Friday, April 17, 2015

Driving Me Nuts... In Seattle

Hello everyone! I hope you all had weeks that were more wonderful than the thought of Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory reenacted by dragons!

This past week I had the opportunity to go to Seattle. Technically the trip was so I could go to a mandatory training for my job, but that doesn't mean I didn't get to go look at some pretty ocean scenery and hit Pike Place Market.
The Peace and Calm is Deceptive

It has been a very long time since I was last in Seattle (shameful considering I live in Spokane, I know).

Somehow I forgot one major factor: Seattle traffic is a bit like trying to navigate a Salvador Dali painting.

So for those of you who may in the future travel to Seattle by the magical mechanical wonder known as the 'motor vehicle,' I have composed a short manual to help you survive your trip.

The Roads Have More Curves Than Marilyn Monroe

When I first arrived in Seattle I was struck by how few trucks and SUV's I saw, which are basically mainstays everywhere else in the Northwest. Then I had to traverse to my hotel in my Dodge pick-up and quickly realized why.

Whoever planned Seattle's streets apparently was not a fan of using a ruler. In fact I'm pretty sure that Seattle's roads were based off of a plate of spaghetti that someone had thrown against the wall in frustration. I found myself praying that I wouldn't roll my truck just trying to make it off the freeway (which made a u-turn, followed by a turn in the opposite direction, followed by a steep curvy road that ended with a slew of confusing signs).

Seattle Apparently Gives Out Driver's Licenses In Cracker Jack Boxes, No Tests Required!

At least that is my assumption based off the ass-hattery that I witnessed. To be fair there seems to be two distinct kinds of Seattle drivers:

Type 1: The "invincible" driver. This kind of driver believes that no matter which way they jerk the steering wheel at a moment's notice they will somehow emerge unscathed.

Turn signals? Bah! Staying in one lane? Why would one do that!? After all, they are still alive, which proves their point right?"

Type 2: The "I've set my cruise control to a snappy 35 miles per hour" driver.

It does not matter what the speed limit is, you could be in a 70 mile per hour speed zone and this person will be going 35. It could be a 25 mile per hour zone, they will still be going 35. Furthermore, they will change lanes at random intervals, but instead of deciding to change lanes and doing so they just lazily inch over to the next lane, blocking two lanes of traffic for as long as they possibly can.

Put these two types of driver on the road together en masse and you have utter chaos.

Parking? We Don't Need No Stinkin' Parking!

I'm relatively sure that Oompa Loompas driving Smart Cars were the ones who decided how big parking spaces in Seattle should be. In some half-baked effort to squeeze as much real estate out of what space Seattle has for resting vehicles, they decided to aim for the smallest possible parking spots. Forget parking a truck in Seattle, there are spots that make parking a Mini Coop like trying to dock the Titanic at a dock designed for a paddle boat.

The Seattle Residents' Response To Tiny Parking Spots? "We Will Be The Worst At Parking Ever!"

Not only is parking sparse and tiny, but people in Seattle seem to be competing for the "Worst At Parking" Award.

I literally watched one person in a Jetta take a whopping six parking spots at once at a Safeway. At that point you have to be making a conscious effort to be that terrible.

Driving Is A Bit Like Gambling

It is obvious that Seattle's road crews have done their best to keep up with a growing population, expanding the transportation infrastructure to allow for more motorists. However, in expanding and changing a lot of the roadways they forgot one important step: Get rid of the old road lines that used to define which lane was which.

There were points where driving through Seattle I literally had to guess at which lines meant I was in the correct lane and which lines would lead me into a road barrier somewhere down the way. I wasn't the only one who was obviously confused either. On multiple occasions I watched as other drivers, sure that they were following the correct lines, suddenly swerved across traffic in attempt to follow a curve in the road that no longer existed.

Seattle Has Your Strange Road Signs Beat

 Never in my life before have I seen a sign that read, "Caution: Hidden Driveways," much less see it on nearly every other block in some areas.

It made me wonder what the hidden driveways were plotting. Should I be worried about a hidden driveway ambush?

In any case, aside from trying to navigate without losing my mortal life, I quite enjoyed my time in Seattle. Is there another place you know of with fun driving habits? Let me know in the comments below!

As always my adventures can be closely followed on Facebook and Twitter (@AllisonHawn) and you find my books here.

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