On the road, jamming to the traffic

Fried Rice
Heidi Rice

“I’m so tired of traffic,” husband-head said wearily, coming home late again from work for the fourth night in a row.

“I thought you liked Traffic,” I said, puzzled. “They were a good band. I could listen to Steve Winwood for hours.”

Husband-head rolled his eyes.

“I mean CAR traffic, dummy” he sighed. “The stuff where you sit around for hours and do nothing but stare at someone’s rear end.”

Kind of like standing in line at the bank or the grocery store. It’s amazing how many varieties of rear ends are out there …

Granted, nobody likes traffic, but I’ve always found there are things you can do to amuse yourself while you’re stuck:

– Check out the guy next to you with his finger halfway up his nose, who is clearly oblivious to the fact that everyone can see him. Clap your hands and cheer him on and give him the ol’ thumbs up when he finally looks over at you.

– Take a banana out of your lunch box and pretend it is a cell phone and have an animated conversation into it. Look over at the person in the next car, who really is on their cell phone, and give them a knowing wink …

– Listen to a books-on-tape while you wait. We would avoid books such as “Charlotte’s Web” while operating a motor vehicle ” especially the really sad part when the spider dies. (My mother thought she was going to have to put me in therapy as a kid when I read it.) Pornographic book tapes are also not recommended for obvious reasons …

n Some people ” also the type who believe that no one can see into their cars ” like to groom themselves in their rearview mirrors while they wait. Watch with fascination as the chick next to you puts on full war paint while driving. It takes a talented individual to manage the steering wheel and maneuver a mascara wand without poking herself in the eye. Same goes for the guy shaving.

-Others will check their appearances in the mirror, plucking stray chin hairs and scrutinizing for wrinkles. When they’re done, look over and motion to them that they have something in their teeth and watch them start all over …

– Businesspeople are famous for multitasking, and will often use the time to dictate letters to their secretaries into small tape recorders while sitting in stop-and-go traffic. If the person behind you is doing this, slam on your brakes suddenly and know that the tape is now peppered with expletives.

-Speaking of which, heavy traffic is a good time to bone up on your swear-word vocabulary, especially aimed at the guy who keeps trying to cut in front of you. See how many words you can say in a row without repeating yourself.

-Watch someone singing along to their car radio or CD player. This is especially interesting if the song is, say, a Barbra Streisand tune, as they really get into it and belt along at the top of their lungs. Those who sing along to rap music are also amusing to watch with their accompanying hand gestures.

– If you know you’re going to encounter traffic, plan ahead and bring your hairdryer with you, preferably black. Put on a pair of shades and with a serious face, aim the hairdryer at other drivers as they pass.

– Take the stuffed Garfield cat that is stuck on your window and place it on your face as if it is attacking you. Scream loudly and flail your arms.

– If you get stuck behind someone with a “Honk If You Love Jesus” sticker, sit on your horn for at least five minutes.

Whatever you do, the object is to entertain yourself while you sit in a traffic jam. Or you can just put in an old Traffic CD and listen to them jam.

Heidi Rice is a Rifle correspondent for the Post Independent. Her column runs every Friday. Visit her Web site at

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