GAS STATION ETIQUETTE

Have you ever been to a gas station? There’s probably a very high chance your answer is yes. Unless you grew up in a big city, or are a trust fund baby and have been chauffeured everywhere for all of time. I would like to assume that, regardless of how you live your life, you are all at least familiar with what a gas station is and what it does for consumers. If not, it’s in the name. A station for drivers to refuel both their tanks and themselves. Quality in service, cleanliness, and options range greatly depending on the company and location, but that’s not where the pump we’re stopping at today.

Stops to fill up on gas is a necessary evil if you’re going to be operating a vehicle. On long trips it’s about as rewarding and productive as pulling into a rest area. You don’t want to stop, but you know that if you don’t you’re going to have a major problem on your hands. There’s always that fun game of which stall will be clean enough to use, if the vending machine will be operational, or if you’re at risk of seeing a deadly snake (shoutout to Florida). I, for one, hope to never see a deadly snake at a public rest area. Maybe if you didn’t put a massive pond right next to the building it wouldn’t attract the deadly snakes. Also, for the record, I find it hard to believe that a standard chainmail fence is going to prevent the deadly snakes from escaping their … what is it? Cage attempt? Habitat? Doesn’t matter. This is why I only ever fly to Florida.

So that’s the rest area side of driving. No wonder people miss their own bathrooms when they’re gone. On the other side of the forced activities when driving coin, you have gas stations. In theory, this should be a painless experience. Pull in, fill up, park, get some snacks, maybe use the bathroom, and leave. It should take about as long as it took to read that sentence. Easy peasy. I think what wasn’t accounted for in the flow, though, was people. Are we just hard programmed to try and do things against the grain? Or do we just like to piss other people off?

Being blessed to work in a job where I literally have to try and predict all the ways people can use something and prevent unwanted actions, I am constantly amazed. If I give you a bowl of cereal and a spoon, why would you try to eat it with your hand? What was the thought process here? If I give you an input that says ‘Quantity’, why would you try to enter non numeric characters? What is your end goal with that? To not get any of what you want? We live in a world where the SMH feeling is the expectation and gas stations are not resilient.

Gas stations have 3 main components: the pump, the parking lot, and the convenience store. Each serving a specific purpose. When people use one for the purpose of another, it ruins everything. Let’s start with the pump. The pump is for pumping gasoline into your car. It is not a parking space. It is not a cell phone lot. It is not a waiting area. It expires when your pump stops filling your car. It still implicitly follows the rules of traffic flow. In other words if I have the pump on my left, but you’re the oddball with a passenger side tank, don’t pull in facing me. Then both of us are stuck until the other finishes if there’s a line. And there is almost always a line. 

To be fair, I blame car companies for this. A passenger side tank makes zero sense. You have to walk all the way around the car. You’re always messing up station traffic flows. Why is this not a standard driver side placement? Anyways … if you have to go into the convenience store, that’s what the parking spaces are for. They aren’t employee only spots. They’re publicly available for you to not block others from getting gas. Don’t be that person. If you aren’t ready to fill up, or if you just finished filling up, get your little behind off the pump so someone else can refuel. If you can drive to a gas station, you can drive into a parking space.

Finally, we have the convenience store! Snacks, drinks, restrooms, a road trippers paradise. I’m not sure at what point in history it was decided that gas stations would carry ALL of the candy, gum, and individually wrapped snack options, but I’m here for it. It’s fun to browse the aisles and get a little pick me up. What’s not so fun is the restrooms. I’m not sure how they get to the point that they do, but I rarely go into an even somewhat clean gas station bathroom. It is a crisis. Especially the ones where you need a key and are on the side of the building. What happens in those? You have to have a key to get in. Why does it look like a family of raccoons have been chilling for years. Maybe because the pump parkers don’t know how to use a public restroom either. 

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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DEAR COUNTRY ROADS: YOU, OF ALL PLACES, NEED LIGHT REFLECTORS

Taking the path less traveled is a popular thing in today’s society. Physically and metaphorically. You can be whoever you want to be, regardless of how things looked in previous generations. Actually, though. Whoever you want to be. Girl, boy, both, neither, inanimate – whatever your soul is telling you. And then of course physically exploring the hidden gems of the world is usually a fan favorite for the Instagram. Because we all want a piece of that exclusivity.

