My parents’ neighbourhood in North Burnaby is plagued by intersections controlled by four-way stops. Four way stops are hard, I guess, because almost every time I drive to their house, I end up having a conversation with the other drivers that goes like this:
Me: Your turn. YOUR TURN BUDDY. YOU WERE THERE FIRST JUST GO ALREAD —
Buddy: Screeeeech…bye! Oh PS yeah I’m turning here!
Me: Next time you could use a signal. Ok, now it’s — hey, it’s MY TURN OTHER BUDDY!
Other Buddy: Whatever, I’m going. Every man for himself, here in North Burnaby.
Me: You, sir, are lame. HONK! HONK!
Kids: Why are you honking, mommy?
Me: Because it’s better than swearing.
Kids: What’s swearing, mommy?
Me: OMIGOD IT’S MY GODDAMN MOTHERFUCKING TURN!
Kids: Oh. We see.
I realized the other day that the reason mothers are terrible drivers is because they have people talking to them ALL THE TIME. Your mother is a terrible driver, right? If you aren’t a mother, you had one. And the way she drove made you crazy. You know why? Because you were talking to her all the time.
I think I am a pretty good driver. Most people think they are pretty good drivers. I bet there aren’t a lot of people who drive who, the whole time, are thinking, Man I suck at this. I should take a cab. But even I, the self-described good driver, have lately been second-guessing myself. Because I am driving, listening to the radio, eating trail mix, getting the kids a drink, and participating in a conversation about Superman. All at the same time! I am the true distracted driver. This is why when I arrive at my destination, I am not relaxed and smiling. I am all bent like a hunchback and my head hurts and my brow-furrow is storing cracker crumbs.
At least I drive a standard, which means I have to pay attention to my driving a little bit. If I drove an automatic, I would just
1. put foot on pedal
You’d be lucky if I stopped, at a four-way or anywhere.
Add to that five years of sleep deprivation and the fact that sometimes I drive in flip flops (which I shouldn’t, because then I get electric shocks) and I guess I should probably give you my license plate number right now so you can call it in and get me arrested.
People don’t know how to make left turns anymore. They barely pull out into the intersection. You have to pull out far enough so that you are turning into the correct lane — not into the oncoming traffic lane. I have been on both sides of this; the person who wants to get through the light turning left, like, today, and the person who is sitting in the other lane, hoping that person making a left turn doesn’t turn right into me.
It makes me think things like: What are they teaching these kids today about driving?
And since apparently I’m going for the Andy Rooney / “humour column in a free paper” style of writing, here’s another thing. It’s been years and no one has yet given me a good reason for a Baby on Board sign. Are you bragging about your baby? Congratulations on your baby. Is it some kind of code? Do you want me to hit you because you need the insurance money to pay for diapers? What?
I think I will walk more places. I think that would be good.