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It’s About The Aesthetic

, , , , , | Friendly | August 21, 2021

I’m out in the car park one day, admiring my neighbour’s car that is always gleamingly clean and runs perfectly. He is doing something to the engine, which is running. I shout so he can hear me.

Me: “How’s it going? Looks good!”

My neighbour continues peering closely at his car.

Neighbour: “I suppose so, but I’m not seeing very well these days.”

I’m just making conversation and having to shout again.

Me: “Engine runs very well!”

Neighbour: “Yes, it does, doesn’t it? I try very hard to keep it in good condition.”

Although the car is always in perfect condition, always very clean and runs well, it never leaves the car park. My neighbour is legally blind and so hard of hearing that he can’t get a driver’s licence. He can’t drive anyway.

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He’s Slow In Many Other Ways

, , , , | Right | August 20, 2021

I grew up in Minnesota. We get some pretty bad winters, and most people learn to drive slowly and carefully when the road is bad. Then, there are the people I meet working as a tow truck driver. Here’s one example.

I’m in my personal vehicle, heading to the garage for work early in the morning. It’s still dark out, and we’ve had about eight inches of wet, heavy, EXTREMELY slippery snowfall overnight, with more snow falling. 

I’m in a chain of cars, all going about twenty miles per hour on a highway with a speed limit of sixty. We get to a straight stretch of road, and I see one set of headlights behind me pull into the other lane and start gaining — fast. A bright red, lifted, souped-up pickup truck flies past me and about eight other cars before darting back into line at the next corner. When we get to the next straight stretch, I watch the truck pull out and speed past a few more cars, until he gets to the front of the line and speeds off into the distance.

It comes as no surprise when, a few miles farther down the highway, I see a familiar bright red, lifted, souped-up pickup truck in the ditch.

I get to the garage, and my dispatcher tells me I have a job waiting for me on the highway I just drove in on. I tell him I know exactly who he’s talking about, and we share a laugh over the story before I get in my tow truck and head back down the highway.

When I get back to the bright red pickup, tow truck lights flashing, the driver jumps out of the truck and walks over, seemingly very agitated.

Driver: “Took you long enough!”

Me: “Yep. Conditions aren’t too great. Can’t risk putting the tow truck in the ditch, because that one would not be a fun story to tell the boss. So, what happened? Is there any damage I need to know about before I hook up?”

Driver: “No, I just slid. I don’t know how you all drive up here with this snow.”

Me: “What do you mean?”

Driver: “Nobody goes the speed limit or anything. I had to pass cars everywhere because everyone was going so slow. That’s what caused me to spin; I tried to change lanes to pass someone and spun.”

Me: “Well, look at it this way. How many of those other cars did you see in the ditch?”

Driver: “But…”

Me: “I’ll be straight with you. I was one of those cars you passed, on my way into the garage. Then, I passed you again after you hit the ditch.”

Driver: “…”

Me: “Why do you think we were all going so slow?”

The driver finally lost his aggressiveness and was pretty sheepish for the rest of the interaction. Fortunately for him, there was no damage to his pickup — only to his ego!

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Car-Free Makes Him Too Care-Free

, , , , | Right | August 19, 2021

Car-free Sundays happened in several European countries in the twentieth century during times when oil — and, as such, gasoline — were scarce for whatever reason. In 1973, during the oil crisis, nobody was allowed to drive a car unless you had a special dispensation, which you needed to apply for. Examples of people who got these special dispensations were people with disabilities who needed their cars to get around and people with essential occupations, like healthcare workers.

My dad and his coworker both worked at the local hospital and got their special dispensations. Anyone caught driving a car on a car-free Sunday without one of these dispensations got a pretty hefty fine, and you bet police were on the lookout.

My dad’s coworker is driving to work when he gets pulled over by a pair of police officers.

Officer #1: “Sir, you know it is car-free Sunday, right?”

Coworker: “Certainly, Officer, but I have a special dispensation, see?”

He hands the officer the printed dispensation.

The police officer is apparently not very happy about the regulations for giving out these dispensations, grumbling under his breath loud enough for the coworker to hear.

Officer #1: “Special dispensations, hmph! I sure didn’t get one! Had to get up at bloody 5:30 am to go to work!”

Coworker: “Well, then, you should’ve gone to school and studied for a real job!”

The police officer gives him a look that says, “Oh, no, you did NOT just say that!”

Officer #1: “Hey, [Officer #2], does this car look suspicious to you?”

Officer # 2: *Who heard everything* “Very suspicious. And we’re close to the border; we’d better give it a thorough check.”

Officer #1: “Step out of the vehicle, please, sir, and show me your driver’s license.”

The coworker’s attitude earned him such a thorough vehicle search that he was an hour late for work. When he told my dad about it, Dad laughed in his face and told him he hoped he’d learned his lesson. Don’t insult cops, especially when they’re already in a bad mood.

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Who Gave This Woman A License?!

, , , , | Related | August 17, 2021

This story takes place a decade ago. My mom and I are on a road trip. I’m seventeen, so I help with the driving. We take a lot of back roads so we don’t deal with much traffic. I’m currently driving and we are the only ones on the road for miles. I briefly take one hand off the wheel to adjust my AC controls.

Mom: “What are you doing?! Keep your hands on the wheel!”

Me: “I was just adjusting the AC. It was getting too cold for my hands.”

Mom: “You can’t do that. It’s reckless. You could cause an accident!”

Me: “Mom, I briefly took my hand off the wheel. I didn’t take my eyes off the road. I didn’t veer out of my lane. And there’s no one around us.”

Mom: “Doesn’t matter! I’m the grownup. You’re still a child. I have years of experience over you.”

I drop it, but at the next rest stop, I pull over and tell Mom she can drive if she doesn’t feel comfortable with my driving. Later, we actually hit some traffic and she’s trying to figure out which road we want to take next. She pulls out her map and opens it on the steering wheel while driving. She looks down at the map for a long time, veers out of her lane, and doesn’t realize what’s going on around her. A few people honk at her.

Me: “Mom, I can take the map and find where we are and where we need to go. Or I can look it up on the GPS or my phone.”

Mom: “I got it. I’ve been doing this for years before technology. How do you think we did this without phones?”

Me: “Mom, please hand me the map! I can look at it. You just need to focus on your driving.”

Mom: “Leave me alone, [My Name]. I’ve got it.”

Me: “You’re veering out of your lane. You’re not paying attention to what’s happening on the road. You might as well be texting and driving.”

Mom: “This is not the same. It’s nothing like texting and driving.”

Me: “You’re right. It’s worse. You’re taking your eyes off the road for way longer than you would if you were texting.”

After some arguing, I eventually convinced her to give me the map, but she continuously did similar things throughout the trip that just led to us fighting a majority of the time. And she wonders why I don’t have good memories of the road trips or why I started to refuse to go on them.

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Worst Game Of “Red Light, Green Light” EVER

, , , , , | Working | August 16, 2021

I used to work the swing shift — 4:00 pm to 12:00 am — at a gas station. One time, we were scheduled to have corporate people come by in the morning. I was asked to stay later and help get the store “up to standards” so the graveyard shift wouldn’t have to do it all.

So, finally, at 2:00 am, I started home. I came to a stop sign near a railroad crossing and waited for it to turn green. And waited. And waited. After about seven minutes, I realized it was a stop sign, not a light. It doesn’t change. I proceeded home, feeling more than a little stupid.

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