I didnt know if I was ever going to get to work last Friday. In fact, I was pretty sure I was going to die of old age in a couple of different places along the way. My eight-mile commute normally takes about 20 minutes, tops. Friday, thanks to horrendous traffic, a few bad breaks and what appeared to be many, many drivers on mind-altering drugs, it took almost an hour.
I dont like spending that long on the road not when I live so close to work. (And dont even think about giving me that shoulda-used-mass-transit argument because, as Ive noted here before, Ive checked and it would take me three buses and four hours to get from my house to my job.)
But rather than consider all that time wasted, I did use it to formulate some thoughts about whats wrong with the world and what it would take to fix some of the problems. Here are some of the conclusions I reached while cooling my heels in traffic: It should be legal to ram into certain cars, if their drivers are as stupid as they appear to be. For example, if youre going to make a left turn from Barbur Boulevard and cannot get your entire black Dodge Charger into the turning lane, it should be OK to clip the big butt that is sticking out into my lane, knocking off the fender, tail light, etc. In fact, Im considering having a special iron car built from an old train locomotive for just this purpose. Im pretty sure a 10-ton vehicle traveling even the speed limit would pop a muscle car way off a five-lane highway into the bushes. The trouble with Barack Obama is not that hes too liberal, but that hes not liberal enough. All we hear these days (even on public radio) is how he gets such low marks for his handling of the economy in spite of the fact that hes done several thousand percent better than his Republican predecessor. Because he is such a moderate, Obama has foolishly tried for more than four years to forge a consensus with complete idiots, and that is almost point-by-point the definition of insanity (attempting to do the same wrong thing over and over and hopefully get a different result). My suggestion is, we should elect someone far more liberal and if he or she is smart (NOT a prerequisite for leadership), all the better. I still do not understand why gasoline costs so much more here than everywhere else. Ive heard all kinds of theories, but none of them sounded even remotely logical. I have no conclusion for this one because, quite frankly, it seems hopeless. The only thing worse than someone talking on their phone while driving is someone texting while driving. If I had a magic wand, Id just wave it and nobody could do that anymore. And if I miss another green light because of somebody staring into their lap instead of out their front window, I will seriously think about ramming them with my iron car. In a similar vein (regarding regrettable behavior in cars), I wish we would stop losing our young people in perfectly preventable motor vehicle accidents. When I was a teenager, I would not have liked any of these restrictions weve placed on younger drivers (especially since I wrecked every car my parents owned before I moved out), but it almost seems like we need more of them. It should not be winter yet. It isnt that I want more time to strut around with my shirt off (in fact, nobody wants that), but Im not ready for cold, wet weather. I also dont want to move to some other part of the country. Have you seen what happens in virtually every other corner of our nation? It doesnt seem to matter whether were talking about the Midwest, the Deep South or even Hawaii, youll find such wild natural occurrences as volcanoes, floods, fires, tornadoes, drought, cats and dogs living together. Its pandemonium. Maybe thats why we have high gas prices to make up for the lack of killer weather. TV news people need to stop injecting themselves into their stories. I know its no accident that they say, so I checked with officials and this is what they told me, but checking with officials and asking questions is what all news people do, so bragging that they did it is just not cool. Some sports like baseball, golf and bowling are far more fun to play than watch. Im pretty stoked that they lifted the algae bloom warning about swimming in the Willamette River. Of course, Ive never actually swum in that river, but I hate being told I cant do something.
Former managing editor of several community newspapers, including the Woodburn Independent, Lake Oswego Review and the Times papers, Kelly is chief of the central design desk for Community Newspapers and the Portland Tribune, and he contributes a regular column.