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Deliberate Diversions During Driving

October 28th, 2010 by dk

I’ve been in southern California all week getting my annual traffic supplement, and it has certainly shaped this fifth Friday’s footnotes, follow-ups, and far-flung fripperies:
• Bumper-to-bumper traffic is the only close community where you can choose and continually change your neighbors.
• I wonder how often depression is simply sleep deprivation, worsened by anxiety caused by self-medicating caffeine supplements.
• Former Eugene City Manager Dennis Taylor corrected a detail from last week’s column. He has retired to Montana, not Wyoming. He insists there is a difference.
• Speaking of roads designed to accommodate an immediate concern, 18th Avenue was straight between Bailey Hill Road and Chambers from 1910 until at least 1936. The northward “bulge” showed up on the 1941 map, which is also about the time the City View Park development was being built near what is now Hawkins Lane.
• I think of cars as jet packs with luggage containers. Next time you careen from I-5 north to Randy Papé Beltline west, think about why it’s called a “flyover.”
• Now that the University of Oregon Ducks are rated No. 1 in football for the first time in their history, I hope others will bring their ambition to Eugene and grow it here. Too often I’ve seen local ambition drained or lured to Portland.
• I’ve seen the future for traffic enforcement. More and more intersections in California have cameras programmed to automatically ticket any car running a red light. In Chicago, motorists use automatic EZ-Pay for bypassing toll booths, but there’s talk of ticketing cars that travel between toll booths in less time than the speed limit allows. It may sound Soviet, but it’s what you get when you demand more efficiency than is humanly (or humanely) possible.
• I’m pro-stereotype but anti-bigotry. Recognizing patterns among people is healthy and appropriate, so long as we don’t obligate that next person to conform to the pattern.
• Nobody’s favorite part of Show & Tell was Tell.
• Don’t look now, but wash cloths are losing ground to scrubbies, loufas and puffs. At the same time, body washes are replacing bar soap at an alarming rate.
• Do pillows wear out? How will I know when?
• This Saturday Auburn, the only football team currently ahead of the Ducks in the BCS rankings, faces Mississippi. If former UO quarterback Jeremiah Masoli leads Ole Miss to an upset victory, can we let bygones be bygones?
• When are bygones anything other than bygones?
• We still say “redial” but we haven’t dialed since 1985.
• Note to Rep. Peter DeFazio, assuming he remains chair of the Highways and Transit Subcommittee: If one-third of the money designated for federal highway improvements was invested in fast, free, universal wi-fi access, I’ll bet people would drive less, slowing the projected traffic increases by at least 33 percent. How about testing it here as a pilot program?
• Isn’t “marijuana initiative” an oxymoron?
• I’m not old. It’s just that I was born a long time ago.
• Could the smarties who gave us seedless watermelons now get to work on thornless roses? At least the seeds were good for spitting.
• Remember the first time you had orange pekoe tea and your disappointment that it didn’t taste much like an orange?
• In my next life, I want to be a street sweeper, so I can look behind me and immediately see the good I’ve done.
• I wonder why more college students don’t return their empty beer bottles. Parents may accept some drunkenness, but those spendthrift habits are an outright embarrassment.
• Is Oregon women’s basketball coach Paul Westhead also consulting the men’s football team? Their hurry-up offense looks more like Westhead’s run-and-gun program than anything ever seen on the gridiron.
• “Sleeve” is just fun to say.
• I couldn’t help but notice that the painted bicyclist symbol on Eugene pavement is now sporting a helmet.
• If flossing could be done with one hand, most of us would do it at least twice as much.
• Who decided yellow pads should be yellow?
• Do Oregonians reliably go against the flow, just to avoid traffic? Maybe that also explains why salmon swim upstream to spawn. It cuts the commuting stress.
Don Kahle ( writes a weekly column for The Register-Guard and blogs.

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