SIDEWALK RULES: WALK RIGHT, PASS LEFT

In case anyone forgot, it’s 2020. That means it’s been 150 years since the first sidewalk was paved in America. Why is there not a centennial golden jubilee celebration planned anywhere for this?! I’m a bit disappointed honestly. Whatever, it’s fine. I will move on with my life. Maybe I’ll go outside and draw a chalk cake on the ground. But with the candles that just have the numbers on them – you know, the cheater candles. The product invented so someone didn’t have to math before a party. That’s why your cake just has two candles to spell out your age and not one for each year. Take it personally. If they really cared about you they would have taken the time to count out each year you’ve been alive.

Sidewalks probably don’t have feelings like humans do. They probably don’t feel sad when someone forgets their birthday. Someone who uses them constantly and never acknowledges their worth. Just stomps all over them without so much as a thank you. *Probably*. We don’t know. Supposedly plants have feelings, so why can’t concrete? Or brick? Or pavement? I, for one, care about the sensitive side of our sidewalks. Specifically where they may be caving in a bit so I know where not to step and blow something small into a big issue. I don’t need to twist an ankle and miss a week of adult soccer. My whole social life would be in disarray. 

Kind of like the confusion that happens when a sidewalk abuser doesn’t follow the one rule necessary to participate on said piece of concrete. Surely, you know what rule this is. It’s the same rule that is in place on pavement all over the country. One that everyone can (mostly) follow while operating a motorized vehicle. Frustratingly, though, when you take someone out of a machine and have them use their own legs, or some sort of leg powered transportation method, all chaos breaks loose. Walk right, pass left.

WALK RIGHT, PASS LEFT! This should not be new information. And yet, it still seems to confuse people. A lot like when you try driving the wrong way down a one way street, but with less judgement, or consequences. Which is a shame. I think I should be able to file an insurance claim if you come at me, when I’m on the right side and you’re walking on the left, and I spill my smoothie because we both refuse to move.

While that is obviously the golden rule, it is not the only rule. Like pretty much everything else in life. Another good one, almost as important, is not to take up the entire space when walking in a group. Just because you have friends, and want to flaunt it to nature, or the road, doesn’t mean you get priority. Since sidewalk width is variable, you are allowed to take up the following amount of space:

(Sidewalk Width / Number of People in Group) * 0 + 1

One. You get one human sized space. What if the sidewalk is popular? What if it’s foot traffic rush hour? What if there’s non foot traffic present? So many things that make taking up too much space downright dangerous. If you wanted to talk to someone, do it somewhere safer. And with less rules. Like a bench maybe. Or a couch. Or a table at a restaurant. Or on your phone. The one exception to this overpopulation rule is clearly dogs. Not cats. If there is a cat on a leash it better be in your people bubble.

Dogs can account for an extra two human sized spaces. Since they have hearts sized twice as big as one human. Simple math. Simple logic. These should be carved in stone at every possible entrance to every sidewalk, and trail, in the world. A manageable task really. If we can’t get walking right, where does that really leave us on more challenging tasks? Like driving. In a constant chicken with our heads cut off state. Perpetual deer in the headlights confusion. Don’t be that person. Imagine you’re driving yourself down the sidewalk. And for goodness sake look before you swerve out into the middle to pass someone.

Alright, jumping off my pedestal for now. If you know someone who would enjoy this post and want to share it with them, that would be awesome. Sharing is caring, after all. Don’t forget to subscribe to get these in your inbox twice weekly and follow TRP on Twitter for frequent musings. Thanks for reading!


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PSA: YIELD SIGNS AND STOP SIGNS ARE NOT THE SAME

There is nothing that irks me more than bad drivers. I can’t stress that sentence enough: bad drivers are my pet peeve! The reason I scream at my windshield and take my hands off the wheel to throw them up in frustration. The reason I usually show up at work stressed out (ok, this may be somewhat related to other circumstances … like the fact that I’m driving to work), but you get the point. I’m always amazed at how the overall quality of driving seems to decrease overnight. Every. Freaking. Night. Has the driving test gotten easier to pass? Is it now a pay-to-drive scheme where you just have to show up with cash and the person at the DMV is like ‘OK, let’s take your picture – you have 3 hours for that right?’.

