Tag Archives: driving in Texas

Crazy Old People Driving

You can probably tell that the photo Paffooney is totally staged.  I am not a good enough actor to manage the lookcrazy old driver2 of absolute blood-curdling horror that would be on my face if I were actually driving in the Dallas Metroplex.  My gray Gandalf-hair would be standing on end more, and my eyes would be more popped with horror… especially if I had really seen Suicide Sadie in her death-dealing super-WASP-rocket.  Honestly, I’m risking my life to reveal it, but one of the greatest perils of life in the suburbs in Texas is running afoul of the Texas Killer Grannies.  Yes, there is a secret, Illuminati-like organization of blue-haired old menaces driving big, expensive black battle-boats that try to kill as many other Texas drivers as they can… as well as pedestrians, cop cars, squirrels, poor-people’s children, and ceramic lawn gnomes as they can focus their myopic old granny glasses on.

To Texas Killer Grandmas, slaughtering the innocent on the roadways while your back seat is full of knitting baskets and tins of cat food is a Satanic ritual that gives them special and unnatural powers over life and death.

They all drive at least five-miles-an-hour faster than the speed at which they can actually control the vehicle.  For some of the most deadly grannies like Suicide Sadie and End-It-All Emma that is between 95 and 205 miles-per-hour, though the nearly-as-deadly Grandma McGillicuddy can be almost as guaranteed fatal at only about 35 miles an hour.  They cut in front of you without signalling, and traffic lights are interpreted far differently than normal in the presence of a Texas Killer Grandma.  Green means go.  Yellow means go faster.  And red means floor it and brace for impact.  Now, of course that is the granny interpretation of the light.  For me, green means proceed ultra-cautiously while scanning for hurtling BMW’s, Cadillacs, or Lincoln Town Cars with old ladies at the wheel and skulls painted in white on the driver’s door.  Yellow means pull over to the side of the road at a dead stop and make myself the smallest target possible.  And red means park on somebody’s lawn and wait for the intersection to become clear of all vehicles for several blocks all around.  Sidewalks are not safe either with a Texas Killer Grandma around.  You’re safer walking if you walk down the center of the road.  Of course, the more normal drivers will squish you like road-kill then, and the Texas Killer Grandma knows she was ultimately the cause of this suicidal death, so if they are close enough to see it in any sort of blurred clarity, they automatically count it as a kill.

You never see a Texas Killer Grandma charged with anything in the local media or even in court records.  They are not old ladies unconnected to persons of power.  Rich husbands, rich children, and sometimes even rich boyfriends see to it that they are never prosecuted.  They are immune to the wheels of justice.  Crazy Cat-Lady Clarice is immune to prosecution even though she doesn’t own even a nickel.  We think it is because she is so supremely skilled at vehicular homicide that even the police are afraid of her.  And how does she pay for gas in that 1965 Chevy Impala SS she drives with a blood-smeared hood and the driver’s side of the car painted completely white with skulls?

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Filed under humor, photo paffoonies, satire

Autorumination (the reprise)

Image

(This is a black-and-white cartoon in pen and ink that I have shamelessly colorized with colored pencil.)

