We’ve had some warm afternoons this spring, and the problem with driving around in warm weather is the air-conditioner has to run full-blast. That means your vehicle’s sound system also has to be turned up full-blast in order to hear it above that roar keeping you comfortable.
On a recent drive, I realized I’ve become “that guy.”
There I was, cruising down Fisk Avenue with my left turn signal flashing, and I had absolutely no clue that it had been happening. Imagine my embarrassment when I finally realized it and — even worse — determined that it had been at least 10 blocks since I executed my last left turn.
I thought that was the type of thing only over-the-hill people did. How could this have happened to me?
In my defense, I didn’t hear the clicka-clicka noise that accompanies the turn signal, even though my hearing is reasonably good. Since it was hot outside, the air-conditioner was blowing full blast, and the radio was turned up even louder.
That’s my story, and I’m sticking to it.
Being unable to listen to music, or even to talk with others in the vehicle with you, is one of the more common but annoying consequences of hot weather. It’s now June, so here we go again.
Still, I’m just making lame excuses. More and more, I find that I am indeed “that guy.”
On a recent drive to “the big city,” I set the cruise control right on the posted speed limit. You would think 75 miles an hour would be plenty fast enough for people. After all, I’m old enough to have lived through several years of driving 55 miles an hour on such highways in the 1970s and 80s. If you weren’t driving back then, take my word for it. Obeying the speed limit during the so-called gas crisis took real discipline, especially when you’re plodding along on Interstate 10 east of Fort Stockton.
My family drives that route every summer to meet relatives in the Big Bend area.
However, the “big city” destination for this trip was Austin, where our two adult children live. U.S. Highway 183 is a familiar route to us. I’m seldom in a hurry. I’m content to drive 75 until Lampasas, and anyone familiar with this highway knows speed limits soon drop to 70 and then 65 until the tollway appears.
It didn’t matter. Even driving the posted speed limit, I was the slowest driver on the road. The engine of an older compact car imported from Korea was wheezing, but it passed me anyway. A 20-year-old pickup smoking like Winston Churchill passed me, too. Even two highway patrol cars, without emergency lights and sirens on, left me in the dust.
I was holding up progress, to be sure. Yeah, I’m that guy.
Lately, I’m ordering soup more often at restaurants — and enjoying it. I’ve been known to groan when I stoop down to pick something up. I sometimes forget people’s names. My wife tells me when I talk about things that happened to us years ago, I often don’t tell the story the same way twice.
I can be forgiven for not exactly remembering things that happened decades ago. But I ought to remember how I told it three months ago.
Look, I’m not a newspaper reporter any more. Why let the facts get in the way of a good story?
Gene Deason is editor emeritus of the Brownwood Bulletin. His column appears on Fridays. He may be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.