Friday, December 25, 2009

"Taking Santa to Connecticut"

Having holly jollies.
This Holiday card rendition, made on the last magical trip to the Shiney Apple.
Magical Love.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Driver Improvement Program (D.I.P.)

Yours Truly plunged into Driver Improvement Program passionately, with gusto, yesterday. For threefold reasons:
1. Point reduction.
2. 10% off car insurance for several years.
3. A suitable-for-framing certificate, to appear in the mail, allegedly, in six weeks.

Notes from yesterday, thirteen pages in the nice little gray moleskin that's been to the Shiney Apple.

Driver Improvement School.

With the spirit, or in the spirit, of journalism, reportage, I show up at D.I.P. in Hamburg along with seventeen other sullen individuals.
Everyone seems to be between the ages of 25-55.
(Final attendance count 22 total, 17 women.)

Instructor D:
Break 10 min. morning.
Break 10 min. afternoon.
45 minutes for lunch.

In case of emergency, like if the boiler blows up, go out the same way that you came in.

Me and the girl to my right (in gray cowl neck sweater), laugh.
Nobody else laughs at the thought of the boiler blowing up but Cowl Neck Girl tells me that she will commence praying for its demise.

(YT leaves coat on. How shaky is this Hamburg Town Hall boiler situation.)

(page 2)
Complicated directions about filling out form - press hard to make four legible copies in for Town Clerk.
10% off collision and
4 points off.
6 weeks from time Court Clerk sends form until we get our certificates.

Woman to my left reeks of ...
Vodka? Literine? Rum?

Instructor D:
You'll take many courses in your life but this is the only one that will possibly save your life.

(YT scans back all grad school, college, high school, elementary school courses and is fairly certain those attendant life skills and life lessons gleaned could is some direct or indirect manner saved the life of YT.)

Page 4, turn to, questions we may have about driving in general.

(page 3)
Any questions about driving, Instructor D asks.

Listerine Lady =
Who has right-of-way in a roundabout.

(We are currently situated about one hundred feet from one of Hamburg's famed roundabouts, not to be confused at all with the double helix death machine on Harlem Road just outside Middling City.)

YT asks Instructor D about how long one should stop at a stop sign.

(This is, in sooth, why YT is here in the first place - a special birthday surprise from an overzealous officer of the law in Hamburg who noted that YT hesitated after a stop sign, checking left and right to see in which direction one might chance upon the MC. Hesitation is weakness and officer pounced.)

Instructor D:
Full cessation of movement, not a Hamburg stop, rolling 10 m.p.h. through a stop.

Cowl Neck girl is suddenly rocking herself.
(She will continue rocking the remaining several hours, apparently rocking herself to consolation.)

(Max. occupancy 52 persons)

Instructor D:
Use caution
(Instructor D rides a motorcycle.)
Some officers want to be hotdogs, and make a name for themselves.

(page 4)
Cowl Neck Girl, after Instructor D asks who thinks they are good drivers says she's a good driver because she's Cautious.

I had also raised my hand so Instructor D asks me. I say I'd take Cowl Neck Girl's answer to another level, to raise it to the level of paranoia.

Instructor D's eyes widen noticeably.

I give examples of things I see every day driving in Buffalo.

(YT mentions people driving through red lights, a near-daily sight, and people driving the wrong way down one-way streets - a weekly sight.)

Most people will be in six accidents.

(page 5)
Instructor D mentions compassion.

(YT likes this very much.)

Doing everything reasonable.
Personal responsibility.
In driving there is not front of the line.

Dim, truck-driving girl tells a story after Instructor D asks who was recently in an accident.

When I was in Buffalo, near downtown, she begins, near that bridge (she means the Peace Bridge), the guy in front of us hit slush, slid into us and we ended up in oncoming traffic.

(It's only 9:40 a.m.)

The heartbeat of this whole course is_____anticipation.


(page 6)
Instructor D:
Surgery, like driving, is a full-time job.

(page 7)
(Inspired by some artwork commissioned by National Safety Council, YT draws a four-part diagram (to be scanned later) showing eye/ear/nose/hand.
It represents, iconically, the senses, the four things that we need as defensive drivers.

(page 8)
It's now 10:16 a.m.

Now it's 10:35 a.m.

There was just much discussion about tractor-trailers and amount of time it takes to stop–
my question.
CDL (that's Commercial Driver License to You, oh uninitiated, non-D.I.P. person) guy who drives for UPS he, in Ohio, hauls three trailers sometimes and it takes him five miles to stop.

(Really, YT wants to ask, five freakin' miles.)


(page 9)
Instructor D looks at clock above where Town Justice would sit – it's now 11:13 a.m.

It's 11:34 a.m.

The criminal-looking boy to the left is drawing interlocking hearts.

3 on top – with shadow.
2 on bottom – with haloes.

(page 10)
How Ilio DiPaolo died – fused ankle bone hit by Chevy Chevette on a June night, torrential rain.

He gimped along, Instructor D states.
He died.

Then, how a cow was killed
by a motorcyclist.

(page 11)
1:35 p.m.

YT makes Instructor D laugh again
1:52 p.m.
by telling him example of
speeding excuses.
QEW, me passed by other vehicles – how that excuse
didn't work.

risk of death.

(page 12)

(page 13)
Reasons vs. Excuses

And therein lies the documentation of D.I.P.
After page 13, after approximately 1:45, after the class of 22 voted to forge onward and not take an afternoon break, it became obvious that the remainder of the course, post-lunch and under the micro-bursts of flourescent light, would drag on in a seemingly interminable manner.
And YT, ever being a student most diligent, wished to show respect to Instructor D who really is a kind and serious man.
YT thanked him on the way out as we all laid our evaluation sheets in front of him.
Overall - Excellent
Instructor - Excellent
And onwards.

Compassionate, Self-regarding, Driving Love.