January 7, 2013
Atlanta is an exciting place to drive, isn’t it? I do a lot of driving for work, both locally and throughout the southeast, and Atlanta is hands-down the most challenging metropolitan area in which to get from Point A to Point B alive and un-dented.
Over the years, I’ve developed a few driving phobias, situations I encounter out on the road that make me so nervous I almost panic. Let’s see, a stack of ladders on top of a truck or a van gives me the willies. Who tied them down and how much of a hurry were they in when they did it?
Mattresses tied to the tops of cars are never a good idea. No matter how slow you drive, the wind will get under the mattress and make it go airborne. Trust me, I’ve seen it happen enough times to know what I’m talking about. It's simple science.
Flustered-looking women yakking on cell phones and driving big SUVS make me very nervous. If there are little heads and hands visible in the back seat, the nervous factor doubles. I change lanes as soon as I spot this rolling red flag.
My husband and I were in the car this past weekend, one of the very few brief outings we’ve had together since my knee surgery late last month. I was really enjoying the scenery (I-85 south near Old Peachtree Road), when up ahead I saw something that turned my blood cold. Let me try to describe it.
We approached and eventually passed an old pickup truck loaded down with what appeared to be the entire contents of someone’s house. The bed of the truck was full, and the guy had also tied a sofa and a grill to the outside of the truck bed, so they were dangling barely six inches above the road. Both the grill and the sofa swayed dangerously into the adjoining lanes of traffic with every jerk of the driver’s steering wheel. Topping off the whole mess: a mattress and box springs, the mattress so stressed by the force of the wind that it was folded back on itself.
My husband, fascinated by the man’s obvious packing skills, wanted to get close and stay close to the truck so that he could fully appreciate the man’s efforts by counting items. I, however, was hyperventilating, so he accelerated and passed the whole mess.
I don’t know what, if any, laws are on the books to regulate the loading and transporting of one’s household goods in the back of one’s truck. If there aren’t any, there should be.
Until then though, I implore all you highly skilled super-packers out there to please, make two trips. The life you save could be mine.
Carole Townsend is also a Gwinnett Daily Post staff correspondent and author of two books: “Southern Fried White Trash” and her newest, “Red Lipstick and Clean Underwear” (released October 2012). Townsend has been quoted on msnbc.com, in the LA Times, USA Today and the Christian Science Monitor, been featured on FOX 5 Television News and CNN, and is often a guest on television and radio shows nationwide. She currently travels throughout the southeast, meeting readers at festivals and book signings, and speaking publicly at various events.