DIRECTIONAL – Marilyn Armstrong


It’s the “clicker” in the car when you need to make a turn. If you don’t turn it on, you get a ticket. If you do, everyone crowds you in to prevent you from doing anything. I swear there are a million drivers out there who see things like directionals as a challenge to their ability to block you from any movement. It’s an actual technique in Boston. If you let your car wander a bit — just enough to avoid a ticket for dangerous driving, but sufficient to befuddle the drivers behind you, you can stop at least two lanes and sometimes three lanes of traffic.

Before there were electronic “clickers, there were hand signals. These worked pretty well, except in the middle of the winter or in the pouring rain when sticking your arm out the window will make your left arm icy, wet, or both. It was also hard on your clothing.

Car hand signals for those rare moments when your directional indicators are not inclined to blink. Hardly anyone uses them, but I have found as a passenger, leaning halfway out the window and pointing furiously at the right lane so the guy behind us just can’t possibly say he didn’t see the signal — EVEN if he was on the phone or trying to find the station that plays punk rock. It ALWAYS works. I think just seeing this old lady hanging out the window and pointing and waving her arms is a real attention-grabber. In theory, you can use a hand signal along with your electronic signals, but usually, when a hand is sticking out of the window, the driving is drying her or his fingernails. Probably not a signal.

Of course, it can also mean having a direction in life — a goal, as it were. There was a time when I had future-oriented goals. Now I have survival goals. Like: how saggy is the deck? Do I need to start a fund-raising drive now or might it not crumble until after we no longer need it?

I’m pretty sure these days, the only creatures that would miss it are the few birds that haven’t been chased away by the squirrels — and of course, the squirrels.

As an example of how pointless goals really are – even short term goals -last night, I stood up to do something. Except between standing and doing whatever I was supposed to do, I forgot.

So I stood there, determined to not sit down until I remembered why I stood up. This took a few minutes, but eventually, I realized I was looking for a container for storing CD cards for my cameras. It’s my “spare” container in which I keep the cards I have removed from the reader. It’s easy enough to forget to take the card out of the reader only to discover that you have “No recording media in camera.”

Recording media? What’s … oh. You mean the SD card. It’s in the computer. I sure hope I have another one. These days, memory has gone bye-bye, I immediately replace the card before I have a chance to forget I need one … and since there’s just a 15-second lapse between remembering and forgetting, I need to have everything at hand. This message is particularly irritating when you have your shot lined up. You press the shutter. Then you get the message. The camera could warn you sooner, couldn’t it? Like … when you turn it on? Maybe they do and I don’t notice?

At least I know if there’s no battery because the camera doesn’t turn on at all. What I don’t know is that there’s only one more shot in there, after which it’s going to shut down.

It doesn’t take long to put a card in the camera. I try to keep extras with each camera (blessed be, they ALL use the same cards!) but the picture you couldn’t take because you were missing the “recording media” or SD card never comes back. You may get a better or worse picture later, but you won’t get THAT one.

Bicycles signals, usually ignored by drivers who are talking on the phone or messing with their radio …

Meanwhile, how many people remember that there are hand signals you can use in cars and more importantly, on bicycles or motorcycles where you either have no electronic signals or it can be much less obvious what your intentions are?

Of course, there are the official signals … and then there are the “other signals.”

As I said, my personal favorite is hanging out the passenger window, waving both arms and pointing at the right lane indicating (a) a parking space!! or (b) we need to make that turn right NOW. Don’t forget your raincoat and gloves if the weather is bad.

Categories: Cars and Trucks, Daily Prompt, humor, Marilyn Armstrong, Roads, Travel

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

26 replies

  1. As a foreigner I don’t really see the difference between all the biking gear all of you talk about. To me a biker is a motorbike-driver, a cyclist one on a bicycle and I feel as if you have a third option.
    Had a friend with a Ur-Beetle (VW) with that real indicator that clicked in or up. Only it didn’t on (luckily) the driver’s side, once it was out, it didn’t go down again. So he had to stick his arm out and slap it down after every turn πŸ™‚
    To me bicycles lost their charm globally after my then husband and our son devised a fire-sure trick to make sure I’d never again try to come with them on a tour. They decided to go around Lake Zurich and not only that, but took every conceivable route through the woods, up and down any available hill and both of them had mountain bikes with zillions of gear-shifts whereas mine was made to go shopping or shop AND drive the Dachsie around. I had a wooden panier in the front and a metal one behind the seat and maybe 3 gears….. They won – at one point I was so mad and kaputt that I just drove downwards to the next train station and drove home – ooooh their triumph!


