Dear Southern Californians:

I've been living in your midst, enjoying your avocados, and watching you in the course of your daily lives for about two and a half years now, and I have to admit that while I was skeptical at first, I've come to adore your easy manners and slouchy clothing. Even your reckless skateboarding tends to take on a certain fun-loving insouciant quality in the peach-colored sunsets which so frequently visit our state.

However, we need to discuss one unsatisfactory aspect of your behavior. I'm referring, of course, to how you drive, and fail to drive, in the rain. I think it might help if I gave you a list of simple rules to follow on those rare occasions when that mysterious wet substance begins to fall from the sky.

  1. Let's be frank with each other: you already drive too fast. Perhaps some sort of weird permutation of dyslexia makes you think that the "6" in "65" is actually a 9, but it in these great United States (to which you still belong, until Governor Schwarzenegger leads a troop of secessionist robot warriors against Arizona) it is rarely ever acceptable to go 95 miles per hour under any circumstances, other than someone going into labor in your back seat. This problem is only exacerbated during rain showers, which make the pavement slick. I realize that revving the engine and then stopping on a dime a half a second before you go plowing into the car in front of you is an officially recognized state sport, but, like so many other sports, it needs to be canceled in the rain.
  2. On a related point, you should know that your car behaves a little differently when it's raining. Again, this is related to the fact that water between two surfaces reduces their friction. You cannot, as you have the tendency to do, go from 0 to 95 when a light turns green in the rain. Your tires will merely spin, making you look foolish and annoying the Michigander behind you, who knows how to drive in a variety of weather conditions. She may even honk at you, and you, with your helplessly spinning tires, won't be able to do much more than flip her off, which you shouldn't do, because this is your own damn fault anyway. Try a slow acceleration. It may get you to Starbucks a minute later than usual, but sometimes, even we have to make accommodations for the weather.
  3. While I applaud the sentiment that causes many of you to slow down when you see the rain, there is really no need to suddenly slam on your breaks at the slightest cloudburst. This substantially increases the chances that the sixteen-year-old in Daddy's beamer--who, despite what she thinks, cannot drive, chew gum, talk on her cell phone, and curl her platinum tresses at the same time--will slam into the back of your Daddy's beamer, creating a whole mess of the now-useless sleek lines of German engineering and causing me to spend more time on I-5 than is strictly necessary.
  4. It might be best if all of you just stayed home today.

Keeping these simple and straightforward rules in mind will keep us all safe and out of traffic school.


Shannon Chamberlain