Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Unspoken Traffic Rules... Texas vs California


One thing that I have noticed since I moved to Texas is the rules of the road are completely different. Coming from Southern California to Farmland, USA has been a refreshing adjustment...until you get in your car. I had no idea the things you are expected to know. I will give a few examples of my observational Texas driving... but I am mostly still like a deer in the head lights while learning these unspoken rules. Why didn't my Texas license come with a handbook??

Rule #1
All 3 lanes must yield (or, more appropriately, stop the flow of all traffic for two miles) on the service road for vehicles exiting the highway. Sounds easy enough, right? That is until you are driving 50 mph and can only determine if someone is exiting the highway when you approach the exit and are required to cock your head 180 degrees behind you like an owl. Holy collision, Batman!

Rule #2
Never drive less than 80 mph on a two-lane, back country farm road. You will be angrily passed by very large farm trucks, tractors, horses, cows, a flock of sheep...Nothing would shock me. If you want to drive like a grandma, do it on the highway.

Rule #3
Never question the abundance of troopers that lurk in the grasslands off of the highway. When they have only seen one car pass in the last 15 minutes... you WILL be doing something wrong. They will make sure of it... and light you up like the 4th of July.

Rule #4
Texans LOOOOVE their horns. And I'm not talking the casual slight toot of the horn when you are not paying attention with the red light turns green. I am talking about 8 cars trying to merge onto a service road, at one time, and you have the audacity to let another car into traffic. HONK. Socially shamed. Never make a mistake while driving. You WILL be called out. You WILL be honked at. And it will most likely be from my husband.(He's learned this rule remarkably fast and seems to enjoy it thoroughly.)

Rule #5
When you hear sirens blazing behind you, keep with the flow of traffic. No one pulls over for emergency vehicles here!! I am flabbergasted by this! My instinct is to always pull over to the right... but when I look around, I'm the only idiot doing it! Unbelievable!

Oh, how I miss the days of having it all figured out! Southern California driving was brutal at times, but at least I felt like I understood and could abide by the unspoken rules of the road. For those of you that haven't "figured out" Southern California driving...let me assist you with what I like to call:

Southern California Rules of the Road: A Crash Course (No pun intended) in Unspoken, but Much Understood, Traffic Rules… MELISSA'S TOP TEN LIST

When two vehicles on different roadways reach an uncontrolled intersection at the same time, the vehicle with less bling must yield. For example, if you pull up to a stop sign and you are cruising your tricked out Honda Sedan on very respectable Dubs… and an Escalade on Dub Ochos happens to roll up at the same time… you must yield to the Ochos, for they are more worthy of the right-of-way. If your ochos are spinners, you need not stop at all… roll down your window as you cruise through the intersection, point to your wheels, and all will be excused.

If, at any distance, you see a pedestrian approaching a crosswalk, accelerate immediately. It may not be too late. You still may have a chance to beat the pedestrian to the crosswalk. If the pedestrian insists on taking the risk and presents their body as a moving target in front of your vehicle, slam on your brakes until you are within inches of clipping their heels. Not only will that give them a good scare, but it will teach them a lesson for the next time they think they are invincible. This technique is applicable to any and all situations involving pedestrians... including, but not limited to, intersections, crosswalks, parking lots, and neighborhoods.

During a lane change: Never, and I mean NEVER use your blinker. A blinker is an invitation to be mocked. When another car signals their desire for a lane change, Southern California drivers are programmed to automatically speed up while murmuring to themselves “I don’t think so, Buddy”. A proper lane change can be best compared to a “sneak attack”. Do not look over your shoulder. Do not give any other driver a suspicion of your intention. Through subtle glances in your side mirror, take note of the amount of inches between you and the vehicle in the next lane. If you can convince yourself beyond a reasonable doubt that you will not scratch metal… make your move. (Objects may be closer than they appear does not apply to Southern California.)

There is no such thing as a passing lane. Pass in whatever direction gives you an opportunity, and pass as often as you would like. Time is our most prized possession in Southern California. If weaving in and out of traffic and changing lanes 28 times can shave off 3 minutes on your morning commute… that is time well spent. And there really is no comparison to the feeling of watching a car weave in and out of traffic and not save any time. The only indisputable topper… is watching the same car get lit up by the POOOO-leeece. This may very well define euphoria.
Driving is a menial chore that we haphazardly perform while we multitask. Nothing is more appalling than the thought of wasting precious time doing useless activities, such as watching the road, during our time in the car. Southern Californians have an exceptional ability to prioritize a maximum amount of tasks in a minimal amount of time. Unfortunately, driving is not usually very high on the priority list. It is not uncommon to simultaneously be changing the tune on your ipod and eating lunch, all while safely talking on your Bluetooth. From reading the paper over a cup of coffee to applying makeup or shaving… there really is not a multi-tasking activity that would be considered “shocking” to witness during your morning commute.