Like most things in life, someone has to be first. Who was the first person that looked at a jackfruit and thought, you know what, I bet that’s delicious! I’ve seen a jackfruit and I have to say, if I saw it in the wild my first thought would be that the dinosaurs are back. It’s gigantic. And looks prickly. And it’s called a jackfruit … as in jack and the beanstalk? Did the giant drop that too? Don’t even get me started on the inside of it. I mean, think about how lucky we are that it’s safe to eat. How many casualties have occurred because of curious minds and weird looking things in nature?

Alas, I digress into the realm of the mind less traveled. Much like how it feels to drive through country roads. Not country as in we’ve left the obvious city limits and are in the suburbs country. I’m talking about when you see one house and it will be minutes, driving minutes, before you glimpse another one. The cow to people ratio favors the bovines. Heavily. And the “traffic” jams involve you getting stuck behind a slow moving tractor. Are you with me? Better keep up because if you get lost in this field I might never know where to find you.

Country roads are … not for me. They are endless. For some reason there is never a posted speed limit. I guess you have to be born into that secret. Most of the time the road signs have either vanished, or never existed in the first place. Or it’s just State Road and some random number. The cell service is also mysteriously missing. Everyone has satellite dishes. And there are no light reflectors. None. Not because they’ve been worn off over time. They just never existed. Sometimes there are barely even lines. 

Have you ever tried driving down a country road at night? There are minimal houses so the only light comes from the solar system and your high beams. Under normal weather conditions, this is not acceptable but it’s kind of fine. It’s a ride at your own risk adventure, especially at night, so you should have left earlier. If, however, you happen to get unlucky and experience even just a slight rainfall, well good luck getting out of there alive.

Rainfall on most roads at night while driving is the worst. During a drizzle, people’s headlights reflect off the rain on your windshield and you’re blinded. Get a steady rain and it reflects off the light poles and you’re blinded. Drive into a downpour and the rain falls so heavily that you’re blinded. It’s a lose lose lose situation. Regardless of rain power. But that’s with other light sources and people helping you make educated guesses about the road. Eliminate your two phone a friend lifelines and you’ve got a recipe for disaster.

Rainfall on country roads at night while driving is a suicide mission for those of us from the ‘burbs and beyond. During a drizzle, the rain is distracting and makes it annoying to see the road because there are no light reflectors indicating where the middle lines are (or are supposed to be). During a steady rain, it’s almost impossible to see where the road ends and the fields begin because, again, no light reflectors. During a downpour, you might as well stop and plan to camp with the cows. Unless your plans for the night also included off roading and getting stuck in some corn crops. 

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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SHOULD YOU BE IN THE FAST LANE? A QUESTIONNAIRE

Driving is an adventure today, isn’t it? You never really know what you’re going to get with other drivers. It could be a day of luck where everyone finally understands how traffic works and remembers the rules of the road. In that case consider yourself a leprechaun because clearly you just found the end of the rainbow. Most days, however, tend to be a stressful mess where you are constantly wondering if the daydreamer in the lane next to you will start drifting into yours.

I’m not sure why STAYING IN YOUR OWN LANE is as difficult as the majority of licensed drivers in America make it seem. Weren’t we taught as literal children to stay inside the lines? Back then it was a design competition, but as adults it becomes a more dangerous excursion into someone else’s realm. A matter of life and death in some cases. It’s fascinating to me that almost every time I finally get ahead of whoever is living in the literal clouds they’re almost never watching the road. Which … is a rant for another time.

One of the more frustrating things as a driver is when you get caught behind slower traffic. If you’re trying to whip around some cars fast and furious style in the slow lane, this is on you. However, more and more often I find that I’m getting stuck behind slower traffic in the far left lane. And pretty much every lane between the fast and the slow lane come to think of it. Ironically, the lane that offers the most freedom tends to be the slow lane. And like … what? That is the exact opposite of how the system should be working.

In the spirit of education, I thought it would be a good exercise for all of us to think about our use of the fast lane. To help solidify whether we should, or should not, be in the fast lane, I came up with some very simple yes or no questions to ask yourself as you embark on any interstate. Or any road with two or more lanes for that matter. The best way to take this questionnaire is quickly – go with what your guy says and trust the process. Ok! Enough waiting, let’s get to it! Should you be in the fast lane?

