The Missus and I see a goodly number of idiots on Atlanta’s highways in the course of our meanderings about town.
First off, let me state right up front that every city is riddled with Idiot Drivers: Atlanta possesses no monopoly. In fact, despite the coarsening of society over the past twenty-five years, Atlanta still has a noticeable minority of polite motorists - the kind of people who, say, will actually make room for you to accelerate onto the freeway. It is, alas, a shrinking minority.
Other cities have their own driving personalities. New York? Fuhgeddaboudit. Aggression is the order of the day... and as soon as you cross the rivers that separate Manhattan from the other boroughs, that aggression steps up to a whole new plateau. Yet Manhattan is downright sedate compared to Mexico City, Paris, or Rome.
South Florida is riddled with Elder Drivers, folks with declining sensory and motor capacities who, in many cases, shouldn’t even be walking, much less driving. Put a metric buttload of ’em on I-95 at 70 MPH and your nerves will get so jacked up as you drive along with ’em that your asshole will pucker up tight enough to pull five pounds of cotton batting out of your front seat. Yipe!
We’ve dealt with the moron tailgaters, the ones who will get up so close behind you - at 75 MPH, no less - that you can’t even see their front bumpers. Or the ones that decide, at the last possible second, that they need to get off the freeway NOW, despite the fact that they’re in the far left lane and there are four crowded lanes of traffic to cut across in 1/16 mile.
I’m always astonished at the people who blithely ride along in the front passenger seat with their legs propped up against the dashboard, or even hanging out the window. Comfy? Sure... unless the airbag goes off, in which case that leg is going to be reduced to several pounds of hamburger and bone shards.
But something we saw this afternoon takes the Stupidity-Cake.
As we cruised eastward along I-20, headed toward the Mistress of Sarcasm’s place, we saw a sedan in the lane next to us, packed with a full complement of passengers and piled with luggage. That in itself was unexceptional... except that the package shelf - that flat area behind the rear seat - was heaped with detritus.
Now, it’s never a good idea to store objects of any sort on that package shelf. There have been numerous fatalities caused when even small, lightweight items are suddenly launched forward into the heads of passengers during collisions. Even something as innocuous as a box of tissues can become a deadly missile in the event of a Sudden Deceleration.
But these geniuses had a whole watermelon parked on that shelf.
One good, hard, abrupt braking maneuver - or, even better, a good old-fashioned wreck - and suddenly that watermelon comes flying forward with the force of a cannon shot. Gallagher would be appalled at the results: not all of the red pulp splashed throughout the car’s interior would be from the watermelon...