I love Easterners. [Eastern Seaboard of the US] They’re the salt of the Earth, and they’re good people, but they don’t know anything about the US West, or Westerners. To demonstrate my point; on the Weather Channel, a national weather reporting and forecasting service for television viewers, they don’t seem to know the West exists; at least, they don’t show much weather for us. When they do, although we’re an equally large part of the States, they give us less than 2 seconds, while spending hours on their own weather and forecasts, not to mention the “Eastern Suburbs” across the “pond”. (The Atlantic Ocean.)
There’s a terrible thing Easterners are foisting upon us now: Roundabouts. When I lived for a short time in Boston Massachusetts, I quit driving because of them. The stress was too great.
When I had to go around one, I’d close my eyes and pray through the whole intersection, like I used to see people on bicycles do in front of cathedrals.
Where we would normally put a stoplight, Easterners widen the intersection, put a large plug of dirt right smack in the middle of where all 4 directions meet, with the dirt held in place by a circular concrete curb. The law is, you can’t drive in the dirt.
This forces us basically straight-forward folk into driving in high speed circles around the plug, being pushed along by the more-experienced Easterners and big city drivers who are entering the roundabout at light speed. Keeping to the inner part of the ring is stressful because the turn is very tight, and because nobody wants to spend the day going around and around the silly plug. So people attempt to get out of that lane to merge into the outside lane, which is the lane people enter and leave from all four sides of the intersection, always going, of course, at break neck speed.
The point of the game is to get into and out of the roundabout and get onto the street you _want _ to drive on next. So cars are not only driving nose to tail at top speed, but they’re trying to bully other cars in the parallel lanes in the roundabout to move laterally, that is, to move sideways to another lane at top speed. You can only drive one way in the roundabouts, too: You can’t see at least some of the cars who are flying up on you the way you can on two way streets.
I spent half an hour in a roundabout once,and it scared me to death! It reminded me of the old folk song about the man who rode the Underground to work, and never returned. People who saw him gave him a sandwich at mealtimes, often having to fling it through the opened windows of their trolly in the open window of his. I began to wonder if my then-husband would make sandwiches like that for me and deliver them to the roundabout. Not only was I in danger of colliding with another car every second that I stayed trapped in the roundabout; I was also in danger of starving to death. I always thought I’d die in a car while fiddling with the radio or the heater or something. Now I’m afraid it’s going to be due to a roundabout.
Out here, we live about as far from the US East as we can get, and take pride in being Westerners. However, some of our little towns, big towns, and cities seem to have been buffaloed into hiring “experts” from back East, and we’re getting more and more roundabouts. We Westerners with pickup trucks and SUVs check for cross traffic and then sensibly drive across the plug if we want to go straight. There are tire marks across the plugs wherever they’ve been put in out here. They’re easy to spot in the dirt. (Nothing much will grow in the plug of earth, due to the concentrations of road poisons at “ground zero”, there.) Some city outfits have put huge rocks on the dirt. That’s what those Big Wheel trucks were initially developed for.
Many of us have sworn not only at roundabouts (and their designers) but have sworn to come out some dark night with a sledge hammer and break the things up. Or with a bit of C4, or a blasting cap: Anything to get rid of the darn things. As for me, I think we should locate the designers of these hellatious traffic control contraptions, strip them naked, and ritually burn them at the stake while we cheerfully bust up their roundabouts in front of them.
Dayonda® 03 Jan 2009
NOTE: I have friends or at least relatives back East, and this is not supposed to* be a cut at people who just happened to be born in the wrong place. . . it’s supposed to be humorous.
P.S.: Easterners we’ll keep: Roundabouts go home!
re: roundabouts and easterners
Unfathomable little Hells to Westerners, traffic control “roundabouts” are well-understood by Easterners. We Western folk prefer to amble through stop lights or stop signs, or just be left on our own to do the right thing, and we will, too, for the most part.