Subourbon Mom


Hydro-automentia and Other Driving Syndromes
June 16, 2020, 5:00 pm
Filed under: Travel | Tags: , , , , , ,

hydroAs pandemic restrictions are loosened and people start to emerge like moles into daylight, I am reminded again how normally intelligent, capable people – people who are doctors and lawyers and engineers outside of their cars – often drive like they’re living the Mario Kart dream or on the antique car ride at King’s Dominion. And God forbid it should start raining – holy shit – it’s like some kind of collective amnesia or processing disorder takes over.

I call this hydro-automentia or, forgetting-how-to-drive-when-it-rains syndrome.

Let me give you an example.  It’s raining, but not too hard – summer rain that finally cools the road off enough so that your dog stops pulling to get onto the grass and stop frying his paws like four little eggs. If you’re driving in this type of rain, a traveler with hydroautomentia in front of you slows WAY down, switches on his hazards and proceeds as if the rain is made of acid and any splash-up will disintegrate his car.  These are often the same people who ride their brakes no matter what the weather.

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Then there are the people who suffer from auto-identitatem syndrome, or car identity syndrome. The symptoms can vary and may be exacerbated by disproportionate amounts of testosterone, narcissism and Karen-itis.  Here are a few symptoms:

  • Jersey slashing (If you’re from the south, it’s identity confusion over your place of origin; if you’re from the north, you think you’re just being efficient.)
  • Owning a car that resembles a current or past police vehicle model so that is scares the Bejeezus out of everyone you creep up behind
  • Having a personalized license plate that is either indecipherable or only means something to you, the car owner – either way, you’ve made me look at your car for way too long without getting it and now I’m annoyed
  • Having any kind of “_______ on Board” sign suction cupped to your window – I don’t care and it’s usually not true anyway. Plus, if you have a baby on board you’re providing free advertising to pedophiles.
  • Having any version of the family member stickers on your back window – unless it’s the one where the dinosaur/shark has eaten one of the family members (that’s just funny). Again, you’re advertising to pedophiles, but now they also know exactly which sex and approximate age is in the car and which sports fields to go to.

The last syndrome folks need to be aware of is mergus-icognita.  This syndrome manifests in two primary ways: not using the blinkers/turn signals at a stoplight, and not indicating if you are merging onto an off-ramp. I’ve written about this one before, so I’ll just say that I don’t need a mystery when I’m driving. Life provides me with enough unexplained stuff, like if money is the root of all evil, why do they ask for it in church?  The point is, I don’t need to play “Guess Which Way I’m Going” when I’m at a busy intersection or trying to get on a highway.

So, in addition to the symptoms of COVID-19, the flu, allergies, anxiety and depression that we are supposed to be mindful of right now, please monitor yourself for the symptoms described above. If you do have them, try home remedies first, like removing the offending signage or practicing using your turn signals in your driveway before venturing out and infecting the rest of us.

Oh, and don’t forget the #1 Rule:

Be Kind.

 

 



The Fast & The Furious – “Stealing” Cars at Horse Shows
July 12, 2018, 6:00 pm
Filed under: Misc. Humor, Sports | Tags: , , , , , , ,

(Names have been changed to protect…well, you be the judge.)

Recently my friend Amy’s daughter Grace was taken to the hospital after a fall from her horse during a horse show.  Don’t worry – she’s fine. But what happened on the way to the hospital just shows that there’s humor even in frantic and scary situations.

As the EMTs were loading Grace into the ambulance, Amy called out to Grace’s boyfriend to take her car and follow the ambulance.  Eager to help, Dominic raced across the showgrounds, found the car and was soon trailing the ambulance on the highway.

Meanwhile, in the ambulance, a clearly concussed Grace keeps squinting out the back window. Noticing her daughter starting to strain to see through the rear window she asked, “What, honey?”

“I – I think that’s Dominic behind us,” Grace mumbled.

Amy looked out the back window and, sure enough, it was Dominic following them – but in the wrong car.   

amazingAmy tried in vain to get Dominic’s attention by waving her arms, making a “cut/stop” motion with her hand across her throat and mouthing that’s not my car! Dominic had no idea what she was doing – he was busy changing the preset radio stations from gospel to country and rock.

When they got to the hospital, Dominic rushed to Grace’s side.

“You ok, babe?” he asked.

Grace chuckled softly. “Uh-huh. But You’re a criminal.”

“What?” Dominic asked.

“You’re a criminal – that’s not my mom’s car.”

