Print Story Carnage Lottery
Cars
By CheeseburgerBrown (Tue Mar 14, 2006 at 03:51:49 PM EST) traffic, accident, trucks, blissful fool (all tags)
I play the carnage lottery.


At least a couple of somebodies lost the lottery today, bits of their journey sprinkled south along the highway an impressive distance downwind from the where the automotive carcass had skidded to a halt -- a slurry of glass, plastic and metal kipple impelled by inertia to bounce and skitter on in blissful ignorance of the fact that their collective mission of travel has been cancelled.

Two trucks, the locomotives of the road, were twisted around each other like tangled kites. It is like seeing dead lions. Predators rent open like prey.

Smaller cars, dented or bent, crouched at the side of the road or at odd angles across the lanes. The way behind them was a fairground of ambulances and police, with lots of red lights and yellow tape. Beyond that was a solid river of stopped cars undulating away to the twilight horizon, a southbound pudding of caravans and speeders and freighters whose voyage had been subverted by gore.

It was twilight. In pockets, people had started to get out of their cars to stretch or smoke cigarettes or shoot the shit with one another. Some people were lucky or smart enough to have brought books, so they turned on the cabin lights in their cars and sat back to read. Children in SUVs watched Pixar on DVD.

And me? I was northbound.

I flew by at a hundred and twenty and watched the scene dwindle in my mirrors, chewing raspberry flavoured gum.

< Can I get a what what? | BBC White season: 'Rivers of Blood' >
Carnage Lottery | 24 comments (24 topical, 0 hidden) | Trackback
The flavor by ana (4.00 / 1) #1 Tue Mar 14, 2006 at 03:58:48 PM EST
of the gum is a remarkably important detail in this narrative.

Can you introspect out loud? --CRwM

But Of Course! by CheeseburgerBrown (4.00 / 1) #4 Wed Mar 15, 2006 at 01:50:04 AM EST
It's the punchline.

You know you've read it right when the last sound you hear in your head is the imaginary foley of me snapping the gum. I can't really do that trick, but I think it does the virtual soundtrack justice.


I am from a small, unknown country in the north called Ca-na-da. We are a simple, grease-loving people who enjoy le weekend de ski.
[ Parent ]
I know someone by aphrael (4.00 / 1) #2 Tue Mar 14, 2006 at 09:01:19 PM EST
a coworker, of the insane variety, who drives eighty miles each way. Over a mountain range. Every day.

If television is a babysitter, the internet is a drunk librarian who won't shut up.
Jebus Murphy Brown! by CheeseburgerBrown (4.00 / 1) #3 Wed Mar 15, 2006 at 01:48:38 AM EST
in california by rafael (2.00 / 0) #20 Wed Mar 15, 2006 at 01:06:26 PM EST
where i live, in suburban california, a decent 2-bedroom condo with no yard and shared walls goes for USD$550,000. if you want a yard and no shared walls, in the suburbs, you are talking closer to USD$700,000 minimum.

I can't afford a mortgage on such a house. I don't care; i'm young, and don't have a family. But people who do have families and need more space and a yard find that they can't afford to live here, so they get places fifty or more miles away and drive in.

It's a terrible way to live.

[ Parent ]
damn. by rafael (2.00 / 0) #21 Wed Mar 15, 2006 at 01:06:43 PM EST
wrong account.

[ Parent ]
California by blixco (4.00 / 1) #8 Wed Mar 15, 2006 at 03:56:25 AM EST
is getting to be like this.  There are a lot of people who can't afford to live anywhere near the bay area, but they work there, so they commute from Stockton to San Francisco, say.

I used to do this one every day, which wasn't bad...though the route they show was always too much traffic, and I had a back route that was 10 more miles but country roads and cows, no traffic.

