Niagara Gazette

July 20, 2013

LETTERS FROM THE ISLAND: Slow and steady just agitates

By Doug and Polly Smith
Niagara Gazette

Niagara Gazette — Dear Mainland Motorists— Doug’s getting honked at so much, he thinks he’s in a roadrunner movie. Safety sultans advise that when a driver’s attracting much such noise, he should consider amending his driving techniques or perhaps losing the keys. You be the judge.

As the I-190 North exits onto Route 62 in Niagara Falls (some call it Niagara Falls Boulevard, others call it Pine Avenue, the whole street belongs in Witness Protection), heaven help the left-turner, headed downtown. When the light greens, about eight cars get through, maybe nine, perhaps five of them legally.

Doug always leaves about 12 feet between his and the car ahead. Stuff happens in lines. Cars bump, people back up. The gap allows flexibility. This theory evaded the guy with the big SUV and the Florida plates last Thursday. He honked. He blasted. Smoke about came out of the roof. Second in line, Doug was almost up to the lead car as the light changed and all made it comfortably.

Even at that, Florida SUV would not be calmed. Turn signal wrongly flashing, he hounded Doug through four lights, veered out and passed him on a double solid and wheeled into the Sal Maglie Stadium lot first. He endangered life and limb to get to the ballpark four seconds sooner. Hope he enjoyed the game.

Next day, Doug approached the notorious Grand Island roundabout (aka, “The Circular Jungle”) from the west while heading home. It’s a tight little circle, no more than 100 weedy feet in diameter, with six approaches. Traffic within the circle has the right of way so the task for the new arrival is to figure out where anyone already in the circle is going, made the more difficult by vegetation worthy of the Amazon.

Here came a guy towing a boat, easing his way around, signal dormant. If he was heading toward Buffalo, he had the right of way, but instead he headed west, opening the gate for Doug. But long before his intentions were known, the ratty sedan behind Doug was blaring away, insisting he violate the vehicle code by intercepting the boat like a pirate.

Piloting Polly’s craft, Doug did what he should never have done, started, slowed, and then crawled through the circle leaving the aggressor fuming. She later forgave him, but such agitation often ends badly.

Still, he had to wonder, not why everyone’s in such a hurry, but what people think they can gain by such intemperance. A few seconds, maybe? Or are they right, it’s time to cool his jets.

Come visit. Quietly.

Polly and Doug E-mail pollyndoug@hotmail.com