  • Are there people behind you moving faster than you are? 
    • Yes? Move over
    • No? You’re all good then!
  • Are there people passing you on the right, AKA, a slower lane?
    • Yes? Move over
    • No? You’re all good then!
  • Are you doing at least the speed limit?
    • Yes? See the first two questions and make a fast judgement call
    • No? Move all the way over
  • Do you have a left hand exit, or turn, in the next half a mile?
    • Yes? You may stay, but at least hit the speed limit
    • No? See the first two questions and make a fast judgement call
  • Do you have a left hand exit, or turn, at some point in the future?
    • Yes? Is it within a half mile? If not, and you’re not at the minimum speed, get yourself all the way to the right. Otherwise, see the first two questions and make a fast judgement call
    • No? See the first two questions and make a fast judgement call
  • Do you need to pass someone who is going slower than you?
    • Yes? You’re all good then! For the passing period, then see the first two questions and make a fast judgement call
    • No? See the first two questions and make a fast judgement call

There you have it! Six simple reasons why you should, or should not, be in the fast lane. As you’ll note, it wasn’t a typo, most of the answers circle back to the first two questions about reading the room. If there is a car, or many a car, moving slightly faster, or significantly faster, than you are, chances are good that you should move to the right. Nothing wrong with being in the slower lanes. Some people like speed, some people like making it to their destination without a ticket. Zero judgement … as long as you aren’t slowing me down.

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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NO LEFT TURN LIGHT SHOULD ONLY HAVE THREE OPTIONS

I know you know how much I love traffic. Specifically, how much I love other drivers. If this is the first you’re hearing about this, well, surprise, I guess. Maybe hit pause and go check out my other traffic posts. They might be relatable, or they might not be and that’s concerning. Because then you may be the person I’m talking about so … this is awkward. And yet here we are. Maneuvering the intricacies of life in an almost successful way.

Mmkay, circling back: traffic. Specifically traffic, what’s the word, hardware? Enhancements? Not sure so let’s just call it what it is. Traffic trash. Yes, that’s right, I’m talking about the left turn light with only three lights. Just three. Like a normal traffic light. Except it’s not a normal traffic light at all. It’s a left turn light! Where you should have the option to turn if it’s safe, otherwise, you’ll be there indefinitely since we all know that a left turn green is not the same length as a straight green. At least if you take the average across all traffic lights ever. I think.

This is one of the most perplexing things to me, as a driver and overall human being. Specifically where there’s new road construction. It’s one thing to have it there from the before times when the only option was a heathen version of the left turn light. Although, back then it was new technology so it was probably pretty revolutionary at the time. Anyways, as we move forward with the age of tech and have other options, like a four light left turn light for example, why would we not implement those … everywhere?

For the first time ever on TRP, I actually asked a traffic engineer about this. Did some actual research. And their answer was mildly acceptable. Apparently, not every left turn is in a place where it’s safe to let people make their own decisions on if it’s safe or not to turn. On the one hand, ok. Yes, we, as a species, have not necessarily proven our decision making and focusing skills while on the road. On the other hand, though, how easy is our driving test where we aren’t confident that licensed drivers can make an appropriate decision about when it’s safe to turn, and when it isn’t? If there is a car coming, then you must wait. Basic physics and basic laws of traffic.

This is what I heard from that conversation: people can’t be trusted. I don’t know that I agree with that sentiment, though. Trust people until they give you a reason not to is my motto. I think a good solution here is to maybe have the penalty for poor left turn decision making being a suspension of your license. And / or a remedial class on how to use common sense to not turn in front of someone else. Because that would make life better for all. Imagine if at every left turn, it lasted the entire length of the straight arrow, plus the bonus turn only green? Left turns wouldn’t suck nearly as bad.

The amount of times that I’ve sat at a red left turn light while there were absolutely zero cars coming from either direction all because of a few bad apples … oh my goodness. It’s infuriating. Does it make you angry too? I’m not going to encourage breaking the laws of traffic, but I often wonder what would happen if I just decide to go on red anyways. Which, at that point, are we any worse off than just letting people make their own decisions at a flashing yellow? I have to believe no. People at least wouldn’t be thinking about running red lights that way so that, in and of itself, is a positive.

Long story short, I think we need to eliminate the three light left turn option. For everyone’s sanity. For the integrity of our traffic laws. To help reduce driver stress, even if only in that one area. To force people to think about their actions. To add more flashing yellow lights in the world and yellow is the color of happiness and who doesn’t want to be happier? It just makes sense.

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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LET’S TALK ABOUT MOVING WALKWAYS

You know what’s great? Dark chocolate Oreos and Chewy Chips Ahoy! What’s better than delicious cookies? Football season! What’s better than football season? Waking up on a Monday to find out it’s a holiday and you don’t have work! What’s better than a paid company holiday? Vacations! What’s better than a vacation? The moving walkways in the airports that take you to your blissful destination!

