Lester Pete … from America – Chapter 2

Hello again Ely, greetings from across the big pond!

I continue to receive comments regarding the perception of American travellers and it seems that overwhelmingly, my fellow countrymen (and women) are appalled by “those� Americans travelling abroad. This week was also curious as I encountered a distracted driver on the road. I wonder if folks on your side of the Atlantic have similar problems? Oh, and things are looking brighter, as in better, for our burning desert.

The Jerry Springer Life

Image: Jerry Springer

I was recently talking with an American lady friend of mine who had lived in England for three years while attending photography school. She told me about being ‘obvious’ in England and how some people automatically loved her simply for being American, while others were precisely opposite with their feelings, all without knowing anything about her personally. She witnessed a demonstration in the streets, with protestors burning American flags and carrying “Death to Americans� signs.

I have also run across people who believe we continue to have Indian uprisings.

However, she assured me that, by far, her experiences while living there were wonderful and enriching. There has also been discussion indicating that people in Europe see Americans as living the “Jerry Springer Life.� As it were, I have also run across people who believe we continue to have Indian uprisings. Well, perhaps we do, but it doesn’t involve bows and arrows or arranging the wagons into a doughnut shape. These days it involves gaming casinos on the reservations offering slots, shows, and “all you can eat� buffets.
But I digress.
I can say unequivocally, that neither I nor anyone I know would go on national TV and talk about carnal indiscretions with their uncle’s cousin’s sister’s mom. And we wouldn’t wait to bring our poor unsuspecting brother into the television spotlight to inform him that not only have we all slept with his wife, but, like it or not, he is indeed gay. Nor would we wait for TV cameras to pound upon and flail about with our bitter social enemies in an attempt to create a wardrobe malfunction and increased ratings. Can anyone say bad fiction?

We actually keep that stuff where it belongs, hidden in the closet alongside the articulated skeletons. So to those of you wondering: No, we are NOT like those people on the show. They make us all look bad. As a rule, we are much better actors.

Eye Curling Traffic Patterns

Last week I was driving across town, which around here practically calls for packing a lunch. While waiting at a traffic light, I glanced to my right and noticed a young girl contorted inside a truck in the next lane. It took me a moment to realize that in her left hand she was holding an open round makeup thingy, the kind that contains tan powder and a round mirror slightly smaller than a standard CD disk. (I later described what I saw to my sister and she confirmed it is referred to as a ‘compact,’ although it wasn’t all that small.) The young lady held the opened device in her palm and was resting the back of her hand against the steering wheel. Her other hand was held up toward the right side of her face and contained what I recognized as an eyelash curler (I easily recognized this device although I don’t use one – any more). I also know enough about this contraption to know it clamps onto one’s eyelashes, giving them a uniform curl. It also holds the user’s eyelid in place. Stationary. When the light turned green, I slowly began to accelerate and took a quick look to my right and observed my lane neighbor moving forward at a similar pace. What surprised me was her right eye still held hostage by the curling device and the steering wheel being manipulated by the back of her left hand.

And how does one concentrate on lash curling, compact holding AND driving

I was in disbelief. I did a double take. With the condition of the local roads around here, I don’t feel comfortable rubbing my eye while driving, much less attaching a semi-medical looking instrument to its upper lid. And how does one concentrate on lash curling, compact holding AND driving, and all the while preventing serious eyeball damage? The only thought that came to mind was: idiot! Ok, it was more like stupid idiot! I cannot believe the carelessness of drivers like these. These drivers who are busy doing things OTHER than driving and paying attention to the road and surrounding traffic. This type of dangerous behavior has to stop… Anyway, back to my lane buddy, I was then examining the condition of her truck. I was amazed it wasn’t’ covered in dents, crunches, and dings. It had no smashed fenders, no crinkled bumpers. None. Zero. Her movements inside the truck were fluid and not the least bit frantic – an indication in my mind that this was likely her standard driving procedure.

