28 May 2005

Rules of the road

It's Memorial Day Weekend again, despite the crappy weather's best efforts to make it feel like it was still March, so it's time again for Rock Grrrl's Guide To Driving on Cape Cod During the Summer Season!

Whether you're from here or away, here for the summer or a day, this handy guide will ease your way!

...and, not incidentally, mine! So listen up!

Rule #1.
(A.K.A. Absolutely Inviolate Cardinal No Joking Rule Number One)

No Left Turns Into Traffic.

Unless if you took a right-hand turn you'd softly glide down the boat ramp and into the loving arms of the mighty Atlantic, left turns are never ever necessary and they cause emotional pain and anguish to motorists behind you (waiting for your dumb ass to move so they can take their sensible right-hand turns into traffic), motorists in the lane of traffic traveling to your right (yes, they are shaking their heads ruefully at you), and motorists traveling to your left (they are just ignoring you, you silly-billy).

All that you have to do -- and trust me, this maneuver takes far less time than it does to take a left hand turn into traffic -- is to take a right turn, travel a short distance down the road, find a convenient (commercial! not residential!) parking lot to your left, turn around, and take another right-hand turn.

Presto! You are going the direction you wanted to go, and have inconvenienced the fewest people, including yourself.

And no, sticking the big ol' nose of your big ol' car into traffic to stop one lane of cars so you can scam your way in to another is not an acceptable alternative.

Rule #2.

Always use your turn signals. Always use your turn signals, well in advance of making the actual turn. Flicking it briefly on and off while in the act of turning does not count. If you just assume that we will know what you are up to just because your brake lights are on, then you are just a very sad and lonely person with a hole in your heart that blinds you to other people's pain.

Rule #3.

When making a turn, make the goddamn turn like you mean it. Not like you're still keeping your options open, and maybe going straight might not be out of the question after all, let's just see how things develop. If I can listen to an entire Yo La Tengo song while you ponderously rotate your steering wheel, you are mooooving toooooooo sloooooooow. Go. Turn. Do it. Move.

OK, enough with the Do What I Say portion of the handy guide to Moral Motoring. Here is some genuinely useful information, delivered (somewhat) less condescendingly.

Helpful Hint #1.

Around these parts, we have a truly lovely custom of letting people into traffic when we are feeling generous, which actually tends to be often, given that we're all in this mess together. And the best part is, it comes back to you! You give, you receive. It's instant karma. So just so you know, if someone flashes their lights at you, they are saying C'mon in! I'm in a benevolent mood! If you're wacky enough to want to join the Death March to the Mall on a rainy Saturday afternoon, I'm just wacky enough to let you board the crazy train! The appropriate response is to give a little wave of thanks to the driver and graciously pull in front of them in line.

Without this tradition, no car on this sandbar would move an inch between now and Labor Day.

So return the favor as soon as possible. I find, when I'm feeling steamed by recently sighted infractions of rules 1-3 above, letting someone into traffic ahead of me cools my jets somewhat. Doing my part to balance out the bad in the world with a little bit of good, you know?

Helpful Hint #2.

I said this last year, I'll say it again. Along the highway in Eastham (Route Six -- I know it doesn't look like a highway to outsiders, but it is) they really really meant it when they posted 40 miles per hour. They are all over the place, and they will get you, especially if you are sporting a nice, juicy, out-of-state license plate. Obey.

They also really meant it when they posted 25 mph in wee little town centers, especially at night, when they are hoping they can find you with an open six-pack cradled in your crotch. Good lord, don't be an idiot.

Helpful Hint #3.

Cape Codders don't speak like Bostonians, nor do we speak like Mainers. So please can it with the "chowdah" and "pahk the cah" cracks.

And finally:

Welcome, welcome. Oh good God, welcome. It has been a long and bitterly cold winter, with many backs thrown out from shoveling and many downed wires and downed trees and branches and long days and nights without electricity or heat and months of pent-up cabin fever and we are all just the merest bit cranky and strung out and hung over and oh God that sun hurts my eyes. But we are also, as usual, starved for any human company other than the few year-rounders we can stand hanging out with and we are honestly kind of sick of each other's shit by now, so welcome, welcome. We missed you.

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