Mid-Week Thoughts

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Drivers (a rant)

Bumper-to-bumper traffic is the grist of everyday life. Getting cut off in traffic by whoever is almost inevitable and so is my less than charitable reaction. Having driven in Asia, some of my most florid invective is thrown out, accusing a driver as being from Asia — or a blue-hair from Florida (retired, likely from NY, NY). The driving patterns are similar. I screamed at this guy, “Are you from Shanghai?” Then I saw his license plate. “Of course you are.”

Quite possibly.

In Tijuana, BC, Mexico, the driving patterns are more aggressive than they are in Asia. In Mexico, firearms are prohibited, which is why I’ve been shot at more there in Mexico than almost anywhere outside of a declared (sorta) and official war zone. Sometimes just a potshot at the car I’m in because of traffic, or because they can. It’s Mexico. If you’re driving in Mexico, best drive a total beater. They won’t think less of you and when you’re scraped in traffic you won’t care – remember the old ‘destruction derbies’? You take my point.

Asians don’t shoot in traffic in Asia. They just drive like Thais or Koreans or Chinese (except for Hong Kong where they drive very politely). I was always weirded out by driving from Laos (right side of the road) to Thailand (left side of the road) – yes like crossing from Hong Kong to the People’s Republic of China. When you do that all of the time, it must cause something to snap.

Retired blue haired ladies from New York City who can’t see over the steering wheel don’t shoot at you either, and they only know if they’ve hit something when their neighbor points out the dents, hair and blood in the grill, etc. after they get home.

Driving in the mountains, you need to watch out for deer and elk. Yes, I have a “Roo Bar” on the front of my Toyota FJ and it will work defensively against deer, but I don’t want to try it out on a 1,500 lbs elk.

The Vegas Shooting

I have a friend of long standing (a nurse) who was at the concert at the Mandalay Bay with her husband when the shooting started. A guy took a round right through his melon (head) in front of her, and she’s still distraught. While regrettable, she works in an ER and sees messed up people come in all of the time. She has accused me of being ‘dead inside’ because I suggested that she move on. Bad things happen. It’s no worse than the traffic accident (and shooting) victims that she sees in the normal course of business.

The difference, of course, is that this happened in an uncontrolled environment and not in the relative security of an ER. Will she get past it in time? Maybe not.

32 thoughts on “Mid-Week Thoughts

  1. LL,

    You need to (or maybe not) spend more time in South Florida. Canadians, four lane road, left hand turn from right hand most lane no signal. Why not. Check plate, Quebec

  2. LL,
    Mexico, once in Oaxaca, major intersection, part of Pan-American Highway. Three lanes, at stop light, how many car in front row? 5 unless six will fit.

  3. Have wondered who fills up the car with gas for those tiny blue hairs that can barely walk much less see. Do the just pull up to the pump and hang til someone comes to check on them…
    Sorry about your nurse friend, that is a tough one. Remember, her training was much different than yours. The Cowman knew a talented surgeon that was useless in a field situation.

  4. LL,

    Catching up to the crowd, a few thought on your previous posts.

    FBI – Culture comes from the top down. The top is corrupt, everyone's corrupt.

    LaDavid Johnson Affair. The wife, the Mother and the ten pound sack in the five pound hat (sorry for mixed metaphor) all group groped into politicizing the call from the President. Trump is not mellifluous cloud of confusion when it comes to speech (unlike Barry "the clown" Soetero). The trio of disrespect have the soldier rolling over in his grave with the way they are acting. Some of it I am sure is the me too can be a star on day time TV attitude once congresscum Wilson became a hit.

    But when is someone going to tell Freddie Wilson that Halloween is the 31st of October and lasts only one day?

  5. I'm not a conspiracy theorist but it seems a bit strange that our totally honest media has gone silent on the Mandalay shooting. And aren't covering Uranium One.

  6. Here in the DFW area, many drive with complete abandon. Slicing across four lanes of freeway traffic to make an exit at the last second is routine. I don't think I have ever seen so many freeway accidents where a least one vehicle came to a stop on it's roof.

    I may have mentioned I was stationed in West Germany in the mid '70's. I was in a maintenance company (small arms repair shop) and we would routinely travel to customer units to perform our mission in one of these…


    …which I became quite comfortable driving in German traffic. To put it mildly, the attitude of the average German driver towards American military vehicles is best described as 'hostile'.

    When I returned to CONUS, I was living at my dad's place in the Oakland CA hills, and once again driving my much missed 1970 BMW 2002. It literally felt like traffic was moving in slow motion. It was about three months before anyone would ride with me.

    I hope your friend can defeat her demons. I submit that you are not bad but just a GUY. Your friend is obviously a decent, caring GAL. I don't mean to make light of what she is dealing with, but this guy make his point well…


  7. That's what I was thinking. Having someone come in after the fact is much different than the sudden shock of it happening right in front of you. And then there's the splatter? And being afraid for your own life and those around you.
    PTSD. I hope she does recover.

  8. I forgot about people from Quebec…They should have been included in my rant. How could I have overlooked that source or road rage?

  9. If you can scrape (literally) more cars together in Mexico, it works. Thus the need for a beater when driving down there. R/V mirrors don't last long.

  10. Brig – there are a lot of full service stations in their realms.

    LindaG – she's a mess these days and she runs a busy ER. At the time they didn't know how many shooters, were they were, etc. There was some profound panic. There were echoes between the hotels, etc. She and her husband ended up in a hotel room with other traumatized people for a few hours, nobody spoke. Everyone waited for the other shoe to drop.

  11. My short answer is, "yeah". That's also the long answer. I just came back from the compound in the mountains where there is no TV news cycle. I'm desperate to return.