Everything and anything are grounds for rubbernecking. A fender-bender accident, flat tire, sirens 4 miles off of the freeway…smoke vaguely in the distance… a train… a bicyclist…Cal trans… Orange-suited, fine quality citizens picking up trash for community service (chuckling to self, “sucks to be them”.)…someone getting pulled over by the 5-0 (again, sucks to be them)…any event, circumstance, situation or distraction that could possibly be more interesting than what is currently going on inside our vehicle will cause immediate slowing, if not stopping, to visually investigate the scene. Once we realize that we can’t see anything and curse the car next to us for also slowing, thus, blocking our view… we carry on with whatever activity we were previously engaged in.

When we are unfortunate enough to have a flat tire or car trouble, we are immediately on the phone with AAA or a tow truck. All the while, praying that someone doesn’t stop to try to help. We’ve seen horror movies. We know what happens to the stranded motorist when a car pulls over to help; they are never seen again. Then we chuckle to ourselves, “who are we kidding?” This is Southern California. Your car could be on fire, blocking three lanes on the freeway and everyone would drive around you…inevitably slowing to rubberneck at your misfortune with a “sucks for them”. Of course you can expect an occasional horn blow to let you know what an inconvenience you’ve been. Rest assured, not one car will stop to help. Even our creeps don’t have that kind of time.

Word association is an important part of drivers education in Southern California. 91 Freeway= Parking Lot. Pedestrian= Accelerate. Cyclist= Get on the side walk. Speed Limit= Suggestion. Freeway interchange= learn to merge. Yellow light= hold on tight. Stop sign= Roll through. Giving the bird= invitation for road rage and/or murder. Seatbelt= duh. Safety device= packing heat. Temecula Red light= 10 more cars drive through. Interstate 15= Auto baun.

The abominable vehicular sin, which so happens to also be a blatant invitation for road rage and/or retaliation: Failure to give a courtesy wave after mercifully being let into a line of traffic. There is no other single action that will provoke an incalculable amount of rage combined with a psychotic level of wrath. It is inescapably a recipe for disaster.

Finally, the most important rule to heed in Southern California….. There is nothing more dangerous than an insured Kia Rio. Avoid them at all costs. Easily replaceable, completely disposable, utterly dispensable… and costs approximately the same as a nice meal, minus dessert. They truly have nothing to lose. Anyone who would make a conscious decision, and feel good about the purchase of this portable death trap must operate with few, if any, marbles. And they drive accordingly.

Extra Credit Bonus Points: Our motorcycle cops have the best posture in the country. Only those with the sub human ability to sit in a perfect 90 degree angle can attain the prestigious status of MotoCop.

Anyone with additional observations... please share! :)

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Monday, February 9, 2009

The Doctor is... IN!!!

I just saw the new movie, He’s Just Not That into You, this past weekend and I must say I really enjoyed it. I read the book when it came out a few years ago… and agreed with the point the book is trying to make. Unfortunately, I happen to be old-fashioned and error on the side of traditional etiquette so some of the chapters I felt were irrelevant…but that’s a whole other discussion. Anyway, the fact of the matter is many girls have a difficult time accepting blatant signs from guys. Notice that I didn’t say they had a difficult time READING the signs… they are just unwilling to accept them. Girls have excellent situational awareness when it comes to noticing they haven’t been called for a second date. If we didn’t, we wouldn’t analyze it constantly with any girlfriend that will listen, replay what we may have done or said wrong, interpret the goodbyes a million different ways…and fill in the blanks to every moment that we can’t remember. Yes, we are VERY good at reading, interpreting and analyzing interpersonal behavior. We thrive on it. But rejection is not something we take well. In fact, did you know that more women in the world are afraid of abandonment than they are of death?? True story. So we take any measure of protecting ourselves from the unacceptable reality that someone might not want us. Accordingly, most of the “great relationship” that we believe is forming during a first date may very well be one-sided. It’s funny how girls can view things the way they wish they were…and think a situation into existence. It’s no wonder why guys and girls never seem to be on the same page!


Let me hold my horses for just one moment here!

Certainly girls are not the only clueless ones when it comes to starting a relationship! What about all of those “nice guys” that never seem to get noticed? Undoubtedly, we all know a few of these guys. Chances are, we are probably really good friends with them and truly believe that they deserve a wonderful girl. But we don’t want to date them. We want to date the mysterious guy… we want to take a chance! Not play it safe! And we all know how well relationships with those kinds of guys end up.

