When hubby and I moved to the country, it never occurred to me my drive to work would include all the joys of rush hour traffic enjoyed by drivers in big cities.

Nor did I expect to deal with the challenges of being trapped behind couples "rushing" to the Dairy Queen for breakfast at the heady speed of 30 miles per hour in a 60 mph zone.

Adding to my fun was the start of extensive road construction on the highway I used, funneling traffic into one or two lanes and lengthening my drive time.

A few weeks after the road was completed, a crew was diligently digging a hole in the pristine concrete. Do you suppose someone had accidentally left a jackhammer or perhaps a bulldozer under the new highway?

Rush hour traffic is, of course, the spawning ground for road rage, accidents and sundry other peculiar behavior. And the only rushing going on is the volcanic rise of our blood pressure.

But in spite of the irritation factor, rush hour can also be the source of free entertainment. Comedy. Tragedy. Insanity. Stupidity. It's all there for us to watch.

I don't know why, but people behave as though the act of getting in their cars makes them invisible. Have they forgotten that all cars have windows? Or, do they believe their cars came factory equipped with cloaking devices?

Permit me to introduce you to a few of the characters who keep me chuckling instead of cussing during my daily drive.

? The nasal miners ? these dressed-for-success folks cancel out their professional appearance with deep mining activities. Their concentration is so deep that I would not be surprised to see that probing digit pop through the miner's scalp.

? The make up artists ? their dexterity is impressive as they tackle any and all facets of putting on makeup.

This process runs the gamut from the simple application of lipstick to the full treatment of putting on foundation, blush and mascara, all with the rearview mirror turned vertically.

? The shavers ? men driving and shaving with electric razors is no longer an uncommon sight. However, the guy who was shaving with a regular razor and dipping it in the rinsing cup he held in his other hand got my attention.

But nothing prepared me for the young woman driver who had one leg propped up on the dashboard shaving her leg as she barreled down the highway. She must have had an awfully important appointment.

? The disciplinarians ? they add the excitement of Russian roulette to the commute as they correct and otherwise deal with unruly children without bothering to glance at the road ahead.

? The cell phone users ? Why do they hold the phone with their left hand? If it is their intension to block the view from the driver's side window, they are doing a great job.

Since cell phone users focus on their conversations rather than the road, they tend to slow down and back up traffic. They also change lanes or turn corners in grand oblivion of the fact there are other drivers on the road besides them.

As a matter of fact, they remind me of my father's driving style. Thank goodness he did not have a cell phone. Father would take the entrance to a highway at full throttle and blithely merge into the traffic flow without checking for a possible opening. I suppose he assumed everyone would make room for him, and they did. Perhaps his driving style is the reason I don't care for amusement park rides.

Elizabeth Cowan, former Norman resident, writes for The Blue Ridge Tribune. She can be reached at www.fracturedonline.com.

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