Day 1,225 – Been Busy

It has been a long time since I last posted something here. And while I have been busy I haven’t been that busy, so I have no excuse. I have been working steadily at the food cart at least three and often four days per week. I have been taking Leon and Kaylee to the dog park every day I’ve not been at the food cart. I have been increasing my proficiency with X-Plane and traveled to Las Vegas for Flight Sim Expo. I sold our beloved Range Rover and purchased a lightly used VW Tiguan. I hope, hope, to get back to writing more often as my days at the food cart draw to a conclusion. Oh, right, I will be departing my latest job I never expected to have. More on that later.

First, I Just Have to Say…

I have lived and driven cars and trucks in 6 states and traveled by VW Camper and assorted other vehicles across Canada and the US. I have logged hundreds of thousands of miles. I have never been involved in a crash of any kind. By all measures I’m a safe and, reasonably, courteous driver. 

When I was operating a bus for TriMet it became clear early on Washington drivers were problematic. But since I sold my aging Range Rover and purchased a sporty used VW Tiguan–and am therefore driving much more carefully lest I damage the insanely expensive car–I have been more astounded than ever at the antics of drivers sporting WA plates.

Until moving to Oregon, Minnesota held the record for bad drivers. I often wrote about my near misses and jaw-dropping moments on the various highways of the land of 10,000 lakes. My most common observation was the Minnesotan penchant for “any lane, any speed.” But aside from the uniquely Minnesotan habit of coming to a complete stop when trying to merge onto a highway and running out of merge lane, Washington drivers have taken the top spot in my ledger.

It is honestly surprising how many boxes on the “bad driver” checklist Washingtonians can tick. Here’s a partial list is no particular order

  • Driving insanely fast (like 90+mph) in traffic on i5 or i205 heading north, aka back to Washington from Oregon.
  • Driving full-size SUVs through the crazy-tight streets of Portland with no regard for other vehicles or pedestrians.
  • Disregarding the ubiquitous Portland “right lane ends” signs until (and occasionally beyond) the last possible second.
  • Driving insanely slowly and occasionally stopping when trying to navigate Portland neighborhoods.
  • Driving insanely slowly on i5 heading into Oregon/Portland in the far left lane.
  • Expressing an incessant almost wanton disregard for the, admittedly confusing, vagueries of Portland streets.
  • Complete disregard for the needs of city buses (a behavior I experienced daily for a while). 
  • Never signaling intentions.
  • Tailgating, like within inches both at speed and in neighborhoods.
  • Spectacular inability to navigate Portland International Airport, especially the dichotomy of “departures and arrivals” and the poorly designed cell phone waiting lot.

Californians comprise the second largest group of transplant drivers here and, by and large, they are pretty good. You can reasonably expect a CA driver to be aggressive in most situations, but this is a good thing as it is predictable. WA drivers, on the other hand, are anything but predictable. OR drivers, by and large, are easy-going and courteous frequently letting other drivers merge, or proceed at a four-way stop. WA drivers tend to stomp all over OR drivers possibly breeding a simmering resentment.

In Other News

My time at the food cart is drawing to a close. There, I said it.