John Grindrod: Behind the heavy hue, the youthful impetuosity often on full screen
In my current job, I spend a lot of time behind the wheel and looking through a windshield. These days, I drive a lot more than I did back when I was teaching when I spent no less than 10 hours a day in the same room, Room 16, in an old high school building in St. Marys, a building that no longer blocks the view of Skip Baughman Stadium from West South Street.
So with more time on the road, there are more opportunities to observe life at 55 to 70 miles per hour. First, I have an observation about many cars I see, one that may have occurred to many of you.
Virtually every week I see cars passing me showing no rear license plate, whether it’s a permanent plate or a temporary tag. I know a temporary tag may be displayed in the rear window if the car was recently purchased. However, the window tint on so many cars these days makes it impossible to even know if there is a tag stuck on the inside of the window let alone expect someone to read the tag. Heavily tinted cars have always annoyed me because I think it’s a deterrent to safe driving. As a driver, when I can’t see my fellow motorists and have no idea where they can turn their heads to give them an early cue of a lane change they have in mind , I think it’s dangerous.
The thought when I see these cars without license plates often goes to one of my pet peeves. As a frequent traveler, I’ve often been to states that have long since ditched traditional toll booths with a worker inside extracting fares to drive on the roads and instead gone to banks of cameras hanging overhead asphalt who take pictures of drivers’ plates so that invoices can be sent.
Now, as I’ve done in the past, as a longtime annual payer of thousands of dollars in federal taxes, taxes paid early on a quarterly basis, I don’t like having to pay extra to cross any road, be it one on land or one suspended over water as the main element of a bridge anywhere in my country, it’s you!
Having always been a pay-as-you-go guy, back then, like the pre-COVID days, paying the toll was a little less annoying for me when I was paying someone at a booth or throwing a few quarters in one of these baskets when no one was in the cabin.
But camera banks really make my blood boil. On a recent spring trip Lady Jane and I took to Ocean City, Maryland, I drove under camera banks in Pennsylvania and Maryland. Pennsylvania, as of this writing, has already charged me a couple aggravating less than $32 for using their sidewalk, and I’m still waiting for that Maryland toll shoe to drop.
Every time I see the thick window tint I always think that if I had such a vehicle and had a temporary tag behind a smoked rear window, no photo could ever pick up the tag number and no annoying toll would never land in my mailbox. However, none of the six cars I bought had heavily tinted windows.
Now, as you can tell by the title of my column, I haven’t really gotten into meat and potatoes this week, so I better get going.
Recently I was on I-75 heading south to one of my smaller accounts in Brown County, less than 40 miles from Cincinnati. I was in the left lane passing someone when suddenly a car came roaring behind me so close its bumper dove under my rearview mirror while going 70 miles per hour.
With another car in the right lane within 10 feet of the car I had just passed, I stayed in the passing lane and accelerated a bit to pass the second car. Before I could, the tailgating driver veered sharply into the right lane with his arm out the window giving me the one finger salute, what my youngest daughter Katie called “the wrong finger” when she was a kid, and then swerved left into the passing lane to leave me in her wake.
I had a good enough look when he greeted me to see that it was a young driver, possibly even a teenager, who thought little of his brashness and recklessness, only that boring old man obstructing his bat-out-of-the-Way of Hades.
Once his taillights were far ahead of me and I passed the second car and got back into the right lane, I said a little prayer that he would one day grow old enough to say his own little prayer for another impulsive young driver.
Once you reach a certain age, I think you realize the preciousness of time and the need to slow down every moment as much as possible by spending much more time in the right ways of life than in the left ones.
John Grindrod is a regular columnist for The Lima News, freelance writer and editor, and author of two books. Join it at [email protected]