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for August 28, 2002

Chthonic Boom
by Your Diva, Robin Pastorio-Newman

Travel is educational. For instance, a road trip with friends taught Your Darling, Your Diva, Your One True Love that not everyone knows how to caravan. It's hard to enjoy a glorious drive across the lovely North American continent when you're stifling mortal terror. Perhaps a guide is needed. Your Dragon Roll, whose varied acquaintances include pedagogue truck drivers, merrily provides.
How to Caravan
1. Make happy with companions owning fabulous vehicles. Your Miso Soup's prefered co-defendant installed a CD player into a metalflake green 1960 Catalina. Your desire for air conditioning may yield different results. Persons wishing to nap, rather than drive, must nevertheless remain conscious of the cinematic aspects of being seen snoozing in the right car.
2. Off the top of your head: how many rearview mirrors? Most drivers don't know and don't use them. Don't be an idiot. You'd look ridiculous at the bottom of a smoldering three-car pile up.
3. Where are your sunglasses?
4. Caravans work best in groupings of two or three vehicles. For larger groups, drivers must work in twos and threes, and stay in formation. Starting to sound like band camp?
5. (Assuming groups of three and minimal traffic.) When entering a highway, the first driver looks for a place for all three vehicles to merge with traffic. All three vehicles move with the speed of traffic, but it's the third car that moves into that space and creates room for cars one and two. This works even better with groups of two. Got it? It's the last car moving into traffic that slows slightly to permit the caravan to merge.
6. (Assuming groups of three and fast-moving, heavy traffic.) Merge, first car first. Remain calm. Keep your eye on the car you're supposed to be following. Recreate your formation as quickly and efficiently as possible without endangering yourself, passengers, construction workers, other persons coping with traffic, wildlife...
7. (Assuming groups of three and slow-moving, heavy traffic.) Merge, third car first, creating space, maintaining formation. You won't even spill your Snapple.
8. (Assuming groups of three.) To pass slower traffic, driver one puts on her left blinker. You WILL pass on the left, because passing on the right is your ticket to the Emergency Room in a hick town where surgeons may have supernumerary digits. Driver two observes the blinker and puts on same. Driver three waits for a space in traffic, moves left and creates room for one and two. When slower traffic is safely behind your caravan, driver three moves right, creating space again for two, then one, who also move right. Got this? Driver in front signals, driver in back moves left, everyone moves left, driver in back signals and when all drivers are signalling, driver in back moves right, everyone moves right. Et voila! You move ahead without considering the incendiary properties of your gas tank.
9. Parking your caravan in the left lane obstructs traffic and will earn you moving violation tickets in a hick town where deputies may have supernumerary digits, like their cousins the surgeons.
10. Be aware of vehicles in your caravan that guzzle gasoline and persons with microscopic bladders. Running out of gas will delay your arrival at your glamourous destination. Unexpected roadside pee breaks may lead to hilarious yet stinky accidents or encounters with wildlife. Avoid startling skunks. Generally. To coordinate stops, the wise carry cellphones which passengers - not drivers - operate.
11. Do not fear the semi.
12. Do not outrun the semi, especially at night. Truck drivers talk to one another and have a better grasp of where the police are. If they're moving at the highway speed limit - which in New Jersey is a polite suggestion - they probably know something you don't.
13. Turn signals - USE THEM. Your Paper-Thin Beef Sashimi would like to spend less time contemplating a horrible fiery death and more time admiring her tan.
Keep your eyes on one another, and watch for idiots who cross five lanes of traffic suddenly and without signalling. Your Shrimp Tempura feels confident you can get the hang of it. Plus, she's certain you'd rather use your blinker and shout along with Ramones Mania than spend months in traction. Gabba gabba hey!

©2002 Robin Pastorio-Newman

All material ©2001-2014 Sean Carolan, except as noted.


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