I’m not going to say how many years it has been since I took the driving test, but for fun let’s say enough for my parent’s car insurance to drop down and they no longer have to sell their souls so I can drive. I almost failed my driving test before I left the parking lot because the radio was on and that is “distracting”. Literally turned the car on and the employee gave me this how dare you look and said ‘Really?! That’s how you want to start this test?!’. Being the clueless, snarky, idiot that I was, I replied, ‘Well, it’s hard to drive without turning the car on’. Which technically, is very true, but I should have known better and just brown-nosed it because my freedom (from having to be driven everywhere) was now in this (angry) employee’s hands. As you can imagine, it was a stressful drive and my every move was criticized. At one point when turning left, I looked left first, then right … is that incorrect? Not sure, but apparently it was that day.

Anyways, I digress. I have a lot of thoughts on the stupid things some drivers do, however, today I want to just put it out to the world that yield signs and stop signs are not the same thing. At all. In fact, they serve very different purposes. Let’s start with the obvious, one is an octagon that says STOP and the other is a triangle that says YIELD. That alone should be enough, but unfortunately, it is not so let’s go a little deeper.

The STOP sign (with 8 sides, remember from up there?) is where you have to come to a complete stop – wheels aren’t moving. You can safely look both ways and then proceed from 0 MPH as you please. Funny how people usually forget the one action item here, which, of course is to STOP! As much as I enjoy that moment of panic when I’m driving by a stop sign and the other car decides to read stop as roll (this isn’t a fire drill – it’s just stop, there is no drop, and there is definitely no roll), I much prefer the relief that comes with someone fully stopped and not moving at all. What does it say about drivers, though, that I now expect people to roll and get pleasantly surprised when someone doesn’t? I mean, in their defense, stop and roll both have four letters and both have an o in the middle(ish) of the word. So, yes, I guess I could see how that would be super confusing. If only the sign was clearer.

Now that we are through the complicatedness that is a stop sign, prepare yourself, because we are about to look at the YIELD sign. Unlike the stop sign, you do not have to stop at a yield sign if no one is coming. There’s a lot to break down here, so let’s start with part numero uno. I realize that the sign is red (like a stop sign) and has a similar shape being a triangle (almost like an octagon, just with 5 fewer sides), but you do not have to stop! In fact, people aren’t expecting you to stop, so when you do, someone has to slam on their brakes to avoid hitting your selfish rear-end. Look at it this way, stopping at a yield sign is basically the same thing as deciding to stop in the middle of the freaking road. Which is not safe driving!

But wait, there’s more to this epidemic: you don’t have to stop, IF NO ONE IS COMING. In other words, if someone is coming, you do not have the right of way and you have to stop. I realize this is very confusing for people – maybe that’s why they stop at all of them? Fewer things to remember. Keeping it simple, stupid as that is. Deciding to merge full speed into traffic is rarely a good idea and I do not recommend it. Especially if I am the driver with the right of way. Those people are the reason I have to constantly know who’s in the lane next to me, who’s behind me, etc. so I can know if I have an escape swerve option or not. Them and also the safe rules of driving.

Alright, jumping off my pedestal for now. If someone you know is suffering from stopield confusion then, by all means, share this post with them and help get them back to leading a normal, safe driving lifestyle. Thanks for reading!


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THE OPTIMISM OF ROAD CONSTRUCTION CREWS

I’m all for optimism – it makes life so much more fun! Don’t agree? Alright, you pessimistic son of gun, clearly you need a hug and some Chewy Chips Ahoy (because they are everything that’s right in this world). Then you probably need to be slapped because no one else needs your negativity. Keep that mess to yourself.

Anyways, I digress, like a turn lane with no road to turn onto. Have you ever noticed how many turn lanes lead, well, nowhere? Who put them there? More importantly, what higher up approved the paving of said turn lane? And of course, who pitched the idea? Who woke up one morning and thought ‘This new road is going to be great, but if we put some random turn lanes in the public will think we plan to come back and maintain the road for future development’? Because that is what you think, right? Oh, clearly they are going to build something there, otherwise why put a turn lane in? And if they’re building something new they will want to make sure the road stays in decent shape to attract all the young, hip people to make this town a global hot spot for the yuppies .