Amy added, “You have to go back to the show and get my car – it has my purse and ID in it!”

Because he’s a good boy, Dominic promptly freaked out.  He jumped into the borrowed car, drove back to the showgrounds and did what any red-blooded American would do – parked the car in the same spot and used his t-shirt to wipe the steering wheel, radio buttons and door handle for fingerprints. As far as we know, no one was the wiser for his mistake.

All this is funny by itself, and typical of my friends.  But here’s what I still makes me laugh:

  1. I still wonder what the owners of the “stolen” car thought when they got back in at the end of the day – the radio stations were different and the car seat was in a different position.
  2. What did the other drivers behind the ambulance think when they saw Amy waving and mouthing words from the back window of the ambulance? That she was a psych patient that needed more meds?  That the ambulance was secretly a rape van and she was being kidnapped? Or that she was celebrating because England beat Sweden in the World Cup?
  3. Grace and my daughter (D2) look out for each other at these events.  One time, Grace and Dominic raced to our house to get D2’s rescue inhaler while she sucked on oxygen at the end gate.  D2 has accompanied Grace to the hospital a couple of times now, and each time she takes a selfie. It’s what friends are for…keepin’ it real…

Jesse Selfie3



Jesus Would Have Used His Turn Signals


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Driving around with brand new teenage drivers, or soon-to-be-drivers can be like hanging out with an alcoholic at a party who’s just gotten back on the wagon.  There is an enormous amount of self-righteousness packed into one place.

“Mom, you’re going over the speed limit.”

“Mom, the light turned green. Put your phone down.”

“Mom, I think that policeman is trying to wave you over….mom?  Mom? Why have your eyes gone black??”

One of my biggest driving pet peeves is people who don’t use turn signals, especially at stoplights.   FYI People—they are not optional or just a courtesy!  They are required by law!

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I can’t tell you how many drivers have seen me yelling and gesturing (with my windows safely up) as they paused in the middle of the intersection, looking bewildered as everyone waits for them to go straight because they forgot to put their turn signal on.

Daughter #1, our newest licensed driver, is now beginning to understand my frustration, and has come up with some of her own creative descriptions of these drivers, none of which can be printed here.

Daughter #2 however, has more fun pointing out the times when I myself forget to use my signal (as if!), or when, according to her, I wait to long to use it.  The other day, we were getting ready to turn onto our street when apparently I didn’t use my signal until too late.

Daughter #1:  “You didn’t use your signal, Mom.”

Me: “Yes, I did.”

Daughter #2:  “Well, you waited long enough.”

Me:  “Don’t mess with me today. It’s too hot.”

Daughter #2: “Why? What are you gonna do?”

Me: “Just–don’t. It’s not worth it.”

Long pause…

Daughter #2: “It’s worth it a little bit.”

Sigh……so please, in the interests of keeping people safe, and because playing chicken in the middle of an intersection isn’t cool, use your turn signals. IN the words of one of my youth group leaders back in the day, WWJD?

 

 



Smart Cars and Smarter Onesies–Inventions That Scare Me

With every new year there are articles covering what’s going to be trending in technology.  Some are pretty cool, and some… not so much.

Under the pretty cool category, I thought Lynette Jones’s touch-based (haptic) communications system sounded interesting. Haptic technology studies the sense of touch on human skin. For example, rescue workers trying to find buried survivors could wear a belt with buzzers that would alert them with a buzz on their skin, warning them of danger and the need to move left or right; or, a vision-impaired person could be buzzed on their left or right arm, indicating which way to turn as they maneuver through a city (http://www.livescience.com/37461-vibrating-navigators-shake-up-devices.html).

These goals are certainly admirable, but I thought of a different use: during sex, partners could wear a device (hopefully undetected by their partner) that would tell them when what they were doing was getting their partner aroused, based on pulse rate, etc.  No more guess work, no more “That’s not it…a little to the left would be better…” (Of course, Hubby would like me to clarify that this issue is only something my girlfriends have complained about to me–we have none of these issues.) This might be especially helpful for the inexperienced lover, or for the next generation who will undoubtedly be unable to read facial cues because they are always looking at their phones.  I’m sure with the right advances and some clever designer strategies, someone could come up with some fancy lingerie that would work.

