Aug 26, 2012

Dumbing-Down the Nation

I spent a lot of yesterday doing errands on my 250. The few moments I was on the Interstate gave me flashbacks to when I first arrived in Minnesota and hooked up to a couple of local motorcycle groups: MNSportbike (now MN-MSTA) and TC_DualSport, where I quickly got tangled up in one of the silliest arguments in my life; the Minnesota "fast lane." Eventually, I wrote a rant about it called Tailgating in the Fast Lane where I did my best to blast the illusion that some riders have about their "rights" on multilane roads. I was surprised at the non-reaction both on the MNSportbike site and in reader letters. I was downright insulting toward the "special" children who design our freeway system, "Urban Minnesota has a freeway system that was designed (to loosely and abusively use the word 'design')  by drunken professional wrestlers." (This was back in the Ventura Governorship days). Still, no reaction from the Mousketeers.

That article was in 2005 and I joined the debate in 1999. It's probably still going on. People who should know better (Yeah, I'm talking about you Pat.) were outraged at the fact that many drivers disrespected their right to go "fast" in the "fast lane."  There is, of course, no actual fast lane. All freeway lanes are restricted to the posted speed limits and only the exit lane is expected to move slightly more slowly than the other lanes. In the Twin Cities, every lane (including the center lanes) can irrationally become exit lanes and that fact eliminates any rational expectation of fast lanes.

Yesterday, I was struck at how LA'ish the Cities' traffic has become. Yeah, I know, it's been there for a while, but I wasn't stuck in it long enough to take the time to watch what's going on. Tailgating and multitasking have merged into complete Idiocracy. We are now ready for barrier-lined, electronic-speed-controlled "traffic" where the driver is nothing more than a passenger in a seat possessing a disconnected "steering wheel" and a petal that produces noise but no change in velocity. Obviously, resonance theory is beyond the scope of the average Amercun's vocabulary, but . . . damn! When forty reflex-dead zombies run bumper-to-bumper their miserable reflex times will add up to some seriously long intervals of no activity between short bursts of hyper-lane-changing and brake and throttle pumping. The fools who thought putting stop lights at freeway entrances have trained Minnesota drivers to do exactly everything wrong merging and driving.

I stumbled on to the freeway twice, out of habit, yesterday and it took me nearly a half-hour to extract myself each time. If any state desperately needs lane-sharing, it's Minnesota. These people don't have the reflexes to be dangerous to a competent rider. By the time they can apply their passive-aggressive block maneuver, you'd be a mile away. Even the kids are slow-witted. My wife blames this on hazard-free video game "driving" and she could be right. These people do drive as if they think a reset button is out there in case they fuck up.

Considering the alternatives, I was lucky.

My wife took the granddaughter and daughter to the state fair yesterday. That experience may have ruined her for state fairs, forever. She went for the animal and art and crafts exhibits, but the bozo qualities of the crowds overwhelmed her in about an hour. The XXXXL-size Marching Morons did her in. They all wore out and left frustrated about half-way their planned tour. The "art" and crafts have become so conservative and boring there is little point in visiting those areas more than once every five years, just to verify the constant decline in quality. The animals, outside of the specialty birds, are becoming genetic freaks. When did hogs top 1,000 pounds? Last time I paid attention, a 300-400 pound hog was a big dude. Herefords are a vanishing breed, replaced by the more trendy Angus. Watching Minnesota horsepersons is painful. This is a state of farmers, not cowboys. Even the horses are dumber than we're used to seeing. In Texas and Kansas, the animals have managed to hang on to their brainpower while the people down-breed back to neanderthals (I probably owe neanderthals an apology.).

It's a sad time when stop-and-go city streets are quicker than the freeway, but here we are. It makes you wonder if the human race has played out its string and nature is about to replace us with something more useful?


  1. it's a car pool lane......I'm constantly being tailgated at any hour of the day in that lane. For job related insurance purposes I can't afford very many speeding tickets. Riding a motorcycle is a bonus for me, not sanctioned by HR & could easily pop up on their radar....
    My level of speed reflects both what I ride & the consequences of ......ooooo being caught speeding! Do you people realize the technology out there, bringing in the fines that local gov needs, since we refuse to raise taxes?

  2. Totally agree. The carpool lane is supposed to be "shared" with motorcycles, but traffic in that lane is insane and regulated as only American applies "regulation" (irrationally and sporadically). With the escape routes marked as "do not cross" under penalty of a ticket, I think those lanes are not worth traveling by motorcycle.

    I'm totally with your comments about local government fines. A dumb cop-in-training kid asked me "Why do people hate cops?" I said, "Because nobody likes the taxman." Being a dumb kid, he wanted to argue the point but I don't argue with fools. If you can't shoot the loser in that kind of fight, what's the point?


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