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How about this? If I were a really stupid driver, I would damn well leave the car in the driveway and take a cab. How would I know if I were a really stupid driver? Let me count the ways.

I was at a stop sign, signalling a left turn on to a busy street during rush hour. The cars were coming along in both directions, often at awkwardly-spaced intervals. A driver two cars back was leaning on his horn — beeeep beeeeep — to the point that I wish now I had put my car in Park, turned off the ignition, walked back to him and said, sternly, with no question mark implied, “What!”

I could have said, “Listen, you moron, from where I’m sitting, I’m the one who can judge whether I’m going to pull out into traffic. While you were beeping, I had a bus coming in one direction and I couldn’t see around it, to see if there was traffic in the other lane. I had a pedestrian and two bicycles crossing in front of me at the same time as there was a slight break in the traffic. I know when it is safe — for me and everyone else — to proceed and blowing your bleeping horn is not going to make any difference!”

Should I have done it? He was such a hothead, he probably would have hit me. Maybe with this:


While I’m on the subject, are you one of those people who sits in the middle lane at a red light and then, when the light changes, you put your left turn signal on and hold up a long line behind you — who had no idea you were going to turn? Would it kill you to signal before the traffic builds behind you? Try using the rule of Doug Bethune, CBC Radio Maritime Noon’s expert on “automotive matters.” Doug says to put your signal light on before you start to brake when you’re approaching a stop sign/red light and you plan to turn left. I try — and it’s not very hard — to practice what Doug preaches.

Another thing that shouldn’t be very hard is turning from one street on to another. In, oh I don’t know, about 99 per cent of the cases, the angle of that turn is going to be around 90 degrees. Try to remember that! Stop cutting across the top of the street you’re turning into, hoping that you’ll save a few feet of travel, meanwhile causing me to slam my brakes on and you to swerve foolishly to miss hitting me as I’m innocently approaching the stop sign!

slow down

This is the sign (read “highway” instead of “freeway”) that I would like to see in Sobey’s parking lot. In most parking lots, in fact. What is wrong with you people? It’s a parking lot! Why can’t I push my shopping cart from the store back to my car without taking my life in my hands? Are you really in that much of a hurry or do you just like the sound of your tires squealing as you tear around from one aisle of the lot to the next. If anyone’s doing a survey, put me down in favour of speed bumps. Signs, unfortunately, don’t work.

Before we leave the parking lot (and I’m going to include this even though my sweet husband is sometimes one of the offenders): Stop wasting everybody’s time by trying to back into that parking space while the rest of us are forced to sit there in a pathetic and growing line-up watching as you shunt around, trying to get ‘er straightened out, completely oblivious to the traffic that can’t get past while you indulge this whim! It doesn’t make any sense anyway. You’re at the grocery store/mall/Canadian Tire! Chances are, you’ll want access to your trunk when you come out. Why not park so your trunk is closer and your life will be easier?

That’s all. You know who you are so smarten up. (And please feel free to tell me what bugs you out there on the streets and highways.)

P.S. You will have noticed that I didn’t attribute any gender characteristics to these bad driving habits — maybe with the exception of referring to “my sweet husband.” However, here is an article on the subject from a newspaper in Bangalore, of all places, that amused me.

St. Joseph's

On Sunday, October 17, Brother André Bessette, founder of St. Joseph’s Oratory in Montreal, was canonized and is now Saint André. Thinking about him made me remember this lovely poem, written by Raymond Fraser. The poem first appeared in the collection Waiting For God’s Angel and it was also included in the selected poems, Before You’re A Stranger. Ray said I could publish it here — and here it is. I’m sure you’ll like it.

St. Joseph’s Oratory

It’s like a festival day Sunday afternoon at St. Joseph’s
although it was cold today when we went
the church and the yard were alive with various people
families and sweethearts, priests, pilgrims, urchins,
      old folks
they came by foot up the long pathway or drove in
      family cars
or came in pilgrim buses making a special tour

the restaurant that looks like a beach house was full
with people eating hotdogs and French fries and
and the souvenir shop was crowded
we went into the church Sharon and I and looked at
      Brother André’s heart
and at his robes and shoes and rubbers and his hat
and photographs of him
and we saw him in the wax likeness in his bedroom and
      his office
and dying in the hospital
we saw his picture everywhere on magazine covers and
      souvenirs and colour slides
and we saw the place where he’s buried without his
beside two coin boxes
while we were there a young husband and wife placed
      their infant
on his casket and said some prayers
there were long rows of candles climbing halfway up the
some lit and others waiting to be lit for a donation


we rode the escalator to the unfinished basilica with its
      massive organ
that thundered terrifying Catholic music
and its Egyptian-looking arches

earlier we’d been to the downstairs chapel where a
was giving a sermon in French
while tourists walked in and out
giving the place the once-over
we didn’t buy any relics or grace or merit of any kind
we saw in the guest book at Brother André’s tomb that
      Adam and Eve
had been there because they’d signed their names and
      they were from Montreal
when we left the church we went to the cafeteria and
      had hotdogs
and hot chocolate and then we went up to Brother André’s
      original little chapel
and looked at his room upstairs
we saw his statue of Christ with torn bloody flesh looking
something from a chamber of horrors
bloody and gouged like he’d been torn apart by lions
and we saw Brother André’s extra bed where he kept a
      friend for company
because of the visits he had from the Evil One which
      must have been harrowing
and then we went home half-froze from waiting for a

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