The Ecphorizer

Traffic Patterns
Myra Johnson

Issue #34 (June 1984)

The power of positive driving

Dear Nancy,

Got your letter today. I'm glad an old married woman like you still enjoys talk about dates.

[quoteright]Traffic in California is certainly different. There are two kinds of major highways here; 17 and 101 are blue collar roads whereas 280 and 680 are

I'm convinced that seat belts are designed by men for men.

wide sweeping stretches, perfect for Sunday drivers. 17 and 101 are in desperate need of repaving, but there are more cars on these roads at 3 o'clock in the morning than there are on the streets of downtown Minneapolis at rush hour and the idea of closing them down is laughable.

I use 101 to commute, and changing lanes is like playing FROGGER. An additional bit of fun and excitement can be had when the planes come in to Moffett Field. They fly so low that lots of drivers instinctively duck and subsequently look sheepish.

They have these streets out here that they call "expressways." The only thing express about them are the driver's curses. In spite of synchronized traffic lights being invented in California and used on Wilshire Boulevard, the traffic controllers here apparently never heard of them. The speed limit on Lawrence Expressway is 50 mph and having two green lights in a row is such a rarity that it can only be compared to the odds that your POSSLQ will throw out the botanical garden in the refrigerator before you do.

The controllers complicate things further by having three lanes merge into two right at major on and off ramps with little or no notice. Ah, the challenge, the competition. If they knew how much fun it is to ace out the other guy by any means available, they would probably change it. Feminine wiles win 95% of the time.

I learned how to do that by driving from the Boston Airport through the Sumner Tunnel. As long as you don't look at the other driver, success is virtually guaranteed. If you make the mistake of glancing over, he gets a gleam in his eye, mutters a "heh, heh, heh," and the game is on. As you inch ahead, so does he until only a coat of paint separates you. Life is just a game of "Chicken."

The traffic control that thoroughly frosts me is 19th Avenue in the City. There they have the audacity to post neat little signs that proclaim "Traffic Signals Set For 30mph." Whoever thought that one up must be sitting back in the over-stuffed chair of his sheltered life choking with glee at the gullibility of the drivers who believe his little sign.

Speaking of men and machines, I'm convinced that seat belts are designed by men for men. It apparently doesn't occur to these designers that some of us have humps right where the strap crosses the chest. They should take notes from Playtex. The Cross Your Heart bra series has been out for some time. I always look forward to renting cars. Is the strap going to rub my neck raw and cut through the right bump or is my left arm going to be immobilized as it cuts off circulation in the left one? Maybe I'm too robust.

Well, it's time to rev up my engine and jockey for position in the rush hour traffic.



Myra Johnson's correspondents have enjoyed her letters in private for quite a while.  Now they have to subscribe to The Ecphorizer to find out what she has to say.

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