Kate Flora: Okay, so maybe the title is a bit misleading, but read on, and you will hear about texting and bees. In March, when we drive to Florida for a month, and during the months from April to October, when we’re in Maine, we spend a lot of time on the highway. Part of the fun of driving is watching other cars, and the people in them, and chatting about what we see.
Those bees? Well, every year, various Maine crops require bees to ensure a harvest. For me, it is the commercial blueberry field in Union my husband bought me for my 55th birthday. According the most recent statement from the field manager, they rented 66 hives of bees for this year’s crop. A few years back, we were behind a huge flatbed truck stacked high with small square boxes, and all the boxes were draped with netting. Aware of the necessity of importing bees, I thought, “Beehives?” and as we got closer to the truck, I could see lots of bees buzzing around inside the netting.
When we passed the cab, we could see that the driver was texting. As a writer who is always thinking about crime and the police, I said to my husband, “Can you imagine what it would be like if that truck got into an accident?” A few months later, I read about a truckload of bees getting into an accident in Baltimore, so it wasn’t mere speculation. Imagine what that was like for the responding officers.
Another part of our driving fun is seeing the names of the various cars, and imagining a fleet with connected names. This morning we passed a car call an armada, and I said, “How can a single car be an armada?”
One time, when we passed a pathfinder, we speculated about the rest of the fleet. Give the prevalence of deer along Maine roads, should there be one called the Deerslayer? Would there be a cute little car called a “Natty Bumppo?” What about a honking big SUV called the Chingachgook? (For more fun with Fenimore Cooper characters, read Mark Twain’s essay, The Literary Offenses of Fenimore Cooper here: https://www.gutenberg.org/files/3172/3172-h/3172-h.htm )
A huge motorhome towing a very small car led to the idea of cars named after Winnie the Pooh characters, with the motorhome being the Kanga and the little towed car the Roo. But while we figured that someone might like to drive a Tigger, few would step up to purchase an Eeyore. (Which autocorrect insists on correcting to eyesore)
There there are the things that other drivers are doing. I once asked my facebook friends about things they had seen, and their adventures are far more risqué than mine. But still. There was the car ahead of me that kept stopping. Not on the highway this time, but on a city street. Each time, he would open his door, lean out, and spit. I finally realized that he was brushing his teeth while he was driving. Far more dangerous was the man in the car beside me who was using scissors to clip his nose hair at stop lights. I could only imagine what would happen if he were rear ended and the scissors went into his brain. The number of women applying make-up are legion, as are both men and women who are peering into the rearview mirror to brush or comb their hair. I imagine one of them saying, “Sorry, officer. I didn’t mean to run over that pedestrian but I couldn’t get my cowlick to lie flat.”
As the old song goes, Keep you mind on your driving, your hands on the wheel, keep your snoopy eyes on the road ahead. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DDYpr99FgEk
If you have a driving observation to share, I’d love to hear it.
And a reminder. Today is the last day to enter our body contest. Don’t miss out!
Enter the Maine Crime Writer’s
‘Where Would You Put the Body Contest’
How do you enter? Send a photograph of your chosen spot to: WritingAboutCrime@gmail.
I let Bernie out to pee one morning last week and a man drove by in a mini convertible. His passenger was a plastic skeleton wearing an ascot.
When I lived in Florida – home of the crowded highway where everyone drives 20 mph over the limit – I glanced at the car next to me and noticed the driver gripping her iPad between her hands watching what looked like an episode of Orange is the New Black while she merged onto the highway.
Flashback on the song. The next line is “We’re havin’ fun, sittin’ in the back seat, Huggin’ and a kissin’ with Fred.”