Under the “Not-so-much” category is the onesie created by Intel  that can measure a baby’s temperature, pulse rate and breathing rate (http://www.ideaconnection.com/new-inventions/intel-showcases-wearable-tech-07905.html.)  The onesie would then tell a smart phone or smart coffee mug (who thought a coffee mug was the best choice for this?) when the baby is hungry, sick, or waking up. If the baby is hungry, the smart onesie could trigger a bottle warmer to begin warming up the baby’s milk. For a baby with health issues, or if there is an inexperienced babysitter, smart onesies could be a huge help.

But seriously…  Someone actually created a device that would tell a new mother her child MIGHT be waking up?

Unknown-1Clearly, this was NOT developed by a sleep-deprived parent who, every thirty minutes, staggers to their newborn’s crib upon hearing the tiny, delicate scratch of a fingernail on the sheets, so exhausted they are unable to remember their own name.  If my phone beeped at me because my baby might be waking up, I would throw the phone and the onesie into the diaper genie.

Another “not-so-much” device is Automatic, created by Automatic Labs in San Francisco. According to the website, Automatic is a device in cars that can record data about your car and your driving habits (like speeding, braking too hard, or accelerating too fast), and displays the results on your phone so you can save energy and money. It can also map out each trip using GPS, calculate gas usage and mileage, and gives you a driving score. The higher your score, the more money you are saving. It even remembers where you parked.

Okaaaaay…speaking as one with a lead foot and the occasional case of road rage, I don’t think I need another device in my car to “help” me be a better driver. I already have Hubby (who has commented on my driving since we first got into a car together), and Daughters 1&2 (who closely monitor my driving habits now that they are learning how to drive). As for braking hard and accelerating too fast, I’ll stop doing that when other people learn how to drive without being stupid.

Now that I think about it, Automatic would be helpful in monitoring Daughters 1&2. They certainly couldn’t turn off Automatic like they can turn off the Find A Friend App…

But the feature that remembers where I’ve parked? That alone would be worth the $99.95 price tag.

Tune in next week to “Inventions I Will Never Patent But Will Rage About When Someone Else Does…”



Bumper Stickers Picker

Being the parent of teens who can’t drive yet, I spend approximately half of my day in my car, driving to and from sleepovers, sporting events and subsequent visits to the orthopedist. I have become an expert at iPhone games, deciphering vanity license plates (if it takes more than 5 seconds you need to pick another one), and reading bumper stickers. It’s the bumper stickers I want to talk about.

Bumper stickers came into popularity after WWII, in the form of flags attached with wire to car bumpers, according to that bastion of nebulous truth, Wikipedia (Since I’m in my car right now I don’t have a way to verify this). Magnets have been around even longer. So why has it taken us 70 years to figure out how to make flat magnet stickers that don’t ruin your paint job?

As if FaceBook, Instagram, and SnapChat aren’t enough, we have bumper stickers/magnets for everything, announcing to the motorized world our political affiliations, accomplishments, beliefs, and travel habits. There are stickers for Republicans, Democrats, Tea Partiers, and someone named Ron Paul who I still haven’t Googled; there are pro-life, pro-choice, pro-gay marriage, pro-term limits, pro-America, anti-war, anti-Israel, anti-Islamist, anti-Christian, anti-Wall Street, and anti-gun stickers, to mention a few.

Please explain to me how, if I can watch an entire debate and still not know who I’m voting for, why you think a bumper sticker is going to make up my mind? Same thing for the religious bumper stickers–if I’ve been going to church my whole life, have read books on various world religions, and I’m still searching, do you really think that criss-cross fish thing is going to make me Born-Again?

There are Soccer Moms, Baseball Dads, Football Fanatics, and entire families made of stick figures on every mini-van and SUV. My favorite of these was one that has a parent stick figure missing, and hand-written in marker were the words “Position Vacant.” Maybe they could add stick figure step-parents by having them on a staircase; or, half-brother and –sisters by cutting the stick figures in half. The modern family defies stick figure decals.

And let’s not forget the rampant joggers and runners who brag about their marathons, half-marathons and 10k races with stickers. If I put a running sticker on my car, it would say .1K—Car to Bar Relay.

Last year I finally bought a bumper sticker. It said, “Don’t use your turn signal –keep me in suspense”—a HUGE pet-peeve of mine. Turn signals are NOT optional. I was excited to put it on until I realized no one across an intersection would be able to see it if I put it on the front of my car. So, there it sits on my kitchen counter, taunting me with the knowledge I will have to keep my snarky comments inside my car instead of telling the world how I feel. Perhaps it’s just as well. Very few people would understand a sticker that says, “1 frozen chipmunk =3 car accidents—I dare you.”




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