We live in a fast world. Have you ever waited more than five seconds for an Internet site to load? No, because nobody has time to wait. You’ve gone back to your Google search and are moving on with your life! Same concept in meetings. Have you ever waited endlessly for someone to start talking? No, because we all have a million other things on our to-do lists and don’t have time to wait for someone to grow a pair and say ‘good morning’ to the team. Thankfully airports have also adopted this mindset. Why walk like a normal human being when you could straight up become the Flash and travel at supersonic (walking) speeds? 

I’m actually asking all the people who are forever casually strolling by the Jedi of escalators like they aren’t aware of the magic on their left. Is it like a real world Harry Potter concept where not everyone knows it’s there? Do you have to have a “gift” to see the moving walkway? Or are you actively choosing to remain mortal? Maybe I’m a bit impatient, maybe I still have an inner child well and alive in my soul, maybe I don’t spend enough time in airports, maybe I should plan my terminal transition better so I don’t need to use the walkways, maybe I simply enjoy moving plastic contraptions with railings – I don’t know. What I do know is that I never, and I do mean never, miss a chance to take a moving walkway.

Traveling isn’t always perfect, let’s be honest. Sometimes you get a layover that’s longer than comfortable. Sometimes you don’t get a layover at all. Sometimes you end up having to book a new flight because someone cancelled on you at the last second without warning. Sometimes you have to raise your voice to get your point across. What I’m trying to say is that air travel and relationships are clearly analogies for each other and / or maybe the same thing. 

Anywho … moving walkways. I’m no expert, but if I had to guess I would say that they were designed to help you get from one end of the terminal to the other in a quicker, more efficient manner. Which is fine, I guess. A bit boring, honestly, but logical. Are those the requirements for use, though? In a rush and needing to traverse a great distance in minimal time? Because if so, I have not once used them correctly. I’m what one would call a walkway rebel. If I’m j chillin’ at my gate and have to use the bathroom, I’ll use the walkway. If I come out of a terminal store and happen to be positioned in the middle of a walkway, I’ll walk to the end just to travel back towards where I started at the store. If I’m trying to waste time, I’ll walk up and down the terminal using every moving walkway just for kicks and giggles.

As great as moving walkways are, there are still courtesy rules. Well, really there’s just one. Don’t stand on the moving walkway. First of all, wut? The purpose of the walkway is to speed you up, not slow you down. Standing is making you move like a sloth. A real life Zootopia demonstration. That’s a new level of laziness. Why walk at regular speeds when you could stand on the slowest possible moving surface and barely move at all? Do you have time to kill? Great – do it somewhere that isn’t in the way of my fun, entertainment, and terminal joy. But if you need to, for reasons unknown to me, then by all means squash yourself up on the side of the railing like a bug. You get half of a normal person’s allotted space (more on walking space allotments in THIS POST) since you are the one in the way. Your suitcase can, and will, count against you. Make like Stanley and flatten up! 

Long story short, I am a moving walkway slut. If I see one, I will ride it without hesitation and without shame. If you’re standing on the moving walkway, you better channel your inner thinness so I can zoom zoom right by you like I’m in a Mazda commercial.  If you’re on the side of the moving walkway, I will judge you and question your decisions. 

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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PARKING GARAGE COURTESY

Parking garages are … an invention. Logically, I understand their purpose in cities where space is more coveted than followers. Let’s be honest, they are space savers. You can fit more cars in the same amount of land if you build vertically than you can on a ground level only surface. That’s just common sense. Taller equals more capacity. This is true for houses, ice cream cones, beer glasses, mohawks, the new Starbucks shipping freight container looking stores, anything really. Build up – it’s the future. They say shoot for the stars, so why not start closer to them?

Aside from the logical purpose of these structures, they suck. Basically the seventh level of Dante’s inferno. Never in my life have I been excited about the chance, or the requirement, to park in a garage. Where to even begin? The beautiful concrete architecture? Sure, because apparently we are still in the brutalist movement. They’re all giant striped rectangles made out of the world’s most bland material. Concrete. I’m sure there’s some structural reasoning behind that, but aesthetically? Bleh. You can never miss a parking garage, that’s for sure.