The funniest part is you never see one of these stag turn lanes that have been freshly paved. They’re all slightly faded, the paint is cracking – clearly it’s been there for awhile and still it leads into the always desirable wooded area where a serial killer is probably waiting for you to wander in like the curious being you are. Or it goes to a swamp which is most intriguing because what on earth is being built there?! A water park?! A pool?! Last I checked solid structures on a liquid foundation don’t work…outside of Venice of course, which should be a wonder of the world.

I wish I could have the same optimistic outlook on potential future endeavors in my job. If I could go to my manager and say ‘Hey, wouldn’t it be great if I spent three months working on a project that will do NOTHING for our business currently, but if we decide one day down the road that it might be feasible for us to explore possibilities in that direction, I’d have laid the very first step by creating a Google Doc, putting a title on it, and formatting it to perfection…but nothing more’. What would the response be? Well, probably a drug test for starters, then some variation of ‘hell no, get back to work’!

So clearly my job doesn’t follow the optimism model that road construction companies do and what a shame that is. At the end of the day, those workers probably go home satisfied and feeling like a true team player. They set another crew up for success after all…at some point, maybe, in the future. Not only did they do their job, oh no! They went above and beyond and added turn lanes everywhere. Like Oprah. YOU GET A TURN LANE AND YOU GET A TURN LANE AND YOU GET A TURN LANE! EVERYBODY GETS A TURN LANE!

It could be worse though. There could be NO turn lanes. Then the whole country would be like Atlanta and everyone’s Google Maps would be purple during rush hour. Purple?! Yes, purple. I didn’t realize there could be traffic worse than the deep maroon color, but leave it to hotlanta to give us a new level of stoppage. They don’t even use the traffic lights because no one would move – there are traffic cops that man EVERY INTERSECTION to shut down the drivers who think that as long as they are in the act of turning it’s fine regardless of the impact it has on traffic going the other way. That’s a topic for ANOTHER TIME though.

Moral of the story: more turn lanes are better than no turn lanes. If nothing else they allow you to imagine what might be coming. And, as Albert Einstein said, ‘The true sign of intelligence is not knowledge, but imagination.’ So these seemingly random turn lanes are making us smarter…wow are road construction crews thoughtful!

Alright, jumping off my pedestal for now. If you know someone who is frustrated about the never-ending road construction, share this with them so they stop complaining and start realizing that it’s all for their greater good. Thanks for reading!


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DEAR CAR COMMERCIALS: PUT IT IN PARK

We live in a world full of expectations. Everything has an expectation attached to it. How to dress, who to hang out with, when to get married, how much money to make, which side of the Earth the sun will rise on, how much is a “single serving” of food, etc. I have a lot of thoughts on the current state of “serving sizes” and how unrealistic those are (you can read more on that in THIS POST), but I don’t want to derail in the opening paragraph.

Personally, I like to defy social expectations – sometimes by choice, usually based on external factors, and occasionally because I’m simply oblivious. For example, apparently there’s an unspoken rule where if you (an adult) are in a line and there are children behind you, you (the adult) are supposed to let the children cut in front because…I don’t actually know why. Because they’re rude and have no manners?! Do they have priority? What gives them this priority? I’m older, smarter, more successful, less messy, better mannered, educated, a social contributor to the economy, I can go on and on. Besides, learning patience is a valuable skill, so I definitely do not let their tears sway me. Wait your turn, like the rest of us, to pet the owl. 

However, there are certain expectations that are just the worst when they don’t turn out how you imagined in the land of rainbows, unicorns, and no bills. Can you guess what the most frustrating one is? Yes! Car commercials! I believe we are all on the same page here. Let’s talk about the massive amount of expectations that car commercials put on the consumer. And then all the let downs that come from that.

