There are as many styles of driving as there are states and countries from which the drivers originate. That large diversity of people has produced a rich culture of family values and love for their fellow human beings which changes dramatically when they get behind the wheel. Think Snow White turning into Godzilla. It’s like they’re on a reality show called ‘So you think you can drive”. The winner usually comes down to who can get ahead of you. If you have ever seen a picture of the Shibuya Street Crossing in Tokyo, Japan, it’s the busiest intersection in the world and from the air, looks like a giant swarm of bees were poured onto the pavement, all trying to get out of each other’s way, so consider us lucky. OK, luckier!

The State of Florida will let almost anyone drive if they can prove their feet touch the pedals and their cell phone touches their ear. Where are the futuristic highway systems that Popular Science Magazine promised us back in the 1950’s when you could tool down the road and have lunch while at the same time send electronic messages to all your friends? Sound familiar? So glad to have professional truck drivers on the road to show the way.

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One of the commercial driver’s license requirements is that you must be able to hear a whisper. I guess you need to hear it over the sound of a truck engine. At that point, you have better hearing than the greater wax moths who have the highest recorded sound frequency range that has been recorded so far. They can hear frequencies up to 300 kHz (kilohertz). It’s like listening to Yoko Ono sing opera. How has this bit of arcane knowledge been determined? I would have loved to be a moth on the wall during the brainstorming sessions that targeted the lowly wax moth for a clinical hearing trial. Scientist number one, “OK Jimmy, hold him down and let’s see if we can attach this device to his head to see if he can hear us. Where’s the glue?”

I felt lucky and decided to get on the road and was immediately back in the Game of Groans.  I was cut off by a truck. These words are as familiar to South Floridians as I was cut off by a car. How’s my driving? Call 1 800 CUT-U-OFF! Bad driving seems to be the Number 1 State sport right behind tracking what has Florida Man done now?

No matter. We’re number one in a recent road rage survey. Do they really need to keep surveying us for that? More than 2,000 adult drivers who commute in 20 major metropolitan areas were asked to rate rude driving in telephone surveys. Every-one they called in South Florida was driving when they answered. A lot of screeching and yelling was heard in the background. We’re so good at this we beat out New York!

You figure with all the intersection cameras people would hold back on this kind of behavior. Are you kidding? Miami sells the results to America’s Scariest Videos.

I was just about able to read the words how’s my driving? printed on the back of the truck that cut me off. I had to tailgate the guy and they really make you work at deciphering the tiny numbers. Should I call or not? It was decision time. I had to end the call I was on, put down the sandwich, search for a pen to write the number, actually write the number, pick up the phone, try to make the call and almost cut off a car behind me. Glad I don’t have a how’s my driving message on the back of my car.

Around here, safe driving is like changing names on Dolphin Stadium. Doesn’t matter what you call it, it’s the same old thing. It was an 800 number. I guess the company was getting so many calls they had to utilize a fulfillment center.

What would fulfill me is if they got these drivers off the road, but at that point there would be no one left to scream at. Screaming out loud is better than screaming to your-self. It’s like a quick therapy scream. Painless, free and you feel a little better for the ranting.

I’ve called those 800 how’s my driving numbers before, and odds are, the person that answers probably drives as badly as the person you’re calling about.

Who’s fielding the calls? My guess is that they’re way down on the corporate totem pole. Why have a valuable employee waste their time? They’d have to schedule a bad driver’s conference with the person, get them in their office and have a good laugh together at the frustration of the caller.

What if the 800 number phenomena spreads? Do these pants make me look fat? Call 1 800 whoa!

 

 

 

 

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Buzz Fleischman is a Humorist and singer/songwriter of ‘irregular songs for regular people’ and a character actor who has appeared in and voiced TV commercials and radio. He currently hosts and produces the Joltradio.org interview show “On the Record and Off the Wall’. http://www.joltradio.org/artist/on-the-record-and-off-the-wall-with-buzz-fleischman Buzz was the humorist on the NPR affiliate WLRN for 12 years and has been a featured speaker for significant local and national conferences, conventions and organizations. He is a docent at the Curtiss Mansion and is fascinated by the history of Miami Springs and its interesting residents. http://www.theradiobuzz.com

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