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last---past---next---now
�2006 Candor Communications


2004-03-21 - 5:52 a.m.

I am in traffic school


Jeff Altman is giving the course, or at least hosting the show... first, we are warned not to cheat... they don't say you can't write in your diary while taking the course... just don't cheat... Jeff says we can take a break whenever we like... we can even call a live instructor 24 hours a day if more help is needed... all for $40 at our local Blockbuster... I'll be taking the test online whenever Jeff tells me to... isn't the internet amazing?...

I probably should have done this while my roommates were asleep... Rasputin just woke up as I was starting the course... hopefully they'll not distract me too much (he says as he sits here rambling in his diary)... ok, pay attention... more than 40,000 people die in cars each year... that's the third leading cause of death in this country... more than 3 million are injured (does that include the injuries caused by ambulance chasing lawyers?)... car accidents cost $150 billion dollars each year... wow, I'm learning aren't I?...

let's see what else we can learn... the two leading causes are drugs and alcohol and speeding... speeding causes one fourth of all injuries... 55mph speed limit saves lives... haven't most states gone back to 65 and 70mph speed limits?... now the instructor is talking about how much insurance is mandatory... the Florida no-fault law has special madatory insurance rules that appear less than other states... no-fault insurance... I suppose the definition of accident means it's not someone's fault, but no-fault insurance is kind of unfair to the owner of a parked car that is hit by someone... I mean, some drunk hits you car in your driveway while you're asleep and your insurance goes up... that's no-fault insurance...

not the instructor is talking about points... 12 points in a year and say bye bye to your license... I'm not sure how many points I've got, but I am trying to avoid getting three today by taking this traffic school... shhhh, I'm supposed to be paying attention... I'm watching someone exhibiting immature behavior... emotional extremes increase the time it takes to react, reduces attention span, and causes accidents... so grow up behind the wheel, drivers... and put those guns away...

the instructor says the driving environment is hostile... we're supposed to scan, concentrate, organize, plan, and execute... attitude is the catalyst that makes the good driver... stay alert... never be taken by surprise... be prepared... make a constant stream of life and death decisions... know and obey the rules of the road...

routines like driving to and from work can dull the senses so be more careful on routine trips... don't drive when you're sleepy... get enough sleep... eat right... don't work too hard... make sure your car is not more comfortable than your bed... especially on long trips... changes radio stations... roll windows down... don't stare at the white lines... don't drive if you're too sick... read warning labels on medications... drink plenty of fluids... don't call the doctor on your cell phone while driving, even if it is morning...

remember, if you are old, you're slower... and if you smoke, you can have retinal damage... get your eyes check more often... remember Cheech & Chong... don't blare your radio... de-stress yourself... take an extended vacation... don't drive longer than 6-8 hours at a time... take breaks... plan your trips... how long will this list go on?...

this is a four hour course, they say... how do people stay awake for this?... Jeff Altman needs to tell more jokes... hey, right on time, Jeff is back... to introduce traffic laws and regulations...

this is not a good way for someone with ADD to take traffic school...

this is a way for someone who doesn't have ADD to get it...

stop before the stop sign or crosswalk... no rolling stops... if you stop behind other stopped vehicles, you have to stop again when you get to the stop sign or light... always leave two seconds for stopping... and don't try to beat a train to it's crossing... rushing, complacency, and ignorance of laws can kill you... 629 people die in train-car accidents each year... 26% of railroad collisions are people who drive into the sides of trains... some drivers are just ignorant, period...

now we're looking at traffic signs... wow, they're all so color coded and sorted by shapes... so are the lines on the road... and then there are intersection protocols... the driver to the left yields to the driver on the right at four way stops when arriving simultaneously, otherwise it's the first one who stopped who has the right of way... yeah, courtesy... police officers directing traffic override all other traffic devices and signs... drivers on unpaved roads must always yield to drivers on paved roads... drivers on single lane roads must yield to drivers on two or three lane roads... drivers must always yield to pedestrians, even if they are jay walking...

Hulk Hogan just started screaming at us... I suppose he was inserted to wake us up... he yields to no man, but always yields to emergency vehicles and is no match for 3000 pound vehicles... he said so... it's a violation to follow within 500 feet of an emergency vehicles... stay in your vehicle when stopped by an officer... don't make any sudden movements and keep your hands in plain sight... and put those guns away...

well, we've been at this an hour and I don't know about you, but I'm a better driver... I don't know if I can stand three more hours of this, but I am a better driver...

we're up to bad weather... reduce speed in bad weather... don't drive in hurricanes or tornados... don't use high beams in fog, it reduces visibility even further... don't drive if you can not see the roadway... stay off bridges in very high winds... double safe space in the rain... beware of hydroplaning (it is not a new Olympic event)... beware of super hydroplaning... that's when rain comes infrequently and there's more oil and dirt stuck to the road... don't drive through large bodies of standing water... make sure the water sits down before you drive through it... and don't try to surf in a car...

don't hit animals... especially human animals...