I’m going to give the architects the benefit of the doubt with the material they are limited with. Let’s move on to the next awful thing about the invention of the parking garage. Attendant booths. In other words, a way to charge you for parking. Why? Because how else would we pay for the cost to build the beautiful monstrosity? Does anyone look forward to paying for parking? I mean, you’re paying to leave your car somewhere. Somewhere that is not even responsible for what happens to your vehicle while you’re not in it. What kind of scheme is this?

Design and money are one thing. My main problem with parking garages, though, is how people choose to drive in them. Before driving up that ramp, I would like to know who keeps approving garages that are wide enough for anywhere between 1.25 – 1.5 cars in any given driveable path. If you are building a two way garage, why on Earth would you not make it wide enough for 2 entire vehicles? How is that helpful to anybody? Vehicles do not do well in confined spaces. They are not ninjas. They do not pivot well. They do not recover if bumped into. What is this madness? 

On that note, all garages with blind corners need mirrors. Not mirrors the size of a smartphone, either. Giant, clear, well placed mirrors so you can see oncoming vehicles that will not fit in the space designed for less than 2 cars. Otherwise, it’s just a hope and a prayer. Might as well close our eyes and have Jesus take the wheel all the way up. Up and up and up and up and up and up and up and up and up and up until eventually you find a spot in the one area that makes the potential benefit of using a garage disappear. Covered parking would be the one plus. Because, you know, birds have to poop too. But at the top, welp, so sorry you spent money to park in the elements.

I would also like to know why people think it’s ok to drive at city speeds through a garage where there are corners involved and not enough space. Where are you trying to go? There is one way up and one way down. Slow down. Think about your actions. Are you trying to steal the closest space? From who? While you’re at it, stop driving in the middle of the lane! It’s meant for two cars. You are not special. You do not get extra space. Be courteous. STAY IN YOUR LANE. And don’t give me a dirty look when you whip around a corner on my side of the garage and almost hit me. I’m following the rules and you, well nobody knows what you’re doing. Back your driver’s license all the way back to the DMV so you can get a lesson in two way traffic.

So, we’ve trusted our cars to the concrete jungle, spent way too much money to leave it there, successfully navigated the blind corners, dealt with all the questionably licensed drivers, and found a spot. Now, getting out on foot. Why is this always the most complicated thing in the world. Where are all the exits? Why are they so hard to find? Let me be free. But, first, better remember some combination of letters, numbers, colors, and / or symbols or you’ll never see your car again.

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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WIPERS ON, LIGHTS ON … HOW HARD IS THAT?

Some things in life are a challenge. Figuring out which one of the hundred remotes turns on the cable box, remembering to not stand up during video calls (unless, of course, you have pants on), choosing the right size tortillas in the grocery store, trying to understand anything about taxes or insurance, using your self-control to only eat four Oreos in one sitting, COMMUNICATION, anything work related, folding fitted sheets, knowing when you have the right of way as a DRIVER OR PEDESTRIAN, etc.

Other things in life are so easy you do it without realizing. Binge watching sessions, multitasking during video calls, picking up the large box of Goldfish at the grocery store, trusting that the insurance agent has your best interest at hand, hiding your favorite candy in the pantry so no one else eats it, calling in sick to work, avoiding any type of real responsibility, putting off cleaning until it’s a problem, checking how many likes your latest flex post has, turning on your lights when your wipers are on … wait. Do people do that? No. Thus this post.

As a self-proclaimed traffic expert, and considerate driver, I think this is a concept that should just be obvious. But in case it’s not, it’s also a traffic law! How fun for us. Where do laws come from anyways? Stupid people. You don’t end up with a warning about hot contents on a coffee cup unless someone sues the company claiming they weren’t aware how steamy the hot, fresh coffee they ordered was. AKA stupid. I’m convinced this specific road rule stems from the same general pool of people. 

I find it interesting that people need to be convinced to turn their lights on when they help you see better. Who wouldn’t want that? It’s not like having to get glasses for your car, no one is calling you four-eyes for turning on your lights. You get to see things like people, other cars, deer, the lines … so you can STAY IN YOUR LANE. Granted, usually that’s most helpful when it’s dark. Or dusk. Or foggy. Or rainy. Surprised? You shouldn’t be. Unless you’re younger than 15 and / or have never driven a car. 

Here’s a fun knowledge bomb about turning your lights on while driving and the outdoor weather isn’t perfectly sunny: the lights are not always for you. It’s a dual purpose system. Like noise cancelling headphones. You want studio quality and an excuse to not answer other people. Likewise, lights help you see and they help other people see you. Wow. What a concept. In other words, not turning your lights on is selfish. Don’t be selfish. It takes literally zero effort to turn the light knob from off to on. 

