March 29, 2001

I was on my way to school this morning and noted a phenomenon which I get to witness, again and again, here in Texas.  Traffic can be killer anywhere in Texas, but Houston drivers take the trophy for “most rotten driving,” in my book.  Even racecar drivers prefer the track to the freeways of Houston.  It’s less dangerous.  But, crazed, swerving drivers are not what I’m talking about here….yet.

No, what I noticed this morning was how Texans - those hardy, beef-eatin’, boot-wearin’, steer wrestling, can do anything kinda folks - turn into total thumb sucking weenies when water falls from the sky and hits the roadway.  You can take any Cowboy Badass (Think Clint Eastwood as Outlaw Josie Wales), whack him on the butt (Well, he IS cute), put him behind the wheel of his pick’emup truck and send him on his merry way down a Houston freeway.  Add rain.  And/or, God forbid, sleet.  Watch “macho boy” turn into a three year old with a brake pedal fetish.  Tattooed and scarred rough boys jam on the brakes, too.  (You’d think that the rain was a semi coming right for them.)  And then, the little old blue haired lady one mile ahead of you panics and stops her Buick in the middle of the freeway.  Crazed, swerving drivers swerve crazily to avoid her and bash into one another, causing an instant traffic jam.  You can count on being at least an hour or two late for your first class, your first business meeting, your morning cattle roundup (Isn’t this what all Texans do?) and/or your important lunch liaison because of these folks who can’t drive in the rain.

So, why do they get so freaked?  Motor Oil accumulation.  I was given this important bit of information by a friendly, helpful good ole’ boy awhile back.  See, most everyone in Texas knows, I'm informed, that a certain amount of oil leaks out of all of the cars zipping down the road, day by day.  It heats up there and turns into an innocent sticky mess….until it rains.  Then it becomes a petroleum nightmare (think Vasoline) that turns a freeway into a veritable “Slip ‘n’ Slide” for cars.  (The way that people drive here in Houston makes outsiders cringe and cry for Mommy, anyway, but think of how much more fun it would be with Vasoline on the road, huh?)  Actually, friendly good ole’ boy slows down when it rains as a defensive maneuver from all of the blue-haired folks who are stopping their Oldsmobiles on the freeway on-ramps and calling their kids on their cell phones to complain about the bad weather.  (Their kids should tell them that the weather is ALWAYS nice in Florida….Florida is nice and warm and it never rains there.…)  The inevitable accidents (caused by uninformed motorists who know nothing about the oil accumulation, nor the blue hair syndrome) are the cause of your delay, NOT the rain, though the rain does make Macho men everywhere wear their brake pads down to a nub, slowing things considerably.  But, these Texans are the informed, the brightest of the bright.  And, the slowest of the slow.  They have “Damn Useful” information.

As it was, I made it to class a half hour late, not an hour or more, because there were no bumper-thumpers clogging the arteries this morning, only brake happy Texans afraid of the rain.  However, I did see half a double-wide mobile home on a truck near Loop 610 and Hwy. 290, parked on the side of the road.  Those pesky blue hairs….  

:~)  April