My dad did this for a year: 95 miles each way.
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Taken out of context I must seem so strange - Ani DiFranco

[ Parent ]
why did your dad do that? by aphrael (2.00 / 0) #16 Wed Mar 15, 2006 at 06:47:25 AM EST
he could surely have afforded something in lake county, which would have been a much shorter commute.
If television is a babysitter, the internet is a drunk librarian who won't shut up.
[ Parent ]
He was by blixco (2.00 / 0) #17 Wed Mar 15, 2006 at 07:06:13 AM EST
in a lease.  Once the lease was up, he moved to Livermore.
---------------------------------
Taken out of context I must seem so strange - Ani DiFranco
[ Parent ]
oh. by aphrael (2.00 / 0) #18 Wed Mar 15, 2006 at 07:20:28 AM EST
i misread that and thought he was commuting from livermore to the north coast.
If television is a babysitter, the internet is a drunk librarian who won't shut up.
[ Parent ]
I had it backward by blixco (2.00 / 0) #19 Wed Mar 15, 2006 at 07:22:48 AM EST
in googlemap.
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Taken out of context I must seem so strange - Ani DiFranco
[ Parent ]
Modus alternus by chopper (2.00 / 0) #23 Wed Mar 15, 2006 at 11:22:47 PM EST
A motorcycle would be the sane option.

[ Parent ]
on heavily trafficked by aphrael (2.00 / 0) #24 Thu Mar 16, 2006 at 07:02:32 AM EST
windy two-lane highways through mountains in the rain?

more like a suicide option.

If television is a babysitter, the internet is a drunk librarian who won't shut up.

[ Parent ]
I commute on the motorway by ambrosen (4.00 / 1) #5 Wed Mar 15, 2006 at 02:40:13 AM EST
And go north from the north edge of one of Britain's largest conurbations halfway to the next one. As it's inter-urban, it's very busy, but nearly all free flowing. I'm surprised how often a) I see crashes b) The crashed vehicles are on the hard shoulder or stranded in one land, causing no tailback.

Still, I spend 2 hours a day imagining how it could be me and how to avoid it. It's no lottery.

A Little From Column A, Column B by CheeseburgerBrown (4.00 / 1) #9 Wed Mar 15, 2006 at 04:15:10 AM EST
It's no lottery.

Safe/defensive driving is indeed massively important, no arguments there. But I still think there is some element of chance to it -- at least in winter in Canada, where even experienced drivers can be taken off-guard by a patch of black ice and swerve for a split-second. If you're unfortunate enough to be passing through somebody's blind spot at such a moment, or if someone's evasive manoeuvres leave something to be desired, one could end up tangled into somebody else's mess fast.


I am from a small, unknown country in the north called Ca-na-da. We are a simple, grease-loving people who enjoy le weekend de ski.
[ Parent ]
Glad we're on the same page. by ambrosen (4.00 / 1) #14 Wed Mar 15, 2006 at 06:05:01 AM EST
I saw someone pull out when someone was in their blindspot today. They swerved out of the way.

You should know when something's gone there and not come out, though, and my mirrors adjust so that there's almost no distance between the rear of the car disappearing from my wing mirror, and its front coming into peripheral vision.

Mind you, I cocked up my journey up the sliproad today (it's unusually short and steep, having been squeezed in at the last minute on one of UKia's first motorway projects, thus demanding skill and judgement. This one junction was a big factor in me getting a moderately powerful car), and arrived at the top just behind a 33 ton skip truck going at 30mph, rather than going 60mph with nothing in front of me.

[ Parent ]
120 by jimgon (4.00 / 1) #6 Wed Mar 15, 2006 at 03:10:29 AM EST
Always takes me a second to switch to metric. 




---------------
Technician - "We can't even get decent physical health care. Mental health is like witchcraft here."
I Admit... by CheeseburgerBrown (4.00 / 1) #10 Wed Mar 15, 2006 at 04:16:19 AM EST
...I use the ambiguity as a device to make my speed appear more reckless than it really was.

I could've said "kph" but it would've softened the punchline in a way I didn't like.