Daytime running lights are also not a viable excuse. Oh, you didn’t turn them on because they’re always on? That’s curious since the daytime running lights are on, but your light switch remains at off. That’s not a setting you implemented, my friend. No, that was factory designed and can’t be turned off. How do you even know they’re on unless you’re tailgating hard and can see your reflection in someone else’s bumper? While we’re on this excuse, daytime running lights only run on your headlights. So how would that help someone behind you? Where your taillights are still dead? Not a trick question – it doesn’t help them. 

Think about the last time you drove in the rain. Was it mainly behind other people? Were you more concerned with red lights or headlights? Well I would argue that it’s the red ones since everyone loses their mind when rain comes and decide that the speed limit is 10, regardless of what type of road you’re on. You’re trying not to hit the person in front of you. Sure, you see cars going the other way, but if you begin to become more concerned with oncoming traffic, I think you should evaluate your ability to stay on your half of the road. Just saying.

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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DO YOU HAVE THE RIGHT OF WAY? A PEDESTRIAN AND DRIVER QUESTIONNAIRE

Have you ever been driving and wondered if you had the right of way in your chosen course of action? Be it a left turn, a right turn, going straight, changing lanes, passing a crosswalk, etc. Actually, let’s back up. Have you ever been alive and wondered if you had the right of way in your chosen course of action? If your answer is no, I simply wonder what it’s like to live in the clouds. Oblivious to everything that is happening around you. I’m also very concerned for your general safety and the safety of those around you. 

But hey, I get it. Not everything in life is fun enough to be fully engaged in. Hello pretty much all of 2020. Just because it isn’t fun doesn’t mean it’s acceptable to tune out, though. We’re not children anymore, unfortunately. Last time I checked no one was making me dinner so another night of Goldfish it is! Specific activities require much more attention than others, too, so you have to stay on your game to make sure you’re not treating driving like Mario Kart. I’m all for an epic night of Mario Kart, flying down Rainbow Road like a mad person, but I also understand that Mario Kart and actual driving only have one thing in common: wheels.

Since not all of us have jumped on the self-driving car bandwagon yet, either, driving is still a very much need to be engaged task. Which means that anytime you choose to cross a street as a pedestrian, you too need to be engaged. Otherwise bad things could happen. You could almost hit a pedestrian and spill your coffee all over you. You could almost get hit by a car and drop your milkshake on the ground. Both scenarios are equally traumatizing. Think of all of the food and beverages that could be saved if people paid more attention. Smh. 

To help stop the spread of preventable food waste due to close calls involving vehicles, pedestrians, and roads of some kind (or anywhere a vehicle could go really), I’ve created a simple guide. This can be memorized, printed out and stuck on your bathroom mirror, taught in schools worldwide, set as the background of your phone – anything. Because it’s important. It’s simple. It’s common sense when you think about it. It can save lives. It, of course, is a questionnaire to determine if you have the right of way … in no particular order:

FOR DRIVERS

  • Am I at a red light trying to turn right? Well, is there someone coming down the road I’m trying to turn on? Yes? Then no. No? Then yes
  • Am I at a red light trying to go straight, or turn left? No, what? This is not even a way and also not how the most basic traffic laws work. Red means stop
  • Am I at a YIELD SIGN? Well, again, is there someone coming down the road I’m trying to turn on? Yes? Then no. No? Then yes
  • Am I in a free flowing right turn lane? Yes, and everyone expects you to keep going
  • Am I trying to merge into a free flowing right turn lane? Let’s review, check first and if no one is there then you have the right of way. If there is someone there you better check yourself
  • Am I at a stop sign? Is it all way and have you been there the longest? Yes, get moving! No? Wait your turn skippy! Is it a three way, two way, or singular way stop? If you still haven’t realized at this point that you need to check first I question how you obtained a license in the first place
  • Am I at a stop sign, trying to turn, with pedestrian crossings present? If there are pedestrians, then no. If not, then yes
  • Am I approaching a yellow light? Can you make it through safely without going at ridiculous speeds? Yes, by all means keep going. If you need to top 80 to make it, slow your roll speed racer and wait it out
  • Am I at a green light trying to go straight? YES! The easiest one to remember
  • Am I at a green light trying to turn right? Is there a pedestrian crossing? Better wait out grandma because she has the right of way. If not, shame on you for choosing a non pedestrian friendly city, but yes you do
  • Am I at a green light trying to turn left? Do you have a green turn arrow? Then yes. Otherwise, no wait for all the straight people to go
  • Am I at a flashing yellow turn light? This is the traffic light version of a yield sign so check yourself first before just jumping right out there
  • Am I trying to merge lanes? Kind of if you check your mirrors, check your blindspots, and check your mirrors again for other cars before proceeding
  • Am I trying to merge onto a highway? No. Nope, no one is obligated to let you in that is 100% on you. Assess your speed, assess the openings, and don’t wait until the end of the ramp to look around