    I have to tell you, driving in Texas, especially the “Big D” is taking your life in your hands, gripping that old steering wheel in a grip of death, and trying like heck not to hit any of the myriad things flying in front of you.  I have had in my lifetime three accidents and too many near misses to count.  Drivers that don’t have their number of kills painted on the driver-side door are rare indeed.
    One of the scariest encounters on the road has to be the legendary Texas Killer Grandma.  They have a private club where they get together over knitting and compare the goriest kills they have managed with their oversized automobiles.  These old lady drivers are invariably white-skinned and have hair either of strange shades of blue and periwinkle, or silver, almost chrome.  They have Killer Grandma nicknames like Suicide Sadie and End-It-All Emma.  They drive big black Cadillacs, Buicks, and Mercedes.  They have mostly no-fault insurance that will guarantee they can mash your children in the back end of your family car without jail time, and usually without paying for a penny of your damages.  They cruise around Dallas watching for unwary drivers so they can leap in front without signaling, getting bashed from behind by the victim, and sending the victim swirling off the overpass to a fiery death and dismemberment.  Then they cackle all the way to the next club meeting.
    Killer Grandmas drive a class of vehicle I call the American Wasp Rocket.  These are large, unwieldy vehicles from Ford and GM that wreak havoc with smaller, slower cars, especially foreign-made cars like Toyotas, Subarus, and Volkswagens.  In the northern precincts of Dallas, Austin, and Houston, where these vehicles truly dominate, you will often see BMW, Volvo, or Italian Wasp Rockets, which are almost an oxymoron by their very nature.  (“I only buy them gol’ dang furrin cars iffen they’re status symbols, cause I only buy American, but I figgur high-dollar wagons like them thar Lambourginis count as American too!”)  These cars are all large enough to crush an SUV under their wheels, and, of course, they are only driven at hyper-speeds while winding their way through heavy traffic so the occupants can arrive anywhere they are going FIRST.  Besides Texas Killer Grandmas, there are few other drivers of these vehicles who aren’t over-weight, middle-aged white males who have high-paying white-collar jobs.
    The most common vehicles on Texas highways are, of course, the typical Bubba.  Bubba cars are always pick-up trucks, and almost always Chevys.  In fact, they almost have to be white, red, or brown, or they don’t count as a proper Bubba.  Bubbas drive like Foster Brooks on speed, always weaving, wobbling, wagging, and wrecking.  The highway is their own personal demolition derby, and if they don’t get you with a straight-on hood-smash, they’ll ding you with whatever falls out of the back of their pick-up (beer bottles, kids, used tires, tools, parts of the vehicle that have already fallen off once before, and sometimes ugly wives).
    A more-or-less brain-damaged sub-species of Bubba is the Billy Bob.  They drive Ford pickups, white, red, brown, and sometimes gold.  They will kill you no less quickly than a Bubba, but they do tend to have better insurance.
    Of course, I can’t even talk about Beaner cars.  It is not politically correct, as a young Hispanic student was pointing out to me just two weeks ago.  “I can say I’m a Beaner,” he said, “But you can’t say it because you’re a Gringo Loco.  Only Beaners are allowed to call a Beaner a Beaner.  You could be killed for saying that in the Barrio!  Even for thinking that!”  So, I won’t talk about those cars on the road in the fast lane doing a mere twenty-five miles per hour.  I won’t mention how they have eighteen kids and a Tia Carmen in the back seat and can’t see out with the rear view mirror.  I won’t even talk about the rosary beads, fuzzy dice, and numerous brightly colored stuffed animals that hang from the rear view mirror blocking the windshield also.  It just wouldn’t be nice to talk about that.
    So, I guess I have to sum up with a concluding statement that makes sense out of all of this Texas road-rage and bumper-car nonsense.  It would have to be something like this:  If you ever plan to drive in Texas, be prepared.  Have your burial plot purchased, your insurance paid up, and “Drive Friendly!”

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The Car Radio Keeps Me Alive

Today I had to deliver my daughter, the Princess, to her high school in the rain.  It is hard enough make the circuitous trip to the west in order to go south and then east again through all the construction and roadwork going on with stupid people who are somehow allowed to drive a car and carry a gun in Texas even though they don’t know what a turn signal is for or that a speed limit sign shows the maximum rather than the minimum speed you should go at every red stoplight and corner without there being rain to obscure vision and make the mangled pavement slick.  You have to be able to concentrate and perform like a virtuoso while driving to make it there alive.  I would simply not be able to do it without the car radio.

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Driving the family car in Texas

The radio keeps me calm and gives my brain the power it needs to overcome obstacles.  The jump across the river with the man-eating fish in it alone requires an energized brain and a cool head.  I listen to oldies on the radio with KLUV in the mornings.  It is how my children have come to love Don Henley and the Eagles as much as I do.

For the last seven years of my teaching career, I had to learn the hard way that music is critical to driving well, and driving well is the only way to stay alive on the mean streets of Dallas.  I had a morning commute of 40 minutes, 30 miles, and 45 stoplights one way to my teaching job in Garland.  I drove it starting at six in the morning to avoid traffic.  But after school, I often had to labor for three hours through rush hour traffic on the way back home.  I learned to switch the station to 101.1, the classical music station.  Listening to Mozart and Beethoven not only makes you smarter, it makes you calmer.  Calm enough not to get out of your car at the stop light and beat the guy in the car ahead of you with the detached bumper of your car that he knocked off while cutting in front of you because he was in the wrong lane to make the turn he needed to make and didn’t realize until 15 minutes into the wait for the red light to change enough times that our cars actually had a chance to make it through the intersection.  Yes, that is a run-on sentence about road rage.  And road rage is real.  But in real life I didn’t beat him to death because of Mendelssohn playing on the car radio.  It only played out that way in my head while the radio soothed my brain and prevented my hair from catching fire.

I owe my life and sanity to the car radio many times over.  And I am resigned to the notion that I will probably need it many times more before the curtain closes the last time.

