The Norman Transcript

July 28, 2013

Frantic Friday

By Elizabeth Cowan
The Norman Transcript

NORMAN — In this neck of the woods, Friday morning traffic is lighter than the unholy and chaotic mess that is the norm during the rest of the week.

However, the afternoon rush hour traffic is the polar opposite — horrendous.

What level of Hades spews forth all those afternoon drivers? The roads are clogged and traffic creeps along at a pace a slug-a-bed snail would love. Where were all these inconsiderate and impatient drivers in the morning?

Does everyone sleep in on Friday? Are we part of the “select daft” group who is not special enough to get the memo? Is that the reason we doggedly drive in on time, eager for the workday to begin?

The only problem with the supposedly “relaxed” Friday morning drive is the remaining lunatic fringe who give themselves permission to drive as their inner-demons dictate. Translation: they are deadly, dangerous and doggone irritating. All the unsavory traits kept in check by the bumper-to-bumper creep to work during the rest of the week.

Do you recall the parable when Jesus tells a man, “It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle ...”? Well, dear hearts, everyone and their dog tries to “thread the needle” on Frantic Friday.

Pickup trucks sporting a myriad of dents will weave from one lane to another and squeeze in between cars with less space available than the proverbial “eye of the needle.” Such antics probably explain the reason for the existence of all those dents peppering the bodies of those same trucks.

Cars are just as guilty. They think nothing of following the lead of the aforementioned pickup trucks, changing lanes even when no opening exists. Reminds me of how my father, the philosopher, drove — oblivious and scary.

Never fear, we have not forgotten those agile and demented motorcyclists. They must either be immortal or have a serious death wish. How else can we explain the way those fearless folk ride their motorcycles?

They balance on the lane division lines, squeezing between vehicles which are mere inches apart. The upside is the thrill breathless drivers experience as they watch such antics.

Added to the traffic mix are the cyclists who feel compelled to ride their skinny bikes during the height of rush hour. Like clockwork, they spill out of their caves at this time of year in greater numbers than usual. Could the Tour de France be the impetus for their annual, en masse appearance on the roads?

With the increasing percentage of drivers who either text or talk while they drive, every cyclist and/or motorcyclist places a bulls-eye on himself or herself. They are now in direct competition with the raccoons, skunks, armadillos and other critters that choose to play roadside Russian Roulette with the combination of speeding vehicles and the highways.

In other words, they are potential road kill. Not a pretty prospect.

Surely becoming road kill is not on anyone’s bucket list.

Believe it or not, in between the heart attack-inducing moments as we watch drivers perform their irrational antics, there are actual moments of levity. The sources for such lighter moments are the ubiquitous bumper stickers.

When you spot the Christian fish symbol on a vehicle, please note that more often than not, the driver is not living up to the precepts the fish symbol represents. Unless, of course, cursing at other drivers, waving the middle digit and not driving “friendly” are listed on a hidden list of commandments to which only they are privy.

Those same fish symbol folks often have a bumper sticker with the words “My child is an honor student at XYZ Elementary School.”

In response, a contrary bumper sticker proudly proclaimed, “My mutt is smarter than your honor student.”

Elizabeth is a freelance writer and author. Her novels “The Dionysus Connection” and “The Marathon Man” are available on amazon.com. Visit her elizabethcowan.com.