For starters, where is all the traffic? Does your car repel other cars? If I buy it, will I never have to deal with other drivers? It’s very obvious that you’re in a major city, so is it a zombie apocalypse? Why are you not evacuating? Is this car also plague / zombie / natural disaster proof? For the cars that are shown driving in the countryside, this still applies. Where are all the people of Earth?! There’s 7.7 BILLION people on Earth and you’re telling me you saw NO ONE?! How do I get this magic in my life?! Ironically, it’s the cars driving through the desert, or a winter storm, that always seem to find companions. That would be where I would expect no other people to be with you. Everything I thought I knew about roads, and traffic, is clearly a lie thanks to the commercials.

Traffic questions aside, what’s the deal with parking? If you show me over and over that said car can ALWAYS find a spot right in front of their destination, or be in a completely empty (and free it seems) parking garage, I’m going to believe that buying the same car will bring this luck into my driving life. Not sure exactly how this works, but I’m assuming if you arrive at your destination, the driving gods will simply yeet the current vehicle in said spot somewhere else. Seems logical. If I lost you at yeet, here’s a 2 second breakdown for you: yeet is to throw, yoink is to grab. A quarterback yeets the ball to a receiver, a dog yoinks meat off the counter. With me? Excellent, welcome to life as a Gen Z’er. 

So far, this car seems freaking amazing. No traffic, parking everywhere, what else can it do? Fit everyone and their mom into the back? Yes. Drive up a staircase? Yes. Navigate turns at high speeds, but only on a closed course with a professional driver? Yes. Fit my entire house into the cargo unit? Yes. Play my favorite television shows on the entertainment center? Yes. Drive itself? Basically. Come with a giant festive bow on top? Of course. Sit in the driveway of the house I can’t currently afford, but maybe this car prints money too? Well, duh. Why else would someone buy a car?

Has it won any awards, you’re probably wondering? Oh boy, let me tell you about every single J.D. Power and MotorTrend trophy that has been given to this car. An award for color options, bucket seat depth, sunroof width, number of cameras, optional add ons, aluminum framing, stain resistant interior accessories, etc. In the world I grew up in, only one person could win. Yet, it seems like every car has won the same rewards. They feel more like participation trophies at this point. 

This is just the basics of every car commercial. No wonder I am constantly let down by mine. I have to drive it MYSELF. The trunk can actually fill up with stuff. At some point, no more people fit into the backseat. I still frequently have to park miles away. My daily commute is 10% driving and 90% staring at brake lights. I’ve never tried to go extreme with my vehicle because what if the sand dunes sink or get all up in my air filter? What if the massive puddle floods my engine? If I get halfway up the stairs and lose momentum, will I get stuck or slide back down? If my vents were shooting out Franklins I’d be testing this thing to the max, but I’m still waiting for my payday. Ironically, I’m paying the dealer a LOT of money so hopefully this return on investment is coming any day now.

Alright, jumping off my pedestal for now. If you know someone who recently bought a new car from a commercial, let them know that it’s too good to be true. If you know someone considering upgrading, pass this along so they can be forewarned. Thanks for reading!


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I’M SO GLAD I’M PARKED ON THE HIGHWAY FOR AN ACCIDENT ON THE OTHER SIDE

We’re a curious species aren’t we? Always needing to know what’s happening regardless of what we are doing at that moment. Even if it’s something potentially dangerous like, say, driving, or entering the nuclear codes. 

Let’s take a journey to imagination island. Imagine if you were driving at a high speed (maybe…on a highway) and there are other cars all around you, because it’s rush hour, and something happens on the other side of the road (let’s say a fender bender, which has ZERO impact on your drive by the way). How do you react? Do you:

A. Keep your eyes on the road and maintain your speed because it’s dangerous not to

B. Glance briefly and hope everyone is ok, but keep on keeping on at your speed

C. Stop and stare

Just to be clear, C is not an acceptable answer in this scenario. I get it – you want to be nosy and feel a little better about being a good driver and paying attention. Oh, the irony there kills me. How can you judge the person who caused the accident when you yourself are about to cause another one?! Spoiler Alert: going from 70 to 10 on a HIGHWAY is not something the driver behind you is expecting. You might very well be the next fender bender victim. Who knows, maybe the first one was caused because one of the drivers saw a bird, or new construction starting  (you can get my thoughts on road construction in THIS POST) and slowed down to get a better look.