 

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Filed under angry rant, classical music, feeling sorry for myself, grumpiness, humor, mental health, Paffooney

The Joys of Texas Roadways

Yesterday I was in a car accident that I wasn’t even a participant in.  Wait, is that the right way to say it?  I was in a car wreck when I wasn’t in my car.  No, that doesn’t sound right either.  Driving skills in Texas were definitely on display yesterday as I lay ill in my bed and a passing Texas motorist unintentionally held a mini demolition derby with my car on the street.

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As you can see from the un-funny picture Paffooney above, it was mainly the left hind leg of the old pony that took the hit.  The other car hit the rear driver’s side wheel with enough force to flatten the tire, wreck the rim, and bend the end of the axle so that, with an emergency spare in place, I could still pick up my kids from school, though it was with a definite wibble-wobble added to the experience.  It was an inconvenient accident for me.  But it was worse for the other guy.  His car bounced off mine and skidded down the street about 200 feet.  It came to rest against the curb with a front wheel so bent that the steering wheel could no longer move it.  It sat at a weird angle to the rest of the car.

The young guy driving was rather shaken up.  He had trouble calling for the police to come and make an accident report because his hands were still shaking, yet he felt guilty enough that he wouldn’t let me make the call.  I tried to be as calm and helpful as possible.  I found out he was also originally from Iowa.  He also moved to Texas for work after college.  He could easily have been me thirty years ago.  He said that he had just dropped a friend off in the neighborhood, and the friend had left a drink cup from 7-Eleven on the dash.  When the cup fell, he made the mistake of trying to catch it, and drove directly into my car.

The timing of the accident was miserable.  I was already feeling ill before it happened, and it caused me to have to stand outside to give and send information to his insurance, my insurance, the police officer, and AAA Automotive Assistance to make my car drive-able  enough to get my kids from school during the Friday afternoon rush.  The repairs are going to be extensive because of a bent axle.  But I survived it.  And it gave me something to post for today.  So let me end with a reprise of my cartoon homage to Texas city driving.

The Car Chase of Life

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Filed under autobiography, feeling sorry for myself, humor, Paffooney

Crazy Old People Driving

You can probably tell that the photo Paffooney is totally staged.  I am not a good enough actor to manage the lookcrazy old driver2 of absolute blood-curdling horror that would be on my face if I were actually driving in the Dallas Metroplex.  My gray Gandalf-hair would be standing on end more, and my eyes would be more popped with horror… especially if I had really seen Suicide Sadie in her death-dealing super-WASP-rocket.  Honestly, I’m risking my life to reveal it, but one of the greatest perils of life in the suburbs in Texas is running afoul of the Texas Killer Grannies.  Yes, there is a secret, Illuminati-like organization of blue-haired old menaces driving big, expensive black battle-boats that try to kill as many other Texas drivers as they can… as well as pedestrians, cop cars, squirrels, poor-people’s children, and ceramic lawn gnomes as they can focus their myopic old granny glasses on.

To Texas Killer Grandmas, slaughtering the innocent on the roadways while your back seat is full of knitting baskets and tins of cat food is a Satanic ritual that gives them special and unnatural powers over life and death.

They all drive at least five-miles-an-hour faster than the speed at which they can actually control the vehicle.  For some of the most deadly grannies like Suicide Sadie and End-It-All Emma that is between 95 and 205 miles-per-hour, though the nearly-as-deadly Grandma McGillicuddy can be almost as guaranteed fatal at only about 35 miles an hour.  They cut in front of you without signalling, and traffic lights are interpreted far differently than normal in the presence of a Texas Killer Grandma.  Green means go.  Yellow means go faster.  And red means floor it and brace for impact.  Now, of course that is the granny interpretation of the light.  For me, green means proceed ultra-cautiously while scanning for hurtling BMW’s, Cadillacs, or Lincoln Town Cars with old ladies at the wheel and skulls painted in white on the driver’s door.  Yellow means pull over to the side of the road at a dead stop and make myself the smallest target possible.  And red means park on somebody’s lawn and wait for the intersection to become clear of all vehicles for several blocks all around.  Sidewalks are not safe either with a Texas Killer Grandma around.  You’re safer walking if you walk down the center of the road.  Of course, the more normal drivers will squish you like road-kill then, and the Texas Killer Grandma knows she was ultimately the cause of this suicidal death, so if they are close enough to see it in any sort of blurred clarity, they automatically count it as a kill.

