Do you remember when big-rig truckers were the best drivers on the road? What has happened to those days?
I hate to brand a whole group of people, but most of the semis I’ve come across lately have tried to come across one or more lanes to flatten me. I’m not saying it’s a conspiracy – maybe the drivers invading my space are merely drunken, texting or asleep – but it’s starting to get on my nerves.
Here’s what happens: Late at night, I have the run of the interstate. Before long, though I will come up on a tractor-trailer. If it’s in the slow lane, I will move over to the center lane to pass, because I know it will slow down at the next hill. If it’s in the center lane, I will stay in the slow lane.
As I get close to the truck, though, it will suddenly move over in front of me, even though nothing around us has forced it over: No cars have entered the highway on a ramp; no one else has shifted lanes; no alien craft have landed ahead of us. Then it will slow down, forcing me to pull around and pass, which is what I was trying to do in the first place.
It’s almost as if the truckers are doing that on purpose. Why, though?
If you’re a courteous trucker, I apologize for lumping you in with those drivers. Maybe you can tell me what those other truckers are up to. Hurry, though. I don’t know how many more semis I can dodge.
WORTH THE COST: Library fines in our area are going to double in July.
Late-book fines are one expense I have never minded. That’s good, because I almost always owe the library money.
I’m not a scofflaw; I just can’t read books as fast as I used to. I read so many short news stories at work that my attention span suffers.
I also just don’t have that much time anymore to get absorbed in a thick novel or nonfiction book. In fact, I usually don’t even get around to opening library books until they are due back at the library.
LAST OF HIS KIND:
I never had trouble reading anything written by Ray Bradbury, who died last week at age 91.
He was one of the science fiction masters I grew up on, and now he has gone to join Robert A. Heinlein, Arthur C. Clarke and Isaac Asimov – writers who took up much of my early years.
Bradbury was especially good at short stories. I remember one in our ninth-grade English reader: There Will Come Soft Rains, published before I was born.
It was set in 2026, when an automated house has been left empty after a nuclear war. Its outside paint has been burned off, leaving on the walls the silhouettes of the family’s last moment: parents gardening, a boy and a girl playing catch.
Then, time catches up with the timeless house.
That was the sort of story Bradbury was good at: a mixture of nostalgia and worries about runaway futuristic technology.
I miss him already.