Driven to Extremes: Lane Etiquette
So, in a column last week I explored the issue of the passing lane on the highway. My basic point was this: There isn't a passing lane anymore. While the belief that the extreme left lane should be reserved only for overtaking vehicles may be strong in, say, Germany, in our neck of the woods it's kaput. On the Beltway, on I-66, on I-95, the reality is the same: Drivers do whatever it takes to get ahead, including passing on the right. It's like an episode of "Wacky Races" out there, with our vehicles spread out across an apocalyptic landscape, each one of us vying for an advantage, Dick Dastardly against Penelope Pitstop.
I revisit the topic in my column today and will do so again tomorrow. The flood of mail I received suggests someone could write a daily column about this issue, so vehement are the opinions held by both sides. The folks who think it's their god-given right to park in the left lane are as sure of themselves as those with itchy fingers on their headlight flashers. It's time for an informal poll. What do you think?
Perhaps the issue of lane etiquette might make a good topic for a "What Does It Mean to be a Washingtonian?" essay. This is the contest we're having. Just pen a 300-word essay that explores the unique experience of living in the Washington area--or be creative in another way: photos, a video, a rap song. I'll print our favorite entries in my column. Oh, and there's a $100 AmEx gift certificate for the top winner. Click here for details. The deadline is Dec. 31.
Strangeness in the Night
On a totally different topic: We're all glad that young Kamron Wells, the boy allegedly abducted in Fairfax County, was found safe. And it will be interesting to learn more about the circumstances, not least because the suspect is a former exotic dancer once charged with smuggling a pair of scissors into D.C. Superior Court to stab an ex-boyfriend. What I found most interesting was this line, about the man who notified police of Kamron's presence: "Milton Mooya, who lives in the house, said that an acquaintance, who he knows as Mike, knocked on his door about midnight Sunday, and asked to come inside with the woman and boy."
This is another reminder of just how boring my life is. Acquaintances hardly ever knock on my door at midnight with complete strangers in tow.
In Other News
I wonder if dry cleaners across America have Roy Pearson's picture taped up near their cash registers with a little sign: "Do not accept items from this man." Pearson is the former D.C. administrative law judge who sued a dry cleaners for $54 million for allegedly losing a pair of his pants. He's back in court today, no doubt hoping that this time he'll, um, clean up.
"Drill, baby, drill" is the chant we're hearing from some quarters these days. I have another suggestion on how to get much-needed fossil fuel: Invade the North Pole. Think about it: Where does Santa live? The North Pole. What do naughty boys and girls get in their stockings for Christmas? Coal. I don't know whether this is clean coal but this is a strategic reserve we should have our hands on. And you just know Santa has ordered a huge supply of bitumen for this holiday season. I mean the amount needed just for Wall Street vampires must be visible from space.
But you're wondering what we can give naughty boys who dip girls' pigtails in inkwells and naughty bank executives who take big bonuses while their institutions are being bailed if we're burning all of Santa's coal? Oh, there must be plenty of things. Britney Spears albums, for example. "KnightRider" DVDs. Post your suggestions in the Comments on newfangled ways to punish the naughty this holiday season.
This brings me to the best story in The Post today, about a Santa who has spread his lap at Tysons Corner Center for 18 years and just got the boot. Michael Graham just got the word from mall management that they've gone with someone else, too late for him to find a new gig. I suggest a "Santa Off." No, not a steal cage death match. Just put Graham at one end of the mall, the new Santa at the other and let the public decide who's jollier.
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