You never see a Texas Killer Grandma charged with anything in the local media or even in court records.  They are not old ladies unconnected to persons of power.  Rich husbands, rich children, and sometimes even rich boyfriends see to it that they are never prosecuted.  They are immune to the wheels of justice.  Crazy Cat-Lady Clarice is immune to prosecution even though she doesn’t own even a nickel.  We think it is because she is so supremely skilled at vehicular homicide that even the police are afraid of her.  And how does she pay for gas in that 1965 Chevy Impala SS she drives with a blood-smeared hood and the driver’s side of the car painted completely white with skulls?

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Filed under humor, photo paffoonies, satire

Autorumination (the reprise)

Image

 

(This is a black-and-white cartoon in pen and ink that I have shamelessly colorized with colored pencil.)

    I have to tell you, driving in Texas, especially the “Big D” is taking your life in your hands, gripping that old steering wheel in a grip of death, and trying like heck not to hit any of the myriad things flying in front of you.  I have had in my lifetime three accidents and too many near misses to count.  Drivers that don’t have their number of kills painted on the driver-side door are rare indeed.
    One of the scariest encounters on the road has to be the legendary Texas Killer Grandma.  They have a private club where they get together over knitting and compare the goriest kills they have managed with their oversized automobiles.  These old lady drivers are invariably white-skinned and have hair either of strange shades of blue and periwinkle, or silver, almost chrome.  They have Killer Grandma nicknames like Suicide Sadie and End-It-All Emma.  They drive big black Cadillacs, Buicks, and Mercedes.  They have mostly no-fault insurance that will guarantee they can mash your children in the back end of your family car without jail time, and usually without paying for a penny of your damages.  They cruise around Dallas watching for unwary drivers so they can leap in front without signaling, getting bashed from behind by the victim, and sending the victim swirling off the overpass to a fiery death and dismemberment.  Then they cackle all the way to the next club meeting.
    Killer Grandmas drive a class of vehicle I call the American Wasp Rocket.  These are large, unwieldy vehicles from Ford and GM that wreak havoc with smaller, slower cars, especially foreign-made cars like Toyotas, Subarus, and Volkswagens.  In the northern precincts of Dallas, Austin, and Houston, where these vehicles truly dominate, you will often see BMW, Volvo, or Italian Wasp Rockets, which are almost an oxymoron by their very nature.  (“I only buy them gol’ dang furrin cars iffen they’re status symbols, cause I only buy American, but I figgur high-dollar wagons like them thar Lambourginis count as American too!”)  These cars are all large enough to crush an SUV under their wheels, and, of course, they are only driven at hyper-speeds while winding their way through heavy traffic so the occupants can arrive anywhere they are going FIRST.  Besides Texas Killer Grandmas, there are few other drivers of these vehicles who aren’t over-weight, middle-aged white males who have high-paying white-collar jobs.
    The most common vehicles on Texas highways are, of course, the typical Bubba.  Bubba cars are always pick-up trucks, and almost always Chevys.  In fact, they almost have to be white, red, or brown, or they don’t count as a proper Bubba.  Bubbas drive like Foster Brooks on speed, always weaving, wobbling, wagging, and wrecking.  The highway is their own personal demolition derby, and if they don’t get you with a straight-on hood-smash, they’ll ding you with whatever falls out of the back of their pick-up (beer bottles, kids, used tires, tools, parts of the vehicle that have already fallen off once before, and sometimes ugly wives).
    A more-or-less brain-damaged sub-species of Bubba is the Billy Bob.  They drive Ford pickups, white, red, brown, and sometimes gold.  They will kill you no less quickly than a Bubba, but they do tend to have better insurance.
    Of course, I can’t even talk about Beaner cars.  It is not politically correct, as a young Hispanic student was pointing out to me just two weeks ago.  “I can say I’m a Beaner,” he said, “But you can’t say it because you’re a Gringo Loco.  Only Beaners are allowed to call a Beaner a Beaner.  You could be killed for saying that in the Barrio!  Even for thinking that!”  So, I won’t talk about those cars on the road in the fast lane doing a mere twenty-five miles per hour.  I won’t mention how they have eighteen kids and a Tia Carmen in the back seat and can’t see out with the rear view mirror.  I won’t even talk about the rosary beads, fuzzy dice, and numerous brightly colored stuffed animals that hang from the rear view mirror blocking the windshield also.  It just wouldn’t be nice to talk about that.
    So, I guess I have to sum up with a concluding statement that makes sense out of all of this Texas road-rage and bumper-car nonsense.  It would have to be something like this:  If you ever plan to drive in Texas, be prepared.  Have your burial plot purchased, your insurance paid up, and “Drive Friendly!”

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