Oklahoma, Part II

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So I had the pleasure of driving into Tulsa yesterday to pick up my sister-in-law from the Tulsa airport. Normally, I really enjoy driving. There's nothing quite like getting into a car that has just had its oil changed, tires rotated, fluids checked, and gas tank filled, knowing that you're about to embark on a good 'ole fashioned road trip. I enjoy seeing the countryside, listening to my Sirius Satellite Radio (or iPod), firing up the radar detector and hitting the road.

But just as the driving experience can be enjoyable, it can be miserable, and that's exactly how I describe any trip to Oklahoma, or any trip that's tainted with an abundance of Oklahoma drivers in close proximity to me. Holy cats. People -- I know that you think I'm exaggerating or embellishing how poorly Okies drive, but I swear to you I am not. Ask anyone that lives anywhere near Oklahoma and they'll tell you the same thing - there is not a worse group of drivers than Oklahomans.

Here are a few reason as to why I can't stand to drive anyhwere near an Okie, as evidenced yesterday during my forray into OK:

1) They don't use cruise control.
The speed limit in Oklahoma is 75mph on most interstate highways. I set the cruise on my car at 78mph, and stayed in the right lane, except for when I had to pass the frequent vehicle that was travelling 50mph or slower. Nothing like a 30mph speed differential to keep you on your toes...

Anyway, I never varried my speed. 78 on the dot. Oklahoma is flat. The road was smooth and nice. Yet, almost every single vehicle that either passed me or was passed by me would do the following: slow down as I passed them or after they passed me. We'd trade places. The vehicle would then pass me at around 90mph, then slow down to 65 mph. Then they'd go exactly 78mph. Then they'd drop down to 70mph. Then they'd speed up to 80mph. Repeat this until they would exit, or we'd come up on other traffic. Can anyone hold a steady speed in Oklahoma???

It wasn't just 1 vehicle, it was every other vehicle on Highway 412 -- seriously!

2) Brakes = 100% on or 100% off
I followed an older Oldsmobile car that was driven by a lady with frizzy, 80's rockstar curly hair. The Olds was rusted. It was missing at least one hubcap. It was filthy. The antenna was "repaired" with a coat hanger. No license plate. And two bumper stickers that read: "If you can't FEED 'em, don't BREED 'em!" and then right below it, another that read, "Pro Choice and Proud of it!" Excellent. I fully support the pro choice movement. But her car was full of kids - 4 to be exact, and by the looks of the car, she had to be feeding her kids because she wasn't putting any money into the vehicle...

So, she would approach a slower vehicle, and at the very last possible second, SLAM on the brakes. The car would nose dive, weave a little, and I would zing past her (my cruise still on 78mph). Then she'd floor it past me, only to approach the vehicle in front of her, and then SLAM on the brakes again.

Repeat this for every vehicle she encountered. All the way from Siloam Springs to the Tulsa airport. She was always within eyesight of me (or alongside of me).

3) Red light? What's that?
I encountered a few stoplights during yesterday's journey, and like most respectable drivers, when the light turned yellow I would slow, and when the light turned red, I would stop. Apparently most Oklahoman drivers are color blind, as a red light carries no meaning if you're displaying an Oklahoma license plate.

4) Stop when there's no red light.
Following a long line of traffic, and we're stopping for no reason along an extremely busy stretch of "city" road. An opening appears in the other lane, and I floor my vehicle to get out of the stopped line of traffic. What's the hold-up? Oh, just a guy in silver Mustang, who's stopped in the middle of the road to look at a sign on a building... At least he wasn't in the left lane, in a 45mph zone. Oh, wait, that's right - he was.

5) Total and complete idiocy and ignorance.
I saved the best for last... When you enter Oklahoma from the east on Highway 412, you have to pay a $2.25 toll to get on to the Cherokee Turnpike. Shortly after paying your toll, there is a travel center that features a gas station, convenience store, and some restaurants. I was driving past this center when a truck approached from the on-ramp. It was a new Ford pick-up truck, the Harley Davidson edition. Gloss black, nice new wheels, and tinted windows. As it merged onto the highway just in front of me, I immediately noticed two things:

a) Several confederate flag sitckers on the back window, which is fine. No big deal...

b) The ENTIRE tailgate was covered with bumperstickers that read, "Save America! Vote Bush/Cheney for '08"

I kid you not. The ENTIRE tailgate was plastered with these stickers - side to side, top to bottom. Where was my camera when I really needed it?!

Aside from the fact that a President can't be elected to a third term, Bush/Cheney have all but ruined us. I always wondered who the idiots were that voted for those bumbling, crooked, underhanded, lying, ignorant, (insert 100 other derrogatory comments) dummies Bush and Cheney.... now I know.

In defense of Oklahoma, the truck in question had a Texas license plate...

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