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My Greatest Fear #4

January 17, 2010

On Saturday, I had to go to the post office to mail a package. I was headed to a bar to watch the Saints/Cardinals game, which meant that I had to make a left turn out of the post office parking lot.

That’s correct. A left turn across traffic. Four lanes of traffic, to be precise.

This, my friends, is my fourth greatest fear.

So I did what any human would do: I took a picture for this blog. Just in case you’ve never driven before and can’t comprehend the idea of four lanes of traffic.

Why is this my fourth greatest fear? It’s the sheer number of factors that go into calculating the timing of such a turn. You’re looking out for oncoming cars from the left so you can cross over those lanes without being t-boned, and you have to calculate the speed of cars coming from the right to see if you have enough time to get across the first two lanes and accelerate fast enough so you don’t get rear-ended.

Even worse is when traffic is at a standstill. You have to do that thing where you nudge your car out into the road so that you’re blocking two lanes of cars, all in the slimmest of hopes that there will be a gap in traffic awaiting you on the other side. It’s a terrible thing. More than once I’ve simply deserted my car and run naked along the sidewalk. Why naked? Because that’s how I panic.

So if you ever see some guy in a silver Camry XLE trying to turn left against several lanes of traffic, give him a friendly wave and let him cross. Or, if you’d rather see a pale white man running naked down the road, wait until he edges out into the road and then honk at him as loud as you can. That’ll do the trick.

Do you share this fear? How about my other greatest fears: spudopticaphobia, dinner-roll-open-ophobia, and carlockophobia?

13 Comments leave one →
  1. January 18, 2010 12:19 am

    Yes, I share that fear. No, I do not react by running naked along the sidewalk. (love that line)

    My greatest fear of similar ilk is the blind left turn, with another car across from me waiting to make a left turn from the other direction. I play it safe, and wait until I can actually see whether there are oncoming cars hidden behind that one. I used to work as a reporter, and recall at least one accident where someone died because she decided to take a guess. So, if I’m so cautious then why am I afraid? It’s because of the people waiting impatiently behind me. I also covered a story about a guy who shot and killed someone in a fit of road rage.

    Reporting bad news for 10 years has made me a bit paranoid. I typically don’t even watch the local news anymore. When I do, I desert my house and run naked along the sidewalk.

    • January 18, 2010 12:42 am

      Ha ha…I’m glad someone else out there panics in the same way I do.

      I completely share your fear of the blind left turn. That’s sad (and scary) that people die from that. In the face of uncertainty, I almost always yield.

      Have you tried getting your news from the The Daily Show? It doesn’t help with local happenings, but it’ll make you smile instead of panic. It’s a fact that I’ve never run screaming out of my condo naked while watching The Daily Show.

  2. January 18, 2010 1:27 am

    I love The Daily Show! I’m also a fan of the Colbert Report. I get my more serious national news from NPR, and sometimes Online. And I actually do follow the local news, but only in the newspaper and on the radio. When it comes to local TV news, once you’ve seen the man behind the curtain, it’s just too painful to go back to Oz.

    • January 18, 2010 12:55 pm

      I’ve found that The Daily Show is the ideal show to listen to while I’m making dinner. Very little of it is visual–it could almost be a radio show.

      I feel the same way about restaurants as you do local news 🙂 Have you written any blog entries about your experiences working for local TV?

      • January 18, 2010 1:18 pm

        No I haven’t. That part of my life came to a close almost 10 years ago, so it seems like ancient news. But maybe someday when I’m low on material, or so much time has passed that the stories seem really “retro.” Hmmm, now you’ve got me considering it. Thanks for the thought!

        • January 18, 2010 1:32 pm

          No problem–I look forward to reading about it!

          • January 18, 2010 1:49 pm

            Now that I think about it, I did write one post from my TV news days. It’s not a typical “day in the life” of a reporter, but an unusual story I covered: the last sunset of the year in Barrow, Alaska. What an unforgettable experience! But then, I did forget it for a moment, didn’t I?

            I traveled the state quite a bit. But spent most days in Anchorage, chasing trials, shootings, Native rights, car crashes, politicians, protests, oil, environment, etc. I loved it, but it took a boat-load of energy. Ten years was about my limit.

  3. Dionne permalink
    January 18, 2010 10:51 am

    I’m right with you. I have a fear of left hand turns on a 4 lane road. My last car accident (many, many years ago) occurred because I was trying to make a left hand turn on a 4 lane road and my view to my right was partially obstructed. Stupid me, I went for it slowly only to hit the side of a car who was speeding by. I was traumatized. I rarely make those turns now. I will, literally, go out of my way to not make that turn.

    • January 18, 2010 12:57 pm

      I must admit that I do the same thing. I actually plan routes (errands and such) around right-turn exits.

  4. Bob permalink
    January 18, 2010 12:05 pm

    And I fear people taking photos while driving 😉

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