Sunday, August 22, 2010

You Mean This Isn't Mario Kart?

Over the course of the past two weeks, I've done a lot of driving. I'm not complaining; I like driving as much as the next person (as long as the next person is Steve McQueen), and I'm not a bad driver*. But one thing I noticed is that whenever I told someone I was getting in the car to go someplace, they would say, "Drive safely!"
*compared to many popular singers, like Billy Joel or Ray Charles.

At first, this seems like a well meaning wish, one that could be grouped with a few other pieces of advice.
1) Drive safely!
2) Don't be a stranger!
3) Pack a towel! They're useful!
4) Evacuate the premises, because they are on fire!
5) Don't ever look at my sister like that again!

The more I thought about it, however, the stranger it seemed to me. What is it supposed to change? And what do these people who say 'drive safely' think I would do if they didn't give me that crucial piece of advice? They probably gloat to themselves happily, imagining me driving down a highway with these things passing through my mind...

1) The drive is 200 miles on roads, but 50 how the crow flies. This isn't even a question! On the other hand, I could drive safely, like Joey suggested. And that lake is probably pretty deep... Ah, I'll take the roads.

2) I am totally going to jump this drawbridge, just like in the Blues Brothers. Oh shoot, this isn't the Blues-mobile, and Billy said I should drive safe. Maybe I'll wait for the bridge to come down.

3) I'll bet with a broomstick on the accelerator and my knees on the wheel, I could drive while sticking my head out of the sunroof... Then again, Maggie said I should drive safely... I'll find an abandoned parking lot to try this out in.

4) Gosh, I'm getting sleepy. I think to keep myself awake, I'll drive against the direction of traffic! I can do this, I played Mario Kart when I was little... Wait, I remember when Larry told me to drive safely. I think I'll just pull over and nap.

5) I think I'll go for a drive with that guy's sister I was looking at funny earlier. Actually, he also told me to drive safely, and getting his sister in this car would be distracting... I'll stay home again tonight.

Probably what I would be doing if no one told me to drive safely.
Still, I understand that people would like me to be safe. And I'm fine with that, if someone personally says, "Brendan, drive safely." But impersonal warnings are just too much for me. The worst case of this I experienced came from the radio. It turns out that some new radios can tell what song is playing on fm radio (!), and if you push an 'Info' button, it will display the song's name and the artist.

So no shit, there I was, driving 90mph down I-87 with two handles of whiskey taped to my hands (half empty already, of course), talking on a cell phone and blindfolded when a good song came on the radio. "Cool," I thought to myself. "This song's got a nasty beat. I wonder who it is." So I pushed the info button. What scrolled across the screen but digital green letters spelling "Are you driving safely? DRIVE SAFELY."

"SHIT!" I exclaimed, ripping the blindfold off of my eyes and tearing the whiskey bottles off of my hands, spilling them out the car, and tossing the cell phone into the  back seat beyond my reach. "I've got to drive safely because the radio told me to!"

That's actually not what happened. I laughed that the radio would be so presumptuous as to accuse me of driving dangerously, and tapped on the accelerator a bit to spite it. Whoever programmed that was one smarmy, sarcastic ass who thought to himself, "whoever wants to know what song is playing while driving should be scolded!" Jerk.

That's it for now. Drive however the heck you want.

1 comment:

  1. If only my mother read your blog. She asked me today if we drove carefully on those logging roads. You know, aren't they dangerous? Aren't you supposed to go like 25 miles an hour? Smiles and nods. Of course Brendan drives carefully.