I started a mental list of relational observations quite a while ago. However, after seeing the movie this weekend, the wheels in my noodle started turning once again. Without further ado, please allow me to share my professional diagnosis and commentaries to very common relationship blunders. Consider this my piece of advice to the true “nice guys” but girls… I have your backs, too… because, lets face it, not all guys are nice.

Do not fret, Dr. Farley is IN!

Diagnosis 1: The Broken Heart Syndrome

Please, please PLEASE never begin a prospective relationship whining about your broken heart. Or how mean your ex was to you. Or how you were dumped. Or cheated on. Or left alone. Or lied to. Nothing screams “emotionally unavailable, bitter and seeking revenge” better than this. We’ve all been played like a fiddle. Get over it.

Good guys: In all reality, this may be a sincere attempt at being honest and open. Save the sympathy card for when you really need it—the beginning of a relationship is NOT that time. Girls will react in one of two ways: they will run faster than Flo Jo in the 100 meter dash. OR they will automatically be struck with the savior syndrome… in which they accept their mission to transform into a hero, rescue you from drowning in an ocean of self-pity just to prove that they won’t be like your ex….they are different. Eventually they will realize that you are far too much effort and will abort mission: Rescue Crybaby in hopes of finding a Man with a little more resilience.

Girls: This tactic is like a colorful assortment of Brach candy for a Chester in a van with no windows. Attractive, alluring and almost always a success. The odds are… you are dealing with a narcissistic little- boy-in-a-man’s body that sees you as nothing more than a tool to get over his ex…. OR a creep that is manipulating your compassion and sympathy to earn your trust, stroke his ego and, ultimately, play you like a fiddle. Take off the cape. RUN. And don’t look back.

Diagnosis 2: The Bitter Boy Syndrome

All women are: insert any adjective here. And by “any” I mean anything negative…. Because that is all bitter boy has to say about women. They are all evil. They are all mean. They are all cheaters. They are all liars. They are all superficial. They are all money hungry. They are all fake. I could go on for days… because bitter boy has a big mouth and likes to be heard.

Sure, his rants may be a much needed cathartic release to express his feelings of rejection and inadequacy… but save it for your therapy sessions. I don’t get paid 100 bucks an hour to listen to your nonsensical hogwash.

Good guys: My goodness, I hope you have better sense than to let this kind of rubbish leak out of your Lisa Frank Diary.

Girls: If you even consider dating a bitter boy… be kind enough to listen to his rant in its entirety and then politely ask for the number to his therapist. You will need it. There is no excuse for self-esteem that low.

Diagnosis 3: The Nice Guy Syndrome

Give a woman everything she ever wanted… and the only thing she won’t want is YOU. There is nothing more unattractive than a weak, submissive man. Do not agree for the sake of being agreeable. For heaven’s sake, have an opinion. And I am not talking about choosing a restaurant or a movie… I am talking boundaries. Every woman will test your boundaries to an extent… and most of the time they do it to see how far you will let them go. Women want to be with a guy they respect; and a woman does not have respect for a man that allows her to walk all over him. In fact, the only woman you will be able to keep around is one that desperately desires power and control. Women are attracted to MEN, not sissy LaLas.

Diagnosis 4: The Blast from the Past… AGAIN Syndrome

There is a time and a place to discuss everything….including your ex. It is normal to be curious about past relationships… but that can be covered in one or two conversations. Do not compare notes…. Or repeatedly bring up examples of what so and so used to do… and for goodness sake…. Do not talk trash on your ex. If you were lied to, cheated on, played, treated poorly, etc…. those events speak for themselves. There is really no need to reiterate how much you hate them, how they hurt you or how much you regret the relationship. Unless of course you are trying to make it obvious that you still care about your ex. Leave the past where it belongs… if you have any hope of building a future with a person in the present.

Diagnosis 5: The Dutch Syndrome

Good Guys: Going dutch: just don’t do it. Can you scream I’m cheap any louder? If you do not have the means to go on a date… suggest a walk in the park, or something that is free. I would hope you would have enough pride to not let a woman pay for you on a date that YOU asked her out on.

