Saturday, January 20, 2007

Thoughts from the Road

We had a little snow and sleet here in Piedmont North Carolina on Thursday morning and civilization almost collapsed. On Wednesday the grocery stores were filled with idiots buying milk and bread before the storm. I will never understand why people who don't drink milk or eat sandwiches run out and buy milk and bread when snow is forecast. Is this a remnant of some ancient tribal ritual? Is it just mass hysteria? Is it just mass stupidity? Is it a result of a conspiracy between grocery stores and weather forecasters?

After an ice storm a few years ago, a customer told me that he had lost all of the food in his refrigerator as a result of his power being off for three days. I pointed out that during that time the temperature never went above 40 degrees. I asked him why he just didn't put the food outside in some containers where it would stay cold. The "DUH" look on his face was unforgettable.

As I watched the news on Thursday morning about the scores of traffic accidents happening, I realized that the same problems happen every time it snows. Idiots who think that they are invincible because they have four wheel drive are the first to have accidents. Anyone with four wheel drive should be required to have special training to drive when it snows. They should have a special endorsement on their drivers license for snow days. How about idiots driving tractor trailers like the snow and ice don't matter? There's nothing worse than mushing along at 35 miles an hour in a driving snow and suddenly there is a 35 ton eighteen wheeler five feet from your rear bumper flashing his lights. There should be snow and ice detectors on eighteen wheelers that just shut them down when snow and ice start to fall.

A final word on snow but not here in North Carolina. For the past month Denver has been buried by winter storms. Why aren't politicians lining up to send billions of dollars in federal aid to help people there? Maybe it was because they were prepared for bad weather and didn't just sit on their butts and wait for the government to take care of them. Contrast this with Hurricane Katrina and the people in New Orleans. I discussed this with someone at work and they pointed out the no one would drown in the snow in Denver. I agreed but pointed out that no one was going to freeze to death in New Orleans. In a seminar years ago, Ken Blanchard (One Minute Manager) said that the problem with rescuing people is that after a while they complain because you aren't rescuing them well enough. This is the situation in New Orleans and throughout this country. We have helped some people so much that now they expect it and won't do anything for themselves. You don't need to look far, it's happening in your town too.

Thursday afternoon as I was driving to work, a Mercedes SUV pulled onto the road in front of me. I saw the driver's arm come out a couple of times and wondered what was happening. A couple of blocks down the road I finally saw what was happening. The driver had a long-handled duster and was cleaning his windshield with it. Apparently his wipers didn't work. As the rain increased he had to just keep his arm out the window wiping faster with his duster. He turned before I could get alongside him for a photo to add to my Idiots Hall of Fame. See the entry above about special training for those with four wheel drive vehicles.

Is there anyone driving a Cadillac Escalade who isn't a drug dealer or a pimp??

Is there anyone who understands that making a right turn on a red light requires that you first stop for oncoming traffic??

Sitting at a traffic light in downtown Greensboro on Thursday in the rain, all the cars around me had their wipers working. As required by law, all the cars except one had turned on their headlights. I considered pointing it out to the driver of that car since he was next to my car. But he was talking on a cell phone and paying no attention. Oh Yeah! He was a Greensboro police lieutenant in an unmarked car. The first rule for those who wish to enforce the law is to obey the law. I don't understand how talking on cell phones is dangerous for citizens but not for the police.


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