FOR PEDESTRIANS

  • Am I at a random place on a random road with zero clearly marked pedestrian crossing zones? If you’re not at a crosswalk then whatever happens is on you. You only have the right of way in a crosswalk, or a pedestrian crossing zone. 
  • Am I at a crosswalk with a stop hand showing? No. Stop means stop no matter how you’re choosing to get from point A to point B
  • Am I at a crosswalk with a walk sign showing? YES! The easiest pedestrian answer
  • Am I at a crosswalk with no signage for go / no-go? Yes, but don’t start your adventure as a car flies through – wait until it’s clear.

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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TRAFFIC LIGHTS SHOULDN’T BE A THING AFTER MIDNIGHT

I hate red lights, you hate red lights, we all hate red lights! Because they’re the worst. They’re a straight up vibe killer. You’re rolling down the road, minding your own business, jamming to your best carpool karaoke song, or gaining some knowledge from your favorite podcast, and simply don’t have time to hit the brakes. And yet, traffic lights don’t care. There’s never a fun time for a red light. Either you know it’s coming and have to go through the long, slow, demoralizing braking process, or you think you’re going to make it and then, at the last second, the yellow disappears in half a millisecond and you have to slam on the brakes since you’re too far to make it, but too close to be smooth about it. 

What do we do when that happens? I scream, you scream, we all scream for it to turn green! So we can literally move on with our lives. Green is just a better color than red anyways. It means go. It’s a symbol for money. It’s the color of nature. It’s what the inside of mint Oreos looks like. It’s 50% of the Christmas holiday color scheme. It’s great! Red, on the other hand, not so much. It means stop. It’s a symbol for anger. It’s the color of fire. It’s what the inside of a tomato looks like. It’s 33.3333% of the singles awareness holiday color scheme. It’s the worst!

Then there’s yellow. A perfectly mediocre color in every sense. In my, obviously correct, opinion, seeing a yellow light is worse than a red light. Have you ever wondered if you’ve had a LIFE CRISIS? Have you ever had to play the will I / won’t I make it game with a yellow light? Then yes, you’ve had a crisis. What a cruel world we live in where traffic lights are a tease. Because not all yellows are the same length of time. Which makes sense, I guess. If you live on the moon! What?! It’s either half a millisecond or ten seconds or somewhere in between. We don’t know.

So here we all are, playing traffic light roulette, and hoping not to get a brake sentence. As annoying as traffic lights are, though, they are important during traffic. Thus the traffic part of traffic lights. It’s a control method. Otherwise it would be a madhouse. Survival of the quickest and the fearless. Enter the eyes in the sky to make sure we all maintain some semblance of sanity during our drives. But it seems to me that they don’t make a lot of sense when there is no traffic.

Not, oh look there’s casually no traffic because it’s 10:52AM on a Tuesday morning. No. That’s a happy coincidence for you – thank the traffic gods and maybe buy a lottery ticket since you’re clearly getting some good luck in your corner. I’m talking about when it’s 3:27AM and you’re clearly making good choices with your life and trying to make it home before you fall asleep. When the rest of the world is asleep, well mostly. Other than cool kids like you and your friends.

If you live in a big city, disregard what I’m saying. But if you don’t live in a place that people fly into America just to visit, then read on! At a certain time, lights could turn to flashing yellows and everyone would be happier. Or, at the very least, turn off the timers and turn on the sensors! Don’t tempt me with a red light, a 30+ second crosswalk countdown, and not a soul in sight. When I’m tired. And it’s late at night, or very early in the morning. Situations like those don’t lead to smart, lawful decisions. As I roll up, so should the light color. Just a smooth beautiful transition where, at most, I take my foot off the gas and coast, but I don’t have to tap the brakes. Imagine what that world would be like where you get rewarded for not going to bed at a socially acceptable hour. 