What’s worse than slowing down for something unrelated to your current drive? Being an innocent bystander stopped miles away from the site of the crash that happened on the other side of the road. Why does my commute have to get tripled because you can’t stop your eyes from wandering? I’m going to be late to work (and of course there’s an early meeting because the work gods are evil like that), my fuel efficiency is plummeting, odds are my preferred parking space will be taken, and my bladder is not cooperating. Then when you FINALLY reach the scene of the crime, there’s nothing left. So I’ve inched along at less than 5 MPH and I don’t even get to see what happened?! What a cruel world this can be. 

Needless to say, it would be better for everyone if you simply kept going at the stated speed limit. If you do happen to take your foot off the gas, please, for the sake of everyone else on the road, do it very quickly and then (very quickly) get back up to speed. All I want is to stop the madness of highway parking lots. If you live in a city, though, where you’re stopped simply because of the amount of people, then I can’t help you. Move somewhere else, explore public transportation, or live within walking distance of the office.

Alright, jumping off my pedestal for now. If you know someone who tends to be an extra curious driver, share this post with them so they understand the ripple effect of their actions. Even better, ride with them and be that annoying backseat driver until they learn – highways are for driving and parking lots are for stopping. Thanks for reading!


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HONKING WON’T MAKE TRAFFIC MOVE ANY FASTER

The car horn can save lives…when used correctly. Unfortunately, like most things with good intentions, it gets abused. Heavily, obnoxiously, unnecessarily abused. Despite popular belief, the sound of a car horn is not pleasant and doesn’t instill feelings of confidence, peace, and joy. No, the car horn usually evokes feelings of panic, fear, and anger. So why do so many drivers think it’s acceptable to play a little horn karaoke during every commute that they take?

This may come as a surprise for our horn-loving friends, but your horn is not all powerful. In fact, it cannot do any of the following:

  • Make ALL the cars in front of the one you’re stopped behind move
  • Clear up an intersection traffic jam
  • Make a lane blocking accident disappear into thin air
  • Change a light from red to green
  • Make a highway parking lot suddenly move
  • Force the pedestrian to walk faster
  • Make the muscle movement to take the foot off the brake and put it on the gas any faster than immediate when the light turns green

If any of those surprise you, or if you just disagree, then you are a horn abuser and need to chill. Clearly you are hoping to accomplish one of those things, right? But you can’t. It’s impossible. That’s not how the car horn works! Let me enlighten you on the PROPER ways to use your horn:

  • To scare the crap out of someone who is trying to merge into your lane, but isn’t paying attention and is about to merge into you
  • To scare the crap out of an oblivious pedestrian who thinks that the crosswalk rules don’t apply to them and just cross the street wherever…even in the middle of traffic
  • To scare the crap out of a driver who is backing up, but not paying attention, and is about to back right into your front bumper
  • To scare the crap out of a pedestrian who doesn’t believe in speed and is literally crawling across the crosswalk for zero reason
  • To scare the crap out of someone who isn’t paying attention to the traffic lights and has been sitting at the green light for more than 5 seconds (because reaction times vary)

In other words, horns are used to scare the crap out of people so they don’t hurt you, or themselves. Otherwise, it just pisses people off and trains them not to pay attention to the piercing, eardrum-bursting, sound that is a horn. So in effect, you horn-happy idiots are making it worse. Do you not get that?! Especially since the state of drivers in this country is already questionable, at best. We don’t need to give them one more excuse to drive like brainless children.

So the next time you’re stuck in traffic, and are late, and have to use the bathroom, and are already in a terrible mood because work, just roll your window down and let the drivers in front of you know how you really feel about sitting on the highway. Save the horn for when it actually counts – to save lives. Words are more powerful than sounds anyways because it allows you to elaborate in a colorful manner and really get your point across. Sounds are interpreted differently by everyone so they might think you’re just honking because you love Jesus. Stop the madness, end the unnecessary honking, and learn how to communicate with others.