I am starting to nod off... isn't it time to take the test yet?... yes, we must go online and take a test (which I thought was supposed to be every hour) and then score 80% and they mail us a certificate of completion... now Jeff Altman is talking about the law of inertia... Newton would be proud, Jeff...

I'm gonna stand up and walk around...

ok, I wander around a bit... ate a couple of TastyKakes, watched a couple of squirrels chasing each other up and down the tree outside the window, and came back more awake... this course is extremely repetitive... and I am wondering if I missed Jeff Altman telling me to pause and take the test... there should be a little number in the corner for each segment... I mean, I am paying attention (except for that brief nodding off)...

I think this page might be pulled up a lot for anyone searching for Jeff Altman... no offense, Jeff, but I think they should have gotten Robin Williams to read the course instructor part of this... and then have segments read by guest actors... Charlton Heston... Cheech and Chong... Robert Dinero and Al Pachino... Steve Martin... Hans and Frans (this course needs some pumping up)... Seinfeld's Kramer... Doc Brown from Back to the Future... beautiful women might help too... and beautiful men... and whatever happened to the horrible crashes that used to be part of these courses?...

oh great... I just called the telephone instructor (who sounded like I might have woken her up) and she informed me that I am almost at the end of section two on the DVD and should stop and take the test for section 1... so I did... now I have to wait an hour and ten minutes before I can take the test for section two... that sucks... we get to spend an extra hour in traffic school cuz I apparently nodded off for the seven sections that Jeff Altman popped on the screen to tell us to take the dang test for section one... I just scanned back and it's not even seven seconds... as monotonous and repetitive as this course is, they should have some sort of loud sound or different music or something, a bell, an alarm clock, something to clearly identify when to pause and take the test... this could go on all day at this rate...

anyway, we got five out of five right on the first section... now we're watching section two... again... it's a mini-physics lesson... the squirrels outside are more interesting... heck, it's more interesting watching the grass grow... I may need to go get some caffeine...

ok, back to the instructor and the advice... be a safe driver... SCOPE... scan... concentrate... oh, something... plan... execute... break down the known risks... keep a safe distance... watch out for the other guy... avoid driving along side others... watch out for car doors, bicycles, pedestrians... remember the two second following rule... drive with a mature attitude... watch out for tailgaters... be alert... trust no one... always anticipate the worst (like you might have to sit through traffic school)...

and nod off...

and have to watch it again...

zzzzzzz....

ok, I woke in time to take the test for part two and scored five out of five... and now, we're watching part three... heavy handed anti-drunk driving stuff... I don't drink alcohol anymore (well, it's not a rule, but it's been years and I have no interest in it)... but I'm sitting through the death statistics and the tear-jerking personal stories... they sang Edelweis at the funeral of Peggy Haley, a victim of a drunk driver... Michelle Haley cried while explaining how much her mother was missed after her mother was killed by a drunk driver three weeks before her wedding... the whole family were vieotaped giving teary testimonials... and then they show David something, the drunk driver, body broken and living for three years in prison... does anybody really think any drinker is going to stop going out to bars because they watched this?...

Rasputin woke and is about to cook... maybe he'll clean something... I think he'll have to, since most everything he used last weekend to cook his bacon and eggs is still sitting on the counters dirty... not to mention all the bowls with coagulating milk Precious uses each morning for cereal... the garbage is overflowing again even though two bags went out yesterday... four or more Pepsi bottles a day and fast food containers fill a garbage bag rather quickly... slowly but surely, I think they may learn... but people do not change their habits easily... maybe there should be a cleaning school video for messy roommates...

nothing a maid wouldn't solve...

anyway, back to traffic school... a few guest showed up... Phil Donahue hosted the morbid docu-drama about the Haley family... they still needed a whole lot more life... less Little House on the Prairie and Christian Children's Fund more Cheers and rock and roll... section three ends and I take the test and suddenly I find myself told to take section four, the final exam, but there's no part four of the video... anyway, I take it, score 96% overall, pass, and will be receiving my certificate in 5 to 15 days... then I take it to the court and poof, no points on the license...

all for going a few miles over the speed limit on the way home from work (wrong place, wrong time, isn't that usually the case)... hooray for technology...

all in all, traffic school probably would have been more interesting if I wasn't nodding off so much, but it was infinitely more enjoyable knowing I was boring the crap out of all of you here, so I thank you for being the friends you are, for putting up with my selfish indulgences and narcissistic babbling and whining pathos and silly human games I play on myself so maybe I'll fit in a little more and get some imaginary impression that I'm not as lonely as I feel... ah, awareness, it's such a fickle experience... and so relative when shared in words...

as someone used to say, take care of yourselves out there...






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