Girls: So it’s obvious that a certain guy is interested in you… and, well, the "looks decent" wagon didn’t exactly pass him by… so you accept an invitation to dinner with him. All is going well at dinner… until of course the check comes. Awkward. Traditional roles suggest that he is the man… and he did ask you out, he should feel an obligation to pick up the tab… but out of modern courtesy (and of course a test) you offer payment for the bill. So help me, if he accepts…. Politely pay and then immediately retreat to the safe place in your head and begin to think of all of the other ways you could have spent the last two hours of your life. Total Schmuck. Better yet, since he feels most comfortable in the feminine role, invite him over to your house for dinner a few days later. Upon arrival, show him to the kitchen and reveal to him that you thought it would be nice if he could cook for you… and then do the dishes. At least you will feel a sense of accomplishment after 2 hours of entertainment. And you can rest assured that he will never call you again. You successfully killed two birds with one stone. Congratulations.The second part of my diagnoses is for the girls as the following relationship illnesses will never be possessed by a TRUE good guy. It’s impossible. Take heed. Take watch. Take cover! And NO! You cannot change one of these. You are not the exception! You are not the cure! Goodness gracious girl, don’t let your heart near one of these monsters! Like Zoinks!

Diagnosis 6: The Psycho Magnet Syndrome

Every guy is allotted one psycho ex-girlfriend. These guys like to play the victim game… like they don’t know how it happens, but they are a psycho magnet. How long does it seriously take before one realizes they are in a relationship with a total nut job? Moreover, one might ask: how does he continue to attract these kinds of girls? Au contraire my good friend…the real question is: why is HE repeatedly attracted to psycho girls? After all, it takes two to tango… and he certainly isn’t rejecting his role in the dance. And now is the time to become concerned. He is a repeat offender in choosing to engage in relationships with crazy girls. And he now likes you. You might want to think about a mental evaluation… strictly for precautionary measures. My best advice: Pack your bags… you will be admitting yourself into the nuthouse sooner than you think. As soon as the relationship ends, so will your sanity… and your reputation. Guess what? You’ve now joined the psycho club. It’s a fun title to give all of your ex-girlfriends…. And it certainly aides in taking away any blame, fault or responsibility from him as to why yet another relationship dissolved. That girl was crazy! No body wants to be with a crazy person and only a fool continues to date girls who have lost their marbles. The odds are… none of his ex-girlfriends are crazy… he is probably a liar who covers up his shortcomings with a tall tale. If you find out that a guy has dated more than one psycho…. Exit this horror of a relationship before you become the next Nightmare on Elm Street.

Diagnosis 7: The Weight Watcher Syndrome

No, he’s not a member of Weight Watchers. But he will pay for your membership—if you’ll agree go. After all, you have gained 10 lbs of winter weight since you started dating 6 months ago… and that 10lbs has brought you up to grand total of 120 lbs, no wait, 119 lbs (you weren’t allowed to eat past 4pm yesterday). This guy will have the audacity to suggest that you guys diet “together” and he’ll even lovingly offer to write up a personal work-out plan that just so happens to target the hips, thighs and butt for you 3 days a week. (oh, you’re not getting off that easy, an hour of cardio the other 4 days) After all, summer will be here before you know it. Enjoy salads (with light Italian dressing), pretzels, tuna and water (hold the lemon) in his presence. You will count down the seconds until he leaves your house so you can actually eat. You are beginning to fear what you are capable of doing to get your hands on a piece of chocolate. You will be forced to explain why your car smells like Del Taco, and after 1 minute of lying you break down with guilt and offer to take up a gym rehab program. Unless this guy is a personal trainer and has a body like A.C. Slater, the only weight you need to lose is 185 lbs of creep. Girls put enough pressure on themselves as it is… the last thing you need is an insecure creep counting your calories. I would bet 2 months pay that this guy probably would admit to being a “9- 9.5” on a scale of 1-10. In reality, you would give him a 7 on a good day. He’s not as hot as he’d like to think… and if he wants to play “passive-aggressively find your faults”… you can “passive-aggressively” point to his gut. Amen.

Diagnosis 8: The Hopper Syndrome

There is a reason why certain guys have a habitual pattern of going from one woman to the next. I like to call these guys “hoppers”. Now usually, you won’t know a guy is a hopper right off the bat. The chances are you will have a whirlwind romance with all the trimmings… you will capture his complete interest… you will be the best thing since sliced bread to him… and within a short period of time… he will leave you high and dry. No explanation. No remorse. And… on to the next lady on the list. Guys like this either: a) live for emotional highs or b)have no clue what they really want in a woman or c) are not happy with themselves and, therefore, will never be happy with who they are with. In the back of their minds, they always think there is someone better out there. There are very few ways to detect a hopper until after you’re left wondering what happened… all the while wondering how one day you could be perfect and the next day you aren’t even good enough for a phone call. Once you’ve been hopped… sit back and watch the show. This guy will go from girl to girl to girl to girl… and trust me, you will ALWAYS have a second chance with a guy like this. The challenge of hopping a girl for the second time around is irresistible for the hopper. When this opportunity arises… choose what you will for your bittersweet retaliation…. but whatever you do… DON’T fall for him twice. Remember, the biggest mistake you can make in life is believing that the person who hurt you the most won’t do it a second time. Remember that a true lady never seeks revenge for wrongdoings against her. As tempting as it may be, you are better than that. Rest assured that the extent of this guy’s problems is far beyond measure and he will get his in the end. That, I promise you.