So, as it turns out, I was watching perhaps a little too intently and didn’t immediately notice the car in front of me applying brakes. I glanced forward barely in time to hit my stopping pedal and swerve to the left, narrowly missing the slowed car. In the commotion, my 44 ounce diet soda tipped and spilled into my lap. The cold shot through my trousers and generated an involuntary flinch which caused me to drop my cell phone flinging it under the driver’s seat. The nerve of some people!

Desert on Fire – update

Image: Forest Fire

Currently available figures tell us that the number of scorched desert acres in Arizona have topped 700,000 acres. Fortunately, we are having a nice robust start to our yearly monsoon and the moisture in the air along with the accompanying lower temperatures have drastically slowed down the spread of the wildfires. Things are looking up.

9 replies
  1. Amanda Hasse
    Amanda Hasse says:

    Way to go! It’s sad how many people these days feel the need to multitask while driving. I imagine that it’s much easier to observe these stupidheads when you’re a passanger. At least you won’t normally feel the shocking cold of a 44 ounce diet soda spilling all over your lap.
    love ya much, Amanda

  2. Lester Pete
    Lester Pete says:

    Perhaps Mr. Kernal does not know better after all. While mine was a specific example to the extreme, it is common to observe people similarly distracted while performing the important task of responsible vehicle navigation. Those are the “plural” about whom I speak. Yes, mascara application and mirror checkups are all too commonplace. I have also witnessed men shaving (I hope exclusively men) and the other day as I was driving, I glanced over the top of my newspaper to see the fellow in the SUV ahead of me watching the AM news on his drop down LCD screen. Ok, I am kidding here, I never read the newspaper.

    In addition, I do not ever partake in any form of hot beverage. I never mastered the requisite coordination to prevent severe tongue and lip blistering.

  3. Harley Bryan Kernal III
    Harley Bryan Kernal III says:

    First things first: Mr. Jorgensen does have a way of entertaining a reader!

    But…Mr. Jorgensen appears to be engaging in the same “bad fiction” that he apparently finds so appalling (i.e. his reference to Jerry Springer). Does he not realize that although his “Woman Applies Makeup While Driving” sample size totals (let me get out the old calculator here) ONE, he immediately leaps to the plural by referring to “these drivers who are busy doing things other than driving.” If I didn’t know better, I’d swear that Mr. J. is telling us that Makeup Maniacs are all around us, creating a danger-at-every-turn roadway for Joe American Driver. Subsequently, I was naturally a little disappointed to learn that he wasn’t drinking a 44-ounce diet hot chocolate.

    Of course I’m picking at nits here. After all, “good writing” and “bad fiction” are practically synonyms. And I would rather read good writing than do something that is both uncomfortable and ends up costing me a lot of money.

  4. Dad Pete
    Dad Pete says:

    Hmm, I thought you had given up on the 44 ounce size drinks as they won’t fit in your cup holder. I’m most dissapointed to learn Jerry Springer isn’t for real, I had so much saved up to share with him and the rest of the world. Drat, will dissapointments never end?
    Love, Dad Pete

  5. Lester Pete
    Lester Pete says:

    Exactly Karl, and body bags do a terrible number on makeup and one’s hairstyle.

    There has been discussion of legislating cell phone use in vehicles here also – but as you have discovered there, it would largely be ignored.

    By the way, my hands-free cell phone kit is awaiting installation this very moment.

  6. Karl Bedingfield
    Karl Bedingfield says:

    I too have seen actions like this in the past with the female of the species (admittedly not as extreme as your observation), I never understand why there is the need to look in the rear-view mirror to check their hair looks good. Good for who – their maker when he takes her from the mangled wreckage of the car?

    It is now illegal in Great Britain to use a mobile (cell) phone in the car if it is not attached to a hand’s free kit, not that anyone seems to take any notice.

  7. Michael L. Still
    Michael L. Still says:

    Your best story of my home land by far. Keep it coming, just what happens on our streets is enough to last for years. Keep it moving and keep it real.

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