    There's a lot about the world that you can't un-see. There are a lot of clowns (Barry the Moron comes to mind) who entertain the weak minded – but I'm not entertained.

  12. The negro lady with the bad wig and the goofy cowboy hats is dominating CNN and MSNBC in the center ring of the three-ring circus.

    That's all you should be concerned with.

    She calls herself a rock star. Maybe she'll run for president?

  13. I live in a rural area and have had collisions with deer on several occasions. They can do some real damage. I never hit anything bigger though 35 years ago I had a moose trot out in front of me on US 2 in Montana. Only 30 year old reflexes saved the pickup. Those things are HUGE!

  14. I don't mind driving in a hostile environment. Doing it Germany in a 2.5-Ton 6×6 would be even more fun. I get along with Germans and speak the language passably, so it would feel weird to have them angry with me. But in a 6×6, surrounded by MbZ, the road is yours…

    I'm not bad. It's just that I've been shot at a lot and I've had friends die. It's not that unusual for me. I'd be listening for the shots and would try to make my way to the shooter. In that environment in Vegas with the massive response, they'd have likely capped me.

  15. A moose in water doesn't look big. A moose out of water looks like a sky scraper. You DEFINITELY wouldn't want to hit one.

  16. A week or so ago somebody coming down Rist Canyon Road (the road we're on here) clobbered a deer. He was driving a Jeep Grand Cherokee like mine, and it was a small deer.

    Did a pretty good number on his Jeep, and the Sheriff had to dispatch the deer.

  17. Asian drivers. Sometimes stereotypes exist for a reason. Actually many stereotypes exist for a reason, but we're not allowed to think that. Anyhoo, I grew up in an upper-Midwest college town. The most dreaded thing was wives of Asian (and South Asian) grad students behind the wheel of some two+ ton piece of Detroit iron, in the winter. (This was during the shameful Carter years when evil gas guzzlers could be bought used for a few hundred bucks; i.e. within reach of even impecunious international grad students.)

    The clue was when at a stoplight you'd see an apparently empty car ahead of you. Then you'd see a pair of tiny hands at 10 and 2 (if you were lucky, sometimes it was both hands at 12-o'clock in a death grip). No head visible as it was fully obscured by the head rest. This was the clue to give the car ahead PLENTY of room. Let's see: 1) brand-new driver who probably never drove back home; 2) driver can barely see over dashboard; 3) driver likely never before saw snow in her life. What could possibly go wrong? The only saving grace was that most of these ladies never went above 25 mph, so at least the crashes were slo-mo crashes.

    There was a weird-ish deer fatality when I was in high school. The mother of a classmate hit a deer on the freeway. Deer somehow slid feet-first up the hood but was not killed. Its legs went into the passenger compartment, and mom was kicked to death by the frantic deer. It was a closed-casket funeral.

    > accused me of being 'dead inside'
    Good luck to your friend, I hope she learns to deal with her trauma. Personally the (medical) thing that messes me up is doing futile, and IMO cruel, things like coding some 90-yo terminal cancer patient for an hour because some family member with unresolved issues insists that he be full code. So the poor old guy dies in pain and terror, with broken ribs, messed up attempts at central venous catheter insertions, and a hasty intubation, rather than peacefully with some dignity. THAT stuff haunts me and calls for a little too much alcohol for nights afterward.

  18. Bad for the deer, but it can be fatal for the driver. I had a friend who hit a deer and the deer came through the windshield and nearly kicked him to death.

  19. To die alone, uncomforted, or to die in that sort of situation is so much more difficult than a quick high velocity rifle bullet through the head (the golden bee-bee). We as a people are intolerably cruel to our old folks. And then we're the old folks and karma (which is a bitch) kicks in.

  20. I would thing the ER Nurse will understand the difference in being in a controlled environment and seeing first hand a mans head explode in front of her. That would be shocking to anyone not used to combat. Maybe it will make her a little more compassionate to those coming in the ER with bullet holes. I hope so.

  21. She may end up retiring. She's old enough to do that – I think? At least some sort of deferred retirement or possibly a position outside of an ER. Her first husband was a police officer, not that it changes anything. Just that she's accustomed to lurid and graphic violence, at least in story form. The current husband is a feather merchant of some sort.

  22. I will veto any move to have her made an honorary Field Marshall in the DLC (even though she has a hat already).

  23. Re the nurse, that isn't the first time I've heard that, or seen it. Had one work a scene with us once, and she was freaking out at the procedures we used in extraction.

  24. It’s a good job that blue haired ladies from NYC don’t drive Toyota FJ’s with “Too Bars” isn’t it? Maybe they should be let lose in Asia.

    I would imagine that dealing with a head trauma in the ER as opposed to dealing with it at a country music festival is very different because it’s unexpected. She is dealing with shock. Being best friend to a nurse I can assure you that they get to witness some rather dreadful things that cannot be repeated on this family blog despite my yearning to do so ;)

    You’re not dead inside, LL, you are the life giving leader of the pack. End of.

  25. Medical people often have difficulties coping with the reality of combat and the "lack of safety" that is inherent with everything you do. I've seen them lose it when civilians get between ordnance and the kinetic effect it has. You can lead people in combat but nothing is certain and the whole risk management thing goes out the window with the first shot.

  26. "Roo bars as in Kangaroo" work well with deer. I think that they'd work equally well with people, thus blue haired ladies need to be kept a long way away from them.

    ER personnel are dealing with others in a controlled environment where they can exercise control, no matter how grizzly the scene, as you suggest. Having people drop around them is not their thing. Really it's nobody's thing, but if you've been trained to run to the sound of the guns rather than away, your reaction is different.

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