Monday, June 12, 2006

I'm having a torrid affair...with a Pontiac.

I have just returned from the body shop and Enterprise rent-a-car with my ADORABLE loaner car...a Pontiac Vibe. I must admit, I was not aware of the existence of theVibe. But it 's quite the zippy little hatchback. Boy is this thing peppy! And it only has a hint of that ugly, bug-like grill of the current Pontiac design. And it's red! It reminds me of my old Honda, The Tomato...I dare say I like it better than the Green Monster that is currently getting an overhaul. Don't get me wrong, the Volvo is a very nice car, it's just so big and heavy. This little vibe is much more my style. I wonder if it's available in 4 wheel drive?

Isn't it cool?

As I was riding to the rental place with my Enterprise rep (Steve? God, I'm so horrible with names) we had an interesting conversation about Vermont drivers. He was saying how bad they are. What would make him say that? "They give each other too much room." He is from New York.

See, I actually enjoy the less hurried, give-you-more-room, style of the common Vermont motorist. MUCH better than the GET OUT OF MY WAY OR I WILL DRIVE UP YOUR BUTT style taken by most in southern New England, including my husband. A trait most likely passed down by his father - a wonderful man, but homicidal maniac behind the wheel. (Ok, maybe not homicidal, but I do recall him once shouting, "why don't you get off the road and go have a stroke" to an old lady who was driving too slow in the left hand lane. All within the confines of the vehicle mind you, not to her face). Yes, Road Rage is being handed down to my unborn child. It's in the genes. (To be fair, J has gotten much much better in the past few years . Mostly likely in order to stop my mantra of "you will not drive like this with a kid in the car.")

Anyway, whether safe driving can be construed as "good" or "bad" is a silly debate. I've concluded that the level of neccessary risk is relative to your geography. People who move here become frustrated because they are used to claiming every inch of asphalt as they can, in the hopes of getting 10 feet closer to their destination than they would otherwise. They come from a place where "commuting" is a MAJOR undertaking and a significant portion of the day. But this is Vermont people! If you're in a traffic jam there is a good chance it ends in 100 yards or so. Unlike Northern Virginia, where the roads are just one big parking lot. Where that 10 feet can make or break your abilitly to get home in time for dinner. You need to check your frenzied urban driving at the state line.

I would also like to put forth a theory that the careful approach is needed here because of the utter lack of descent transportation planning. Lanes you are crusing in inexplicably become "Turn only lanes" with little or no warning. There are left hand turn lanes without arrows, where there is never, NEVER a break in oncoming traffic in order to turn. And don't even get me started on the parking lot designs! They're set up like go-cart tracks...

How do I get out of here. Oh, THERE's the exit, um, but what is this median here for? Oh, I guess I'll have to go around. Do Not Enter. Well, where the fuck do I go? Ooooh, over there. Damn, all these other cars are trying to get there too! Please let me in! Can I turn, please! Well, shit, maybe I'll just go hang out at TGI Fridays until this all settles down. Crap. My Ben and Jerrys is melting.

I wonder what percentage of car accidents in Burlington (oh, and WILLISTON, the home of the WORST parking lots ever) take place in parking lots? Worth looking into. But I'll take the frustrating shopping plazas over white-knuckling it, while an SUV tries to give me enima, in Massachusetts.

I am fully aware that my statements about "safe" drivers completely flies in the face of the fact that I got smashed up by some absent-minded geriatric Vermonter last month.

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