Slow Down & Enjoy The Ride

by Alan J. Claffie

Apr. 10, 2006 - Covering some old news first, I'm disappointed to see that the southern Maryland baseball folly is carrying on full steam ahead, with some relief that an enterprising private company is kicking in decent bucks for naming rights to the unbuilt stadium. So now we have the double-whammy of modern sports trappings: a taxpayer-funded stadium with a bought-and-pair-for name. It'll be nice to gather the grandchildren around and tell them about the fun time we had watching nobodies attempt to play ball on a professional level at the grand old Regency Furniture Stadium.

Wait, no, it won't.

But I'm a team player despite my opposition to the whole endeavor. The promotion going on now is to name the team. The cynic in me thinks that perhaps that should also be sold to the highest bidder, so the grandchildren can be regaled with stories of trips to Regency Furniture Stadium to watch the Southern Maryland Ken Dixon Chevrolet-Hyundai-Honda-Cadillac-And-Quality-Used-Cars. It's not without precedent, I remember the CBA team in Albany undergoing a name change from the Albany Firebirds to the Capital District Pontiacs or something like that.

Anyway the six choices for the team are about what you'd expect from small-time minor league (but not Major League Baseball-affiliated minor league) ball: random animal names and/or nouns that don't really describe anything in the area in particular... Aviators, Blue Crabs, Blue Herons, Eagles, Ospreys, and Rockfish. I'm scared!

I voted for the "Eagles" cause I imagine it might start some lawyering. They allow a comment to be added to the vote, which they probably regret. I added

"None of the nominated names are quite as good as the ones I came up with:

- Nobodies
- Not Ready For The Pros
- Freeloaders
- Your Tax Dollars At Work
- Pork Projects"

I'm not expecting a reply.

Onto new business. Since moving here in 2002 one thing has really bugged me about this town. Driving in this neck of the woods is taking one's life into his hands. There's a sense of urgency shown by those behind the wheel, and it's starting to take its toll.

We have a pretty simple four-way intersection at the entrance to this development. One road has the right-of-way, the other has stop signs in either direction. Nothing could be simpler, but still about once a month there manages to be an incident that leaves someone without a ride or at least with something to get fixed. This can happen because of just a few reasons. Either they forget to stop, or try to sneak ahead of those with the right of way, or those with the right of way are exceeding the 25 or 30 MPH speed limit and those trying to get going misjudge that speed.

None of these things should be happening!

Then there's the power struggles that ensue when those opposite each other at stop signs try to decide who got there first and, correspondingly, who gets to go first. Stuff that's learned in second grade, right? You wouldn't know it by the stare-downs and dares that result.

We have traffic light cameras along the main drag through town. I don't like them, but that's another subject for another day. But they turn what should be a driver's decision whether to continue through a yellow light or try to stop into a pretty much must-stop situation, though others might not agree. But nobody wants a moving violation, at least nobody I know, so at the first sign of yellow it's time to get on the binders.

We did that one night and the person behind us thought she could make it, so she cut hard left to go around us in the other lane. Except there was a motorcycle there (they're hard to see in the first place, at night, in a sea of headlights at a busy intersection) and the result was a motorcyclist taking a tumble and his bike skittering across the intersection on its side. The biker took it in stride; I wouldn't have been quite as calm as he.

The easy fix to this would be to eliminate the red-light cameras. That would take away the need to do a near-panic stop when green changes to yellow. But how bout that woman who changed lanes, what's the hurry? Stopping at a red light means sitting for five minutes at the very most, is five minutes worth a risky maneuver that wound up putting someone else's life in danger?

Maybe it's the Berkshire County in me but I can't fathom being in that much of a hurry all the time. Drivers around here have to learn to accept the traffic volume, take a deep breath and just deal with it. If someone does something dumb, instead of reaching for the horn they should just accept it and move on. There's no need to get in a horn-blowing or shouting match over driving when we're all just trying to get somewhere in a pretty uncooperative environment.

Not that they will.

But I digress.

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