unsuccessful in capturing a younger, prettier member, he figured he can pick off me, the slower one.
Lesson two: I look better to people who imbibe. For an instant ego boost I shall spend more time in places that serve liquor. Lots of it.
Lesson three: a little costuming goes a long way. Countless men reached out and stroked, poked or squeezed my Hawaiian bra as I walked past. The first few times I was shocked, since I forgot I was wearing it. By the tenth man to cop a feel, I realized that it doesn’t take much to stir up that lion’s den.
When I later complained to Paul how men felt entitled to grab me simply because I draped a few plastic flowers across my chest, he answered, “Then why didn’t you just take it off?”
Um, good point. Again, I blame those shooter trays.
Now where did I leave that Hawaiian get-up? I hope to wear it again soon. I might be an aging antelope, but I’m still running with the herd.
Audio version song
“Bet on It”
Tell Your Friends