Diagnosis 9: The Rebounder Syndrome

The mission of a rebounder, should they choose to accept, is to scope out the most unsuspecting targets and proceed to attack, throwing caution to the wind. Caution is a tool used for someone contemplating a long haul. Rebounders make a conscious decision to use a girl as a tool, without regard to the girl’s feelings. There is no need for caution if your heart is not involved. Rebounding is a game of the mind, not of the heart. Take note, there is a big difference between hoppers and rebounders. Rebounders are selfishly looking for a temporary fix to numb the pain of a broken heart. While the actions of rebounders are in no way justified… they usually don’t have the emotional energy to invest into a hopping situation. However, a bitter rebounder is like the start of an avalanche. It may start with a small amount of snow… but time and speed may accumulate enough energy to start an avalanche of hopping.

Diagnosis 10: The Scavenger Syndrome

They are the guys that see a girl with a broken heart and go in for the kill. They’ll take advantage of her emotional disability and distraught to see what will happen while she is weak and unstable. He loves to take on the role of your new “best friend”… and what is so ironic is 9 times out of 10, he is your ex-boyfriend’s best friend. He’ll find out you broke up and call you out of concern. You think it’s a little odd that he is “on your side” since he has been best friends with your ex since the 9th grade. That’s your first warning. He has no sense of loyalty…nor tact, respect or class. He may not even have a conscience. If he is willing to backstab his best friend, do you think you are going to be any different? Save your sob sessions for your mom or sister or best friend. What guy wants to hear about a girl’s broken heart unless they have ulterior motives? Schmuck.

BONUS Diagnosis: The Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing Syndrome

They can be compared to the Sirens in Greek mythology. Approaching sailors were drawn to them by their enchanting singing, causing them to sail on the cliffs and drown.

The most vicious of all attackers. The realm of deceit and betrayal in which they operate can very seldom be detected on any kind of emotional radar. They are the least expected to cause such atrocities. Many a times they speak Christianese fluently. They are the Judas of relationships. They say all of the right things…all the things he knows you want to hear. Master manipulators that operate on a level that is almost sub-human. You will have no reason not to trust these guys completely… it is the “good guy that finishes last” that you finally end up giving a chance. He will act like he doesn’t think he’s good enough for you…and by doing so, will give you a sense that he appreciates you. WRONG. On every level… wrong! He does not appreciate you; his level of manipulation is beyond any level that you’ve ever experienced. Utterly undetected. The only way you will know you were with one is at the end. When you are completely devastated and your heart is on the ground in a million pieces…. You will truly realize that he was nothing of the person you thought he was. He is a complete stranger, hiding everything he truly is under a mask of deceit. And he does it so well that you will only be able to see it in hindsight.

Extra Credit!

A little test to see if you are with a man or an immature boy in a man’s body…

A real man does not pursue a woman without certainty of his interest or intentions.

A real man does not compromise a woman’s morals or values.

A real man honors commitment.

A real man keeps his word.

A real man doesn’t break plans when a better invitation comes along.

A real man does not seek to be nice, he seeks to be good.

A real man acknowledges and appreciates femininity.

A real man appreciates when you get all dolled up and doesn’t complain that you took too long getting ready.

A real man not only makes you feel comfortable when you don’t have a lick of makeup on, he makes you feel beautiful, too.

A real man is not intimidated by a woman’s success.

A real man is not threatened by an intelligent, educated or self-sufficient woman. In fact, he loves that about you.

A real man makes you feel special.

A real man makes you feel worthy of attention.

A real man does not string a woman along.

A real man never plays games with a woman’s heart.

A real man recognizes a woman’s heart as one of her most beautiful assets. He is not burdened or inconvenienced by her sensitivity as he reaps the benefits of her compassion. He never uses her sensitivity as a scapegoat for uncompassionate, irresponsible, immature, reckless, careless or foolish behavior. Instead, he instinctively and intuitively protects, guards and defends her heart from hurt and harm.

I hope my insights and observations have helped or perhaps served as wacky, zany entertainment. But lets be realistic, you’ve dated a few of the aforementioned…we all have. And we know better now. In Dr. Laura’s words… Now, go do the right thing!

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