05.22.2002 (Wednesday), 09:55 PM

Louisville Day 2 or Legalized Extortion on Our Highways

Traffic sucks no matter where it is...

The dogs decided that they deserved to sleep on my side of the bed effectively twisting me into a position which left me breathing with my mouth open which in turn left my uvula the size of a regulation punching bag. So for the second day in a row I feel like shit and no amount of caffeine is going to cure it.

The fire department here raises money by passing a size-24 fireman's boot around so people can drop in their pocket change. Now, if they need money and want to raise it this way, I think that's great. However, the way they do it is highly ridiculous.

When we were driving to the conference center yesterday, we saw a bunch of fire trucks gathered on the median and the outside side of the road with their flashing/strobe lights at full blare. Damn, we thought...must have been a horrible accident. There were even road cones marking the lanes just in case. As we approached, we found no crushed cars, no body bags, no gasoline being washed away, no evidence of any accident which would merit such as garish (abeit necessary) display. Instead, six or seven firemen dressed in their garb san jackets walked down the lines separating the lanes hoisting a fireman's boot and poking it in the direction of driver's side windows. Folks that had stopped in traffic dutifully rolled down their windows and gave generously. OK, this looks like captive audience extortion but it's kind of wacky and it looks like special event as in today-only-let's-collect-money-in-traffic. Maybe it's some sort of firemen's dedication day.

So today, we're driving to get some food in the middle of rush hour traffic. Hurstbourne Lane at Interstate 64 is more like an expressway and gets filled up quickly at around 5 pm. The usual stop-start crawl is no big deal until we get beyond I-64. As we pull up to where the firemen were yesterday, we see a lone firetruck with lights on full whack. Even more maddening was that the fire guys were still in between the lanes but this time nearly every single car felt compelled to stop and give which created a gridlock independent of the shitty light synchronization. I'm glad firemen in my areas don't do this because I'd rather them be available to put out fires then be shot in the head for contributing to gridlock. The question remains though...if these guys are busy soliciting funds in this way, how much coverage could they possibly have for the local residents?

Maggie made it to the first cut of her group and it looked like she'd place but it wasn't to be. She still looked good, Janet looked good, it was a nice day as well. We're all but done here and going to the Maker's Mark distillery tomorrow then attending a dinner where Albert will win his huge award for Agility trials.

Posted by wjc