I am from a small, unknown country in the north called Ca-na-da. We are a simple, grease-loving people who enjoy le weekend de ski.
[ Parent ]
You James Frey, You. by Christopher Robin was Murdered (4.00 / 2) #12 Wed Mar 15, 2006 at 04:49:00 AM EST
Next we'll be hearing about your hardcore druggie criminal lifestyle and all the useless beauty of suicided ex-girlfriends.

Still, nice writing. As much as this CBB meets the working stiffs' world thing might suck in real-life, I think it's given you some great new writing material to work with. Perhaps that's some small measure of solace.

[ Parent ]
James Frey Is A Character I Made Up. by CheeseburgerBrown (2.00 / 0) #13 Wed Mar 15, 2006 at 05:10:29 AM EST
As much as this CBB meets the working stiffs' world thing might suck in real-life, I think it's given you some great new writing material to work with. Perhaps that's some small measure of solace.

I have to ask -- have I been giving the impression that this transition has been harsh? You're not the first one to urge me to look on the bright side of bleak, is all.

The fact of the matter is that I'm having a jolly time. I know that there's always a certain stripe of person who thinks only the naive can have a jolly time when entering into something like this, and that they'll inevitably wake up and smell the stinky truth, but people said the same thing about freelancing and it took eight years for the gloss to wear off that fun.

How could I dare complain? I've just been handed a job with good pay, nice benefits, a reasonable distance from my home, and a boss who isn't mentally retarded. Also, the projects I'm working on have a fun value ranging from mild to hearty.

So far I'd really have to work to find anything about this experience that truly "sucks" beyond thick traffic.


I am from a small, unknown country in the north called Ca-na-da. We are a simple, grease-loving people who enjoy le weekend de ski.
[ Parent ]
I'm J. T. LeRoy's Love Child by Christopher Robin was Murdered (4.00 / 2) #15 Wed Mar 15, 2006 at 06:07:06 AM EST
The impression comes from the fact that school house life, as you described it, struck some of us as just a shade short of Edenic.

This is most likely the grass-is-greener envy of life-long urban office drones, but hey, let the drones have their fantasies.

Needless to say, the fall to office life is a blow to this fantasy and many of us can't imagine it not sucking, in some fundamental way.

From your writings, I've actually gotten the impression that you're making the most of it. But I put that down to the fact that you are the kinda guy who makes things work rather than bitchin' and moaning about it and did not attribute it to the fact that office life was all fact and analysis, if you'll pardon the trendy slang usage.

I'm glad to hear it doesn't suck. I'm glad you're enjoying it.


[ Parent ]
impressions by aphrael (4.00 / 1) #22 Wed Mar 15, 2006 at 01:13:28 PM EST
I haven't gotten the impression from what you are writing that it has been harsh. There's a certain wonder-of-learning-something-new that comes through in your writing that diminishes any harshness that you are expressing.

However, most of us have a preconceived notion that that transition must be hard, and that may be influencing how people are reading what you are writing.
If television is a babysitter, the internet is a drunk librarian who won't shut up.

[ Parent ]
Our latest traffic tie-up was caused by a barge. by wiredog (2.00 / 0) #7 Wed Mar 15, 2006 at 03:30:24 AM EST
It broke loose from its moorings and drifted down the Severn River until it hit the Rt 50 bridge. The bridge was immediately closed on the grounds that it might have taken enough damage to cause it to collapse, thereby dumping dozens of motorists into the river.

No one was injured, the bridge was reopened a few hours later.

Earth First!
(We can strip mine the rest later.)

I Saw That One In The Paper. by CheeseburgerBrown (2.00 / 0) #11 Wed Mar 15, 2006 at 04:16:58 AM EST
Luckily there are no bridges between work and the old schoolhouse -- just ribbons and ribbons of snowy freeway.


I am from a small, unknown country in the north called Ca-na-da. We are a simple, grease-loving people who enjoy le weekend de ski.
[ Parent ]
Carnage Lottery | 24 comments (24 topical, 0 hidden) | Trackback