Ah, our love affair with our cars. In the past, Americans spent hours polishing, tuning, cruising and bragging about their cars. Now, it seems we just use then to get from point A to point B.
There was a time when we could identify the make, year and model of every car that passed by. No one mistook a Cadillac for an Edsel, or a Chrysler for a Ford. Now, they all look so similar, most can’t tell a Kia from a Buick, or a Mazda from a Chevy. Not only that, majestic brands like Mercury, Oldsmobile, Pontiac and Plymouth aren’t even made any more. Progress sure is sad sometimes.
But the cars we do have now are more efficient, more comfortable and far more safe and reliable.
So why do we get so angry, even upset, when we drive down the freeway?
First reason: Road rage. A good friend was cussed at and cut off recently by a big highway bully. The bully was dumb enough to be driving his company truck with his or his bosses name blazed on the door. So, of course, neither he nor I will ever do business with them!
I was a bit luckier: Recently, a fellow in a pickup gave me a nice wave when he roared passed me on the right shoulder. It was sad that he had only one finger on his left hand. Guess he lost his other four fingers – probably working on his monster truck – but nice of him to salute me, anyway
We all have our pet peeves. I certainly have mine. I can handle the folks who don’t wait their turn at four-way stops. I don’t even get upset by folks who don’t know why their cars have turn signals, or how they work. But it drives me nuts when a guy in a beat-up old Datsun pulls within 100 yards of me at a stoplight with his mega-watt speakers blasting rap noise at about 10,000 decibels. I know his avowed purpose is to shatter the windows of my car. If there isn’t one, our fine city should have a noise ordinance that our men in blue could use to site these clowns.
Speaking of our Morgan Hill Police Department, those folks do a great job in our wonderful city.
A few weeks ago, Lady M and I were treated to a tour of the police department building. It is incredible. The communications center is very high-tech. And the vehicles used to patrol our streets and chase the bad guys are state-of-the-art. The license plate identification system, provided to our city police by the Community Law Enforcement Foundation, is so cool. It’s a mind blower. Our gratitude to the Foundation for this latest addition and for all of the other contributions they have made to the police department.
I wish I could say everything is perfect on Morgan Hill streets. True, they are getting better. But a few are in pretty sad shape. Traffic lights are not always synchronized. And parking is allowed and disallowed in some strange places.
A traffic light example is at Hale and Llagas avenues. The left-turn signals go on frequently when there are no cars waiting to turn. Then, when there are cars waiting to turn, the left-turn light is mysteriously not working. Also, lights change from red to green when there are no cars waiting. Why is that?
An example of a parking problem is at the corner of Hale and Main avenues. When the Little Leaguers are playing, two pickups are always parked in the right-turn lane from west-bound Main onto Hale Avenue. Traffic backs up for blocks. How about making that short stretch a no-parking zone? Sure would relieve congestion.
Well, I started talking about our love affair with our cars. Lady M is certain that I have entered my second childhood. I assure her that it’s more like my 14th or 15th. But I just bought a 55-year-old Chevy. And no, I don’t know why except I always wanted one.
My son and a few good friends said, “Good for you.” Some of my other children and a few of my ex-friends said, “What, are you nuts?”
Hopefully, you’ll get to see my new “toy” in next year’s Fourth-of-July parade. ’Till then, it’ll be my little secret.
Henry “Hank” Miller is a retired rocket scientist, he has an interest in classic automobiles, good conversation, martinis and community affairs. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org