traffic games

This morning I paid $3.45 per gallon for gas. I spent almost thirty bucks on just 8 gallons. Oi. As I left the gas station, I wrote “$3.45″ on a little piece of paper and stuck it in front of my speedometer, the idea being to remind me next time I want to take off when the light turns green, or rush to fill in a gap between me and the car in front (to avoid people cutting me off…cause they will cut me off) that it’s costing me a fortune.

I watched my tachometer (that’s your RPM gauge folks) and figured out that I really shouldn’t go over 2.5 (x 1000) RPMs for regular traffic, and I decided nothing over 3 on the highway. That puts me at about 70mph. (Don’t blame me. This is Atlanta, and driving 55 will get you shot.)

I can’t begin to tell you how much this changes driving. It’s not longer a pressure cooker game of “who can I beat.” I’ve experienced this before when totaling my truck left me with no other option but Teresa’s 1993 Buick Century that wouldn’t drive faster than 65 without loosing pieces. I have to say, it’s a nice way to do things. With an hour commute to and from work every day, the stress of driving is pretty hard to avoid, so having this little game to relieve some of it is nice.

with all wheel drive standard

today’s car commercials are filled with fanciful locales and driving methods that all of us would love to take part in, but when we do, we get tickets. whether it’s driving on the cliffs of some irish sea coast at 70 miles an hour, or driving over big rocks in cars that will only be used by women who cut me off, we very rarely see car commercials that display what you’ll really use your car for: stop and go traffic, and driving down straight highways. but today i got a special treat. i got to act out one of these car commercial oddities that you don’t really see much anymore. in the past nearly every car commercial depicted a family driving along a road cut deep into the mountianside lined with “watch for falling rocks” signs. and of course, in some odd fire and brimstone world, the cars would then begin to dodge a deluge of granite tumbling across the roadway. well, i wasn’t on the side of a mountian, and it wasn’t granite, but i was on a hill, and there was a pumpkin rolling down it, tumbling from lane to lane. watching the procession of cars ahead of me dodge this pumpkin, i could almost tell the age group of each driver by their evasive driving styles. the (assumed) old guy in the buick took a wide turn into the middle turn lane very early on and gracefully captained his boat of a car around the dirty orange road obstacle. shortly after him was a lowered honda civic that decided to wait till the last second to dodge it, giving a display of his car’s well-tuned suspension. whether he just wanted to play around, or if he was paying too much attention to what song his stereo was blaring across the county, i don’t know. i myself took a similar route. after all, the car salesmen told me that my 2003 mazda protege had a specially tuned suspension to handle tight corners fast, and so i couldn’t pass up this rare opportunity. so after passing the pumpkin in a sharp quick maneuver with great ease, i took a glance into my rear view mirror only to see a woman, in an lincoln navigator, on her cell phone, creating pumpkin pie under her tires, as she ran over it with little to no implication she even saw it or felt it go under her well endowed SUV. it’s probably better that way, for who knows what accidents could have occurred due to this rogue vegetable. or maybe now there’s a huge slick patch of pumpkin guts that will cause twice as many. either way, i had fun, and had to laugh at the fact that finally, after watching them for 22 years, one of those car commercials finally played out in real life. heck, who knows, maybe that lady in her navigator will go out and drive over something more than curbs and compact cars.