Thursday, July 8, 2010

One of those invisible days

Sometimes I want to use my powers for evil. Okay, not really evil but. . . revenge. In the moment, I tell myself I'd be doing the world a favor and that the people I would . . . "correct" deserve it.

But those days come when my superpowers are at their weakest, those days like today when I'm (apparently) invisible to the world. Do you have those days?

You do. I know you do. Because if you read this blog you are smart, intelligent, witty, and erudite, which means the evil MagmaSplotch who drives hate and selfishness into the spirits of men (and women) is after you, too. And occasionally gets you.

I see a hand raised over there. . . yes, what is your question? Oh, you want to know what I'm talking about.

I'm talking about the motorcyclist who swerved across two lanes to occupy the spot I was in, and then gesticulated in a manner most unpleasant, as if he'd reserved that patch of tarmac earlier in the day. I'm talking about the little green VW Bug that does not, in fact, fit into the small gap between me and the car in front of me, and wouldn't fit even if it had signaled. Which it didn't. I'm talking about the black Ford truck whose driver has the magical ability to conjure up a lane where the rest of us see nothing but hard shoulder. Such talent.

And most of all, I'm talking about the woman sitting quietly in her car as traffic drifts along, the woman who has made herself immune to my penetrating, fiery-hot, "glare of destruction." I know, I know, you can't imagine someone not suffering under that glare. I think I know why she was immune though: she was too busy applying eye-liner while watching the road while driving while taking sips of coffee from a regular (not travel) mug. Even more impressive talent. You can imagine how impressed I was when she lifted a bowl of cereal (I assume it wasn't soup) from the passenger seat and started feeding it into her mouth.

Lord knows what she would have done if her phone had rung. I suppose I should be grateful she wasn't driving a stick-shift. At least, I assume she wasn't.

On the plus side for today, when a defense lawyer approaches me in court this morning and says, "Hey, can we talk about my client's case? He's the one who shot three nuns while they were helping a blind Nobel Peace Prize winner across the street," I'll probably just say, "Oh, that's all he did?" and mean it.


  1. When I was in high school, I worked at a gas station for a couple of months. One day I heard a noise, saw a car in the air landing at the gas pumps. A girl my age got out, with lipstick on half her lips, and a line of lipstick going up her cheek. The evidence says she drifted off the road into the ditch, and the low retaining wall for our driveway culvert launched her into the air.

  2. I am perpetually amused by the extent to which Austin fancies itself to have the world's most courteous drivers, when indeed it is widely recognized as having a grossly disproportionate share of the world's worst.

    As a professional pedestrian, one of my courteous driver pet peeves concerns those drivers who, with a cheerful wave of their hand, will stop in the middle of a thoroughfare to let me cross the street in front of them, despite the absence of any traffic signal or stop sign. "Yes, thank you very much, let's ALL die a hideous death right here...I am far less likely to get rear-ended standing here on the curb than you are while inexplicably parked in the middle of South Congress Avenue."

    My other pet peeve of the cheerful and courteous driver variety are those friends and acquaintances who will honk at me to say hello as I am crossing a street and sharply focused on not getting killed while doing so. If my eyesight were sufficiently good to actually see who it IS who is honking and waving behind tinted windows as he passes by at 40 miles per hour, I'd probably be driving instead of walking. And I can never be quite sure whether the person who is honking at me is doing so to say hello, or because he is about to run me over. Turning my head in order to make this determination is in fact more likely to RESULT in being run over.

    Hybrids also scare the livin' bejeebers out of me. I will never be run over by a diesel-powered vehicle, but a hybrid might take me out without making a sound.

    If you think driving is scary....hehe....

    I am reminded of a story -- perhaps apochryphal, I don't know -- about the fellow who lost his sight in childhood because of a progressive eye disease. He nonetheless attended college and graduate school, launched a successful career, married a lovely lady and had a house full of kids. One day he received a call from his ophthalmologist, with alarming news: a new surgical procedure had been perfected which offered some prospect of restoring his sight!

    The procedure carried with it some risks, and the doctor invited him to think it over. He discussed the matter with his wife and kids, and elected to go through with the procedure.

    Three days after the surgery, it was time for the moment of truth as the surgeon removed the bandages. A television reporter who had gotten wind of the story was on hand to record the moment. The bandages came off, and eureka!, the man was able to see again! He saw his wife and children for the first time ever.

    The reporter did a followup interview with the man a couple of days later, and asked him what was the most remarkable thing about having his sight back. He expected the fellow to say something mushy about seeing his wife and his children.

    Nope. He said "I had no idea that being in the car was so frightening."


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