On the lighter side of the Nonahood, this is a column about the humorous realities of life in Central Florida. We must choose to laugh and sweat rather than cry and sweat.
Traffic. That horrid beast of a word, traffic. I wouldn’t usually write about this despicable topic, save for the fact that humor can be squeezed from even the most dreadful of circumstances.
Now, perhaps in New Hampshire, people get stuck in traffic and think, Oh, I’ll just turn on some talk radio and enjoy the fresh fall colors all around me. They probably even whistle. I hate.
We don’t whistle. Not wanting to slam into whatever’s in front of us, we’re too busy straining to see through pollen-glazed windshields that act as prisms for the direct, laser-like beams of the Florida sun, creating an appropriation of what arriving at heaven’s gates might look like. Beautiful, yes. Painful, absolutely. We soldier on, as the solar rays bore into our retinas, so as to not find out if heaven is for real.
We endure traffic, this endless sequence of “stop, go, and curse … stop, go, and curse, and … stop, go, and curse really badly.” During this migraine-inducing experience, we do not forget to offer supplications to the god of air conditioning. For, if he leaves us, we die.
When I’m stop-go-cursing, I confess I have thoughts. Unseemly thoughts. Unbecoming thoughts. Roguishly wicked thoughts. When someone cuts me off, doesn’t use his blinker, and leaves me to quaff his fumes, I have not the skill to express with words what I wish upon that individual.
Then there’s the road work. When, oh when, will the roads be repaired so we can get back to the business of what I perhaps vainly believe roads are for – driving. I’m convinced that here in Florida, roads are viewed as a place to grab your favorite neon jacket, don a cool-looking helmet, and leer at cars.
I feel like such a dweeb driving by these muscle-bound roadworkers to my cubicle. So desperate is my desire to be part of their crew, I’ve tried the two-finger steering wheel salute and the never-fail, manly chin-nod. They just ignore me and get back to their work: leaning on shovels, peering out at the horizon, and spitting.
In traffic, I envy motorcyclists who turn traffic into a game of dodge-car. They lithely flow by us like water snakes around a bunch of impotent turtles jammed into a log. Occasionally, I wish one of us turtles would stick out his flipper at an opportune time, catching a snake by surprise. Said turtle would definitely go to jail, but I could see all the other turtles hooting and clapping, if they could clap or hoot.
There’s much to complain about, but perhaps we could see our particular brand of Floridian traffic as an opportunity. Yes, go ahead and cut those toenails you promised your spouse you’d cut before the end of the week. Yes, listen to your child as he mumbles on about, um, whatever he’s mumbling about. Yes, turn on some tunes, and then try to find tunes, then hope for any tune, and then turn off the tunes.
If you ever get home, which is no guarantee, observe how your sidewalk is relatively unencumbered. When I get out of my car, I like to make motorcycle noises and leer. And when I get to my front door, I open it quietly so I can zip to the bathroom. I occasionally get blocked, but I come prepared. My traffic training has equipped me to face even this circumstance. I simply use what I slipped on before my five-mile, four-hour commute home – my adult diaper.
Philip writes for Cru, a nonprofit organization located on Moss Park Road, close enough to the 7-Eleven off of Narcoossee to justify ditching work for a Slurpee. While he thinks he’s funny, he wisely never verbalizes his musings to his two ever-increasingly hostile pre-teens. His brain doesn’t seem to do the heavy lifting in the writing process – his sweaty fingers do. So, if you laugh, snort, chortle or guffaw, they deserve the credit … both of them.