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Column: THE GRAY LINE TOUR

Leonard Gray / L’Observateur / February 21, 1998

BAD DRIVERS STILL MAKE ME GRUMBLE

One of the best things about writing a column is the comments you get about it. Two of the favorite columns of mine people have commented onwere the one about meeting my wife at the airport with roses and the one about bad drivers in Louisiana.

Well, there’s an update on the flower situation. I was very good this yearwith Valentine’s Day. She was feeling blue because she had to work allthat day and I was scheduled to work that evening. Hence, we would beable to spend almost no time together, never mind do anything of a romantic nature.

What I did was, a week in advance, order a dozen long-stemmed red roses.

Where she works on the weekend is inaccessible to delivery persons, so I picked them up and delivered them myself. Then I took her to lunch at alittle cafe, spent the afternoon with her at work and took her out to dinner before I had to go to work myself.

The rewards were manifold. She bragged about those flowers but, betteryet, she bragged about me! For a husband of 18 years to generate that response is an accomplishment, indeed.

I continue to see bad drivers in Louisiana. People apparently will enter amain road from a side road or driveway and take not one glance behind them before doing so. I can’t begin to tell you how many times I’ve had toslam on my brakes in recent weeks to avoid some driver who sails out in front of me without a glance or pause.

Road rage continues to be a problem. Of course, I may be a cause of thatrage to other drivers at times. I’ll get on Interstate 10 at the U.S. Highway51 interchange headed for the New Orleans area. Usually, I’ll slide into themiddle of the three lanes at that point and stay there until it becomes two lanes.

Often, I’ll find myself stuck behind some huge 18-wheeler, its stacks spewing out clouds of black smoke. I’ll speed up slightly and try to pass,my little four-cylinder Toyota puffing and trying to catch this truck and get ahead of it.

At this point, some supercharged sports car will zoom up behind me, just when I’m alongside the truck, and angrily flash its headlights into my rearview mirror. I can almost see the fury of the driver, angry because I’Min HIS way, even for a moment.

As soon as I possibly can, I pull ahead and slide into the lane ahead of the 18-wheeler, at which point the sports car zips past me in excess of 80 mph. I shake my head and wonder where the state troopers are.I refuse to apologize for having a small car. Sorry, friend, I’m pedaling asfast as I can.

Leonard Gray is a reporter for L’Observateur.

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