Interstate 95 and I got to know each other a bit last weekend.
Madison and I fought through massive downpours from Charlotte to the Georgia-Florida line. Hurricane Joaquin churned well off the East Coast, but his thuggy thunderstorm friends decided to bust out a few windows in the Carolinas all the same. We turned off onto 95 and heard this from the GPS:
“Next turn, 542 miles.” Interstate 95 lasts a while.
It changes, from the stretch in South Carolina where you see pickups with lots of mud and deer stickers and South Carolina Gamecocks logos, to the stretch in Georgia where you see pickups with lots of mud and deer stickers and Georgia Bulldogs logos.
You also have a stretch in Florida where you see pickups with lots of mud and deer stickers and Florida Gators logos.
It’s a racetrack. “It feels like I should have a video game soundtrack station on Pandora right now,” I told my co-pilot. I found myself speeding even, switching lanes and channeling my inner Juan Pablo.
Right around Coco Beach, the trucks diminished, but the race conditions did not. I dug in against Lexuses and BMWs and sports cars I couldn’t identify. One dude cut clear across all lanes in front of me, forcing me off into defensive mode.
“!@#%!” I yelled, and Madison asked if I’d give him the finger.
“No way,” I said.
I might be Carolina tough, but I’ve also seen Miami Vice.
1. Why did they invent the car horn?
To identify you as a target motorist for pissing off the wrong guy.
Cars have had horns for about as long as they haven’t had horses. In the early 1800s, a car horn was a dude on foot who waved a red flag and blew a horn. Some innovating genius said, “hey, what if we put the horn on the car?”
By thate 1800s, car drivers could pick from bulb horns, whistles and bells.
One particularly assertive model, known as the Godin, carried the slogan “you press as you steer and your pathway is clear.”
Did you know:
- One early 1900s horn, called the Sireno, had a noise range of one mile.
- A 1968 joint study by scientists from the U.S. and Canada revealed men are more likely to honk their horns than women.
- You can buy a Dukes of Hazard Dixie air horn on eBay for $42.99.
2. How do you become a babysitter?
Tell people you’re available to babysit. Parents desperate enough will take you up on it.
Care.com outlines 13 easy steps to becoming a sitter of kids, totally legit. For ages 14 and older, care.com connects you with parents in need of babysitters. The site even has a pay calculator to determine what to charge.
I babysat many kids back in the day. My favorite family was the Welchs. Their two boys were so chill, I think they ate one carrot stick each (a baby carrot at that!) and were in bed by 4:45 p.m.
I’d stay up and listen to their parents’ Huey Lewis and the News records for the next seven hours.
When they got home, the mom would sway back and forth with a buzzed smile and hand me a wad of bills. On my way out, the dad would say, “hey, don’t let me forget to pay you!” and start rummaging around in his pockets.
He didn’t even care when I said his wife already had paid me.
It was like getting a tip on a restaurant tab you’ve already added 18% to.
I definitely recommend the rouge route, kids.
3. Does Wonder Woman have her own movie?
It’s coming, and I hope it has a rogue element to it, too.
CinemaBlend.com says it’ll be here in 2017. Gal Gadot will play Wonder Woman, aka Diana Prince, not that soccer coach we had for a minute. You know the one.
Nothing against Gal, but these would be my finalists to portray the toughest woman superhero:
JAIMIE ALEXANDER | The Blindspot star is bad-ass enough for the job. This South Carolina native portrayed a warrior goddess of Asgard in Thor.
EMMA STONE | Despite her affinity for hellish kids show iCarly, Emma would be perfect as Wonder Woman, going from redhead to raven. She’s my favorite Spiderman love interest ever.
STANA KATIC | She could redeem herself for falling for another writer in the TV show Castle. If not, I’ll bring in a wild card, Bianca Kajlich, who was poor like me until she landed on Rules of Engagement.
4. How often do you have to do jury duty?
Not often enough.
I say this not out of civic pride and enthusiasm to serve my community, but because of the day of relaxation. Each time I’ve served, I haven’t been as much as called into the next room for vetting.
Instead, I stayed in the lounge area, a collection of comfy stadium seats and coves for laptop use.
They show movies in the county courthouse. And have a nice pool table. The jury duty lounge is a lot like where I work, actually. Last time, I went ahead and finished the game of pool I found myself wrapped up in when they announced we could go home.
Your local federal court can summons you once every two years. So too can your state. If you’re lucky. And they have lounges like my county does.
5. Do you always listen to NPR?
Always. Except for when I don’t.
I tune in NPR whenever I’m in the car. There’ve been exceptions. I personally protested the way WFAE reported on the Randall Kerrick trial recently. I didn’t like how news reports included race only when doing so could incite.
I’d hook up my smartphone and cue up Pandora, then.
I’d prefer Paul McCartney and Wings to unbalanced reporting. I gave up even Pandora. Memories and lyrics being especially tough to take. I turned to the Pandora station for relaxing yoga music, which calmed me – and began to put me to sleep from the inside.
(Calling up Illusions continuous mix helped a little, but … )
I’m now listening to NPR again, every time I drive. I listen to Pandora music, with lyrics and music and everything. (Otis Redding’s “Stand by Me” plays as I write this). We cycle around to the good stuff, eventually.
If you stay sharp and keep your GPS aimed right, you’ll be all right.
So won’t you stand by me?