Alright, jumping off my pedestal for now. If you know someone who tends to lay on the horn for no reason, pass this along so they can practice verbalizing their thoughts and opinions on me instead of simply using a horrible sound to try and relay a point. Thanks for reading!


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DEAR UBER DRIVERS: LET’S JUST ASSUME I DON’T KNOW HOW TO GET THERE

Ride-sharing programs are wildly popular right now. For good reason though – it eliminates the need for you to drive somewhere. Whatever that reason is to you, worry no more! Some rando is about to come pick you up! Sounds disturbingly similar to the warnings I used to hear as a child about stranger danger, but good for the entrepreneurs who decided to capitalize on the tragedy of others, I suppose.

If you think too much about the concept of Uber, or Lyft, or a taxi (first of all, don’t because it gets weird) you’ll probably freak yourself out and choose to walk everywhere instead. Remember the warning about not taking candy from the person with the creeper van or the story about the “friendly” couple who lost their dog and wants you to help them find it? Same concept, except instead of getting candy, or to play with a cute puppy, you have to pay. Actual money. That you’ve worked (way) too hard to earn because companies today expect the world but opt not to pay for it. Feel me? Dream opportunity: work a minimum of 80 hours a week and we will pay you minimum wage so you never pay off your debt to the government and are forever obligated to continue working…forever. Goodbye fun, goodbye friends, goodbye happiness. Different topic – I digress.

So we’ve gotten past the potential for abduction with these programs and have opted to (*gasp*) pay for it. Kudos, though, to all those companies for taking the security of passengers and drivers seriously and continuously making adjustments so you can feel safe (not trying to get sued here because that sounds hella expensive). Now, there are multiple reasons why one would need / want to be chauffeured around:

  • You’re ultra rich and can’t be bothered with poor people things, like driving
  • You’re in a new city and don’t have a car (for whatever reason – didn’t want to rent, couldn’t afford to rent, not old enough to rent – no judgement)
  • You’re going out to drink and want to avoid a DUI (because adults make smart decisions)
  • You don’t own a car / don’t have a license (again, no judgement)
  • You want to feel ultra rich by getting a “personal driver”

Did I miss one? Hit me up so I can make sure this is relevant to ALL, even if your reason isn’t necessarily “common”. No matter your reason from above, one thing we can all agree on is that we aren’t paying someone so we can get ourselves there. So please, for goodness sake, do NOT ask me (your paying customer, need I remind you) for directions. Do I know how to get there? Erm, no. Personally, I ride-share when I travel or when I’m drunk – neither of which are ideal scenarios for me to give you (the money taking driver) the best route to get to my desired destination…that’s why there are apps like Google Maps, and Mapple (AKA Apple Maps), and Waze, and whoever I’m forgetting there to give you directions. Pro tip: you can customize those app settings to give you the fastest route, or avoid highways, or avoid traffic, blah, blah, blah. Point being, no I will not instruct you on how to get there. I need you to figure it out. Is it that you don’t trust what the GPS is telling you?! Because I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but if I was feeling like giving you directions, that would be the one and only place I too would look. Are there actually people who can get places without the help of technology? Navigation unicorns.

Also, while we’re ranting, I should never step into a car and hear from the driver that they just took some shots before picking me up…samesies, which is why I called YOU. Obviously assuming that you would not have been doing what I was doing. If I wanted to risk being in a car with an intoxicated driver, I would have driven my own d*mn self and saved the ridiculous surge pricing. Which, can we talk about why surge pricing now seems to be the standard all day long? I’m sorry, did everyone all of a sudden decide that 10:30AM on a Tuesday was when they needed a ride?! I could buy a nice meal for two for less than this 5 mile trip.

Alright, jumping off my pedestal for now. If you’ve ever used a rideshare program than I’m sure you can relate. If not, don’t let this post scare you – they’re actually quite convenient…for a kidnapping so always let multiple people know exactly where you are, what car you’re in, where you’re going, what your driver looks like, etc. Safety first. Thanks for reading!


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