Turning lanes

Let’s talk about driving. And parking. Specifically, turning lanes and Corvettes taking up two mall slots.

First, Corvettes and mall parking spaces. That’s the one that burns me up a little, so let’s expunge this little rant like last night’s jalapeño poppers.

Rude ‘Vette

I described the scene above to Karen, who said, “Ooh. He’s just asking for it.”

It needs no further qualification. It is anything that falls into the category of things he–and you know it’s a “he”–didn’t want to happen to his Precious Ride, so he took more spaces than God granted him in this great country. IT DOESN’T MATTER TO ME THAT THE LOT IS LARGELY EMPTY. That’s not the point, Dear Reader. The point is justice. The point is fairness. The point is that he was the camper in 8th grade who had the last cup of “bug juice” at the cabin table during lunch and didn’t abide by the “you kill it, you fill it”

Manspreader to left; hapless manspreading victim to right.

rule, which every kid on Planet Earth knows is right and good and beautiful. This is kind of like manspreading on the NYC subway, except that I wouldn’t personally tangle with most manspreaders. They manspread because they know no one’s going to mess with them. But a Corvette parked like this is “asking for it.”

Now, on to the kinder side of driving.

The turning lane.

The turning lane is a wonder of ex-urban driving, which practically doesn’t even acknowledge lanes. Having got my license at 17 in New York City and as a former Uber driver, I can tell you that driving there is like a video game: Competitive…leveling up…finding the “easter eggs”…always multiplayer and never campaign mode. The turning lane here changes things. Softens things. Makes life pleasant. Creates smiles. Reduces manspreading.

Imagine you’re coming out of the Take It Easy RV Resort (where Karen’s paternal grandmother once lived) on Junction Highway. You want to go to Hometown Crafts, which is really just a few hops and a skip north. Only about 75 yards, in fact. BUT…you’ve got some serious traffic between those two places. Well, you could drive in the breakdown lane going the wrong way. But that would not be Driving Friendly, as they do in Texas. (They really do. If you pull onto the shoulder on a highway to let a faster car pass, they wave out the back window or, at night, tap the breaks a few times to acknowledge your thoughtfulness.) No, you don’t drive in the breakdown lane the wrong way. That would be wrong. That way is for Corvettes. That’s the way of Darkness.

What you do instead is pull out into the Turning Lane.

Now, there is actually a raging debate about the proper use and the misuse of this Gift From God which is the Turning Lane. Even the Kerrville Daily Times has covered this. It’s a thing.

But in any case, let’s say you’re a sweet Kilgore grandmother, and you’re simply going from your RV to Hometown Crafts to get, say, some fake ferns to decorate the front porch. I mean, right? Not a big deal. You pull gently out into the turn lane–all the Super Duty trucks whizzing to and fro with their dual exhaust pipes the diameter of large shop vacs–and sally forth the 75 yards north. Then waiting for the red ‘Vette and the three Dodge Chargers to pass, you make a gentle left…a slight swing…a smooth curving 90-degree arc like a graceful figure skater of old, the kind we don’t see anymore on TV–these days we see them flipping three or four times so fast our heads spin and give us whiplash and they’re all probably using those steroids and such–no, I’m talking about a gentle turn, a smooth graceful arc, DAMNED be the dual exhaust on those big ol’ white Super Duty Ford trucks a-rumbling down Junction Highway–and you gracefully turn into Hometown Crafts to get your fern. You are smiling. Others who pass you in the parking lot are smiling. They have their ferns. You almost have your fern.

All because of the Turning Lane.

And that is why Turning Lanes are good and Corvettes are bad.


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