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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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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MOST INCREDIBLE COVID HIGHWAY SIGNS: A COLLECTION

What’s the best part of driving down the highway? Not the traffic signs, that’s for sure. They’re usually just so bleh. Exit 386 towards city one, via route 19 towards city two, passing through city three, who wishes they were bigger like city 4, but they aren’t, isn’t it sad, and making a brief passing under an I40 bridge that leads to city 5. Mmkay, first of all there should never be more than 2 city options on a highway interchange. Frankly, two is usually one too many. Because my map lady is not a fast reader and she always comes on during my favorite song which is a major vibe killer. My carpool karaoke skills are obviously top notch but my voice rarely meshes with the non-existent beat of an automated map robot.

If it’s not just a standard, “where am I” sign, they’re announcing bad news and no one needs that when you’re on a straight road where the speed limit is 70 MPH, but you’re currently STOPPED. If there’s congestion for the next 20 miles, just throw a pixelated rendition of the poop emoji up. Feels more humane than knowing how far I have to go before I can begin using my gas pedal again. My least favorite highway signs are the exit food signs with zero options. Zero?! Why even make the blue sign? What is the purpose? Who are you helping by doing this? Not my emotions, that’s very clear. I guess that’s just one of the road crews OPTIMISTIC OUTLOOKS for the development of said rural exit.

Despite some ‘smack my head against the wall’ type of signs that have been the norm for pretty much ever, COVID has brought out all the clowns. And I’m here for it! A (very, very small) silver lining from the current worldly chaos. Let’s break down a few of the absolute gems, and also examine some non-COVID related, but general WUT signs for fun:

Drive Like Your Mother is Watching. Wear a Mask Like Your Mother is Watching

Let’s start strong! Attack every momma’s boy where it hurts, while his mother is watching. Yikes – clearly zero cares given here about feelings. Do it for mom!

Seat Belts Save Lives, So Do Masks

This one is fun, because it’s factual. Who doesn’t love a good fact smack as they’re driving at high speeds? Follow the k-nowledge of this one.

Outside With No Mask? Fuhgeddaboutit

Clearly a New England sign, but still a classic nonetheless. Anything that incorporates the phrase fuhgeddaboudit, and does so in a way that is both humorous and makes sense, will convince me. That’s why I don’t do drugs – once saw a sign that said ‘Thinking about trying crystal meth? Fuhgeddaboutit!

Honk If You’re Wearing a Mask

Here we take an interesting turn in the signage. This feels dumb. Why honk? Why wear a mask inside the car, first of all? It’s your car – what are you doing in it? Also, the last thing we need is more HONKERS. They’re the worst.

Less Is More, Avoid Gatherings

Hmmm, what gatherings are happening on the highway? A traffic jam? Don’t mind if I do! Does this give us legal right to report traffic jams as a crime? A lot of different interpretations of what to avoid here.

Stay Safe, Stay Home

Well, it’s clearly a little late for that considering I’m on the road. Thank you, from future me?

Feel Sick? Stay Home

Another fun stay home sign that feels better suited for a television commercial than a roadway, but clearly I’m not in charge.

COVID-19 Testing

Who? What? When? Where? Why? This provides no details and we all know what happens when you let humans make their own decisions with zero guidance? Yep, you guessed it, COVID.

State Law: No Driving While Impaired

I love this sign so much because an impaired person probably isn’t able to read said sign. Also, this is like the basic law of driving – who is unaware?

You’re Not a Firework, Don’t Drive Lit

Lulz, what savages! I was told I could grow up to be anything I wanted, how dare you crush my dream of being an explosive. But on a more serious note, lit people are looking at the sky and interpreting cosmic signs in the form of clouds, not at this sign.

Don’t Be a Knucklehead

What more is there to say here? Straight to the point – don’t be a knucklehead!

Baby Yoda Uses a Car Seat. Stay Safe, He Will

Well, you had me at Baby Yoda! What if I don’t fit in a car seat? Who is this targeted to? Children? Who can’t really read? Because they’re in a car seat? So many questions, but fun nonetheless!

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 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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