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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DEAR MECHANICS: STOP ADJUSTING MY SEAT SETTINGS

Like most good things in life, even cars have their downside. Gas is not free. Traffic and other drivers are the worst (you can read all about my traffic thoughts in THESE POSTS). Any sort of service, or repair, is the most inconvenient thing I’ve ever had to do on multiple occasions. Car commercials set up FALSE EXPECTATIONS which is disappointing. And it takes a minute to get all the settings adjusted perfectly. Especially if you drive a newer model, it’s almost like setting up a computer. So many choices, so many buttons, so many console options, so many seat adjustment levers – ugh.  

Unlike some people, I enjoy driving. It’s thrilling. It’s always an experience. It’s a high risk situation that requires focus. I do not, however, enjoy riding. I’m a terrible passenger. There’s not anything to do but look out the window and judge how close the driver likes to ride the line. Car karaoke is fun, but there’s less pressure as the driver. If you suck, blame it on the fact that you’re paying attention to the road, not on your future singing career. As the passenger, though, you have zero excuse. If you’re not about to belt it out like Carrie Underwood, get out. Someone once asked me how I embodied the restless spirit and I told them to just drive me around. Are we there yet? I’m that passenger.

None of that is really relevant, but here we all are. Having read that paragraph just wondering how it relates to the rest of this post. It doesn’t. I probably won’t tie that loose end up. Not sorry. Anyways … let’s talk about the most annoying / frustrating / time-consuming / expensive (pick your adjective) part of having a car. Having to visit the mechanic. Zero part of that process is convenient. First, you have to schedule a time to either drop off, or wait, on your vehicle. All of the car dealers put baby computers in the cabin now, yet the schedule service form is from the first round of the Internet last century. Why?

After finally figuring out how things used to work and getting an appointment, then you actually have to go. Which is arguably worse. Wait, nope, it’s definitely worse. Your car, and your freedom, are indefinitely gone. If you’re waiting, well you just have to find something to do on your phone, or sit alone with your thoughts, in the service center. Indefinitely. If you drop it off, you need to find a second vehicle to accompany you so you can get back home. Then someone, maybe that same person, will have to take you back to the shop to pick your car up after waiting for it to be serviced. Indefinitely.

That’s a lot of time not knowing what kind of quote they’re going to hit you with. It’s a guessing game, not a fun one, but one nonetheless. Is it fine, or is it ready for the scrap yard? Will my multi-point inspection pass? I came in to get the tires rotated, but is the alignment all jacked up too? So many questions. No answers. It’s a fun time. Whatever it comes back as, I have yet to meet one single person who enjoys spending their money on car service. I most definitely do not. One oil change could get me a night at an AirBnb. Replacing the front brake pads are a couple of party kegs for the weekend rager. Having to get the bumper replaced because the texter behind me forgot they were driving doesn’t technically take my money, but mental energy wise I could have performed at a music festival. 

Then, just like that, you get your keys back! Oh, sweet glory! You are now free to roam anywhere your heart desires again. No road? No problem! Hop up in that 4×4 or risk it in your front wheel drive if you’re feeling a bit hellish. No one can stop you. You’re a lean, mean, driving machine! Except … oh, what’s this? Your seat is too far back, the AC is 10 degrees too cold, the console lighting is now on the opposite side of the color wheel, the seat warmers are turned off, the steering wheel has been lowered, your rearview mirror is no longer helpful, and your side mirrors currently show you the ground. 

How is it that the mechanic who had to make the super long drive from the shop to the front of the store where you were waiting felt it was appropriate to adjust everything? Who do you think you are? We’re not road tripping this thing. It’s not a delivery drop off. No one asked if it was acceptable for them to fix the functional part of my car but totally destroy the aesthetics and comfort parts. This, to me, is a bit rude. If someone trusts me with their vehicle, I wouldn’t even think to change everything so I could be temporarily at home. I would accept my brief time of discomfort so that the next time they got in, it would be ready to go. Besides, the transport time here has to be a minute max.

Imagine if you went to bank and while they deposited your money (after you figure out the PAPER MAZE) they also changed all of your account passwords and security questions for fun. Or if you went to a restaurant and while they made your food decided to come over and completely redesign the table layout and seating arrangements so everyone was eating alone. Or if you went to a tailgate (RIP fall sports) and while you were getting food someone got in your car and changed every single setting. Cause they were sitting in the trunk and didn’t like the mood lighting color choice. None of that would be acceptable and you would definitely not be tipping. So how is it allowed at the car dealers? I don’t know. We may never know. But it’s our harsh reality at the moment.

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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