Wednesday, January 20, 2010

It pays to be well-behaved

There's a new TV show that I am not allowed to watch. OK, not really, but whenever a promo for it comes on, Larry says firmly, "You can't watch that," and I whine appropriately: "You never let me have any fun."

Howe and Howe Tech is about these two guys who build heavy duty vehicles, and Larry is afraid that I might learn too much from it. A working tank, in my hands, would be ... trouble.

But not really for the reason he thinks. Sure, it would be tempting to ... to not have to yield to certain other drivers out there. You know what I mean. The ones in the towering SUV's, careening around you while on the cell phone, who endanger your life. The idiots who cut you off, or take your parking space or who, on a little narrow road, come so close to center to turn left that they block the road so no one can turn in. A tank would be real handy at times, and the temptation would be hard to resist.

This footage ...

has run a bazillion times on Discovery, but the first time I saw it, I was far too enamored of it, and he's never forgotten that.

But I am actually lucid at times and know that avoiding points on my driver license is a good thing. I got my reward yesterday, when the Dreaded Day arrived -- a trip to the DMV to renew my license, an event that not only means I'm older, but means we've lived back here in SC for nearly ten years(!).

I have a clean driving record. I walked in, passed the eye test, and walked out with my license and its requisite mug shot in my hand, within minutes. And it's good for ten years! The Badly Behaved drivers were put through much less pleasant protocols.

So, really, I wouldn't use the tank to crush other vehicles.

No, I would use it to plow a line straight through the landscape from here to Charlotte, NC.

Charlotte is my hometown, and is no longer the pleasant small-ish city I grew up in, so I don't really want to spend a lot of time there. But I do have relatives, relatives I actually like a lot, and friends, and Borders Books, which is nowhere closer, so I'd like to get there maybe just a little more.

But the utter absurdity is that, even though Myrtle Beach is a MAJOR destination for the residents of this now-big city, there's no direct route. The drive is a misery of three-digit bleak highways.

To get there from here -- and these are the major routes anyone takes, I am not even including the local twists and turns that apply to the specific addresses at the start and finish -- you take:

to 76
to 52
to 52/401
to 34 (for only about 1 minute)
to 151
which becomes 601
to 74 which goes through several towns,
becoming Independence Boulevard
(traffic, strip mall nightmare) at some point
to ... here's a choice of major arteries (495, 51, 16, others)

The 501, 151/601, and 74 legs are ENDLESS.

The only good part is the halfway point. It's a big, wonderful farmstand/store called McLeod Farms, which has a cafe, picnic tables, and a nice little store full of great produce and delectable baked goods. It makes the drive bearable. Just.

But we drove it 3 times this past year, and I tell ya, if I had a tank, I'd flatten a nice straight route from here to some point on 74 that easily connects to a decent road.

And whatever criminal charges I incurred, they probably wouldn't involve disobeying rules of the road, because there ain't no roads. Not yet anyway. Once I got out of jail, I'd still have my license! OK, maybe not. But I'm not sure it wouldn't be worth it anyway.


Dann said...

Oh Ruth. You need to think bigger.

Like how about rigging up paint ball guns under the hood. The next time some jerk cuts you off, all you have to do is fire off a dozen paint balls into the back end of their vehicle to get their attention.

Or better still, how about installing a directional EMP [electromagnetic pulse] device behind the grill of your car. You line up the miscreant in front of you and with a touch of a button you fry every electronic device in their car.

That sort of thing will wreak havoc on an electronic ignition system!!

Of course, my personal favorite is to install a 50 mm cannon and just the blow the sucker completely off the road.


Nostalgic for the Pleistocene said...

Believe me, that EMP device is something i thought of and have craved for years! I pictured more of a handheld, though.

Dann said...

You want to be careful with an EMP device. If you don't shield your car, then you end up zapping your car as well as theirs.

That's why I favor putting it behind the grill with a directional antenna to make sure the blast only goes forward.