Friday, February 17, 2006

Driving Miss. Cleatus

Phoenix, like most cities is just nuts when it comes to driving. There are quite a few reason for this. There aren’t anywhere near enough police to scare motorists into driving more slowly or more sanely. The police have tried some pretty interesting tactics to give the impression there are more of them then motorists think. My favorite is the decoy - a police car parked on the side of the road complete with a uniformed manikin holding a radar gun. That does seem to work better than the cameras Scottsdale installed to catch speeders. Analyzing the film reveals “drivers gone wild”. Everything from the standard finger to the more artistically appealing fruit basket. Oh yes, and all at speeds in excess of 100MPH. The current record holder comes in at 139MPH.

The range is from Gramps and Grams out for a spin in the old horseless carriage to the 2Fast and 2Furious race driver wannabes loudly weaving their way through rush hour traffic. The call of the Phoenix driver can be heard all through the state and goes “more freeways, more freeways!!”

There are two sides to the freeway thing. On the plus side we’ll kill all the assholes off a little faster (though they usually take some innocents along with them). There is a much bigger minus side. You have to displace homes and people to build these freeways because the various governments allowed developers to go on building sprees. No easements were allowed for freeway expansion (where was the State in all this?) There was a news article just recently about a fellow that discovered his home was on one of the potential paths for freeway expansion – after he bought the house. Of course the oh so scrupulous real estate agent and asshole builder forgot to mention that fact.

There are also some environmental concerns. Over the past few months everyone has been yakking about the “Brown Cloud”. A filthy soup made up of dust, vehicle emissions, smoke, and BO from the dude down the block. There are undoubtedly some other odds and ends in the mix, but vehicle emissions stand out. Now Cursed Tongue will tell you I am not the poster child for environmentalism. I use a burning tire to start my grill, have sealskin carpet, and am working on a way to get the car to run on a mixture of whale oil and sawdust from rare tropical hardwoods. My attitude has generally been that by the time it gets really bad, I will already be dead anyway. That death may come quite a bit sooner in the shadow of the aforementioned cloud. The cloud that makes folks with respiratory ailments go tits up. Ironically, the doctors used to send their patients out to these desert locales for the fresh air!! Now lets do some math – no worries, that is far from my strong suit as well…

More freeways + more cars = more dense brown cloud. Simple, yes? So how these folks can bitch and moan about the brown cloud in one breath and demand more freeways in the next is beyond me. Then we get to the 2Fast and 2 Furious and their cousin Johnny NASCAR. Gas is becoming increasingly expensive (said the Exxon exec while evilly rubbing his hands) and the fumes from the exhaust are bad for you, so why drive so fast, why drive a huge Monster truck or a vehicle that even the junk yard would turn away? We have an emission inspection in the state but I think it is more of a pencil whip, “here’s your $27”, in other words just another way for the folks in the capitol building to get their hand in your pocket (probably to pay for more freeways).

Well, while Johnny NASCAR has to use a ladder to get into his too tall pick up (He likes to run around out in the desert and screw that up too, although out here it is only a matter of time before a land pirate tacks up some more chicken wire and bird shit houses so what’s the diff…) and Sterling Moss Junior loves how loud his POS Civic sounds with the new straight pipe, things just continue to get worse and the state and local governments prove how useless they are.

Well, gotta go dump that old oil out in the park next-door, so until next time, drive like there is no tomorrow, cause their ain’t.