Wednesday, May 27, 2009

An open letter...

Dear drivers of Portland, Oregon...

Hello. My name is Russ, and I love this fair city. So very deeply. In fact, I adore the entire state of Oregon, with its stately mountains, breathtaking shorelines, and endless supply of microbreweries. In under one year, my love affair with this city, this state, has blossomed into one of utmost sincerity.

But seriously: If you people don't learn how to drive, I'm gonna start bustin' eco-friendly caps in carbon-emission-reducing-asses.

In my lifetime, I've lived in 5 major cities: Chicago, Milwaukee, Nashville, Los Angeles, and Portland. I've driven through 49 of the 50 United States, through Canada, England, Ireland, and Scotland. Those last two involved driving many single lane dirt roads littered with wandering sheep and barking sheep dogs. When you come face-to-face with another automobile, you have to psychically work out how you'll get around one another. Somehow, it always worked out.

And yet this city's drivers regularly cause an eruption of expletives from my lips the likes of which might offend even a fleet of sailors. Or an Irish grandfather. Trust me on that last one.

I've compiled a quick-sheet list I plan on printing out and delicately placing beneath the windshield wipers of every Subaru and vegetable-fueled Mercedes I see. It reads as follows:

Welcome to your car! Once inside, please make yourself comfortable, and keep the following in mind...


• Stop at posted stopsigns. And look BOTH WAYS before accelerating
• Merge onto freeways by gaining speed on freeway entrance ramps
• Pro-tip: Try matching the numbers on your speedometer with the numbers posted on speed limit signs. It's like a little game!
• Remove your foot from the gas pedal within 10 seconds when traffic lights go from "red" to "green"
• Use your turn signal to alert those behind you that you are going to park/turn/pull over to look at pretty flowers/celebrate this amazing experience we call "life, man!"


• Stop when no stopsign is posted at an intersection. Go! I know you do DO it!
• Slow to a crawl in the middle of a crowded, multi-lane road. No matter how desperately you need to find the REI address/food co-op/pub happy hour
• Wave cars sitting at stopsigns to "go ahead" when you yourself do not have a stopsign. While this is polite, it also falls into the realm of "dangerous" and teeters on the brink of "co-dependance"
• Stay in the left lane on a freeway while on your casual, 40 MPH drive. Actually, this also falls into the "Do" category about matching the little numbers on your dash with the numbers on the signs
• Over the course of 5-8 blocks, slllllooooowwwwwly accelerate to the speed limit. I know you're laid back. 7 of the 12 bumper stickers on your car have already alerted me to this fact
• Right turn from a far left lane? Please don't. Please. Just don't.

Now, let's be careful out there!


fatozzig said...

{snicker} They grow bad drviers in Humboldt County, too. Or maybe they're bad 'cause of what they're growin' . . .

rustyboy said...

That's our theory about Portland:

"High or drunk?" is what we ask one another whilst witnessing horrific driving.

Kate said...

In my experience, bad drivers usually wear a hat. We've been frequently know to shout out "where's your hat?!" when someone without head covering does some bone headed maneuver but usually they already have a hat on. Or they are driving van. Be especially alert for hatted van drivers (shudder).

Dumbfunk said...

On absolutely NO account should you ever rent a car in any Italian city. When someone stops in the centre of the road in order to get out, walk over to a cafe and embrace his friend for a quick chat oblivious to the queue of cars behind I fear you may suffer an aneurysm!