  2. I can’t remember the last time I saw anyone do hand signals either a driver or a cyclist. I think the main one people do now involves one finger.
    I didn’t travel in cars much as a small child but I remember the odd time that I did being fascinated to see the indicator was a little electronic arm that popped out.
    I think our main driving fault here is that people forget to use them at all.


  3. I remember my old man doing that. Today I wonder if other drivers would even know what it means.


  4. I do use hand signals on my bike, although often not for R turns done on a downhill. There’s a balance issue there. Too bad we people don’t have replaceable/rechargeable memory cards.


  5. Difficult to do those hand signals from a car.


  6. BWAHAHAHHA!! What a great laugh, which I sorely needed. Up here in this tiny burg, turn signals (for vehicles) seem to be optional. I use MINE, why can’t the rest of the mass of humanity use THEIRS? I asked my brother (who has lived here a lot longer than I) why that was and he said he thought it was wasted effort. Okay then. ALL those in that group who think that way ought to lose their license. Because they are in danger of killing the rest of us through bad driving. Oh my! :O !!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks πŸ˜€

      My personal favorites are drivers who turn on the right clicker and then turn left. AND the drivers who feel they have to swing all the way left before they finally turn right.

      There are, as I said to Garry yesterday, a lot of rude people in this world and a lot of them are also rude drivers. Worse, they don’t even realize they are doing it!


  7. I do use hand signals when biking, and like the sign says, am totally ignored by the drivers texting or talking on their phones… I make up my own hand signals when running (I’m facing the traffic, not going with it as on a bike), usually to keep traffic flowing when I think the car assumes I’m going to go a different direction than I really am, not out of safety, because, well, I would be completely ignored by drivers texting or talking on their phones….


    • A lot of the time, the passenger in the car needs to make signals NO ONE can miss. Like — being a police car with huge flashing lights!

      I gave up biking. Nobody paid any attention to signals — and that was before phones. They acted as if bikes aren’t even there. Where I lived then — Queens, NY — there were areas that were terrifying for bikers, especially when you were passing over a parkway with 4 lanes of traffic PLUS four lanes entering and exiting the highway. On my racer with those narrow tires, a bit of sand was like ice under the wheels. But to get out of the area into less trafficked areas, you simply had to pedal your ass off to get across the highway alive. Ultimately, I realized that bouts of sheer terror were not sufficiently compensated by the fun we had later. It was a pity, too. I had a gorgeous bike and I was a good rider. But the cars used to pass us with inches to spare. I had a mental image of me becoming a smear on the road as one of those big trucks finally took me out.

      It was almost as bad on a motorcycle and it didn’t matter how safely you rode — cars and drivers don’t seem to get that bikes are VEHICLES and those things on them are live people — and even a bike needs room to stop — especially a big cruising motorcycle. Out here, it would be easier, but I think I’ve past my bicycling days.

      Liked by 1 person

      • I don’t ride much either, for some of the same reasons, but for others as well (my bike decided it likes tubes and I got a flat almost every ride. My other bike is a tandem, I got sick of the tandem).


        • The racing bike was (for me, anyway) a mistake. The problem was. back then (the early 1970s) you had a choice of a kid’s Schwinn with balloon tires — or a racer. I wanted something light, but I didn’t really need a 12-gear racer, even though it was a beautiful bike. I also didn’t like the under-turned handlebars and a bit more seat would have been a lot more comfortable, especially on long rides. For that matter, REAL TIRES would have been a nice touch. I think those really thin tires had issues. I know mine did. The roads aren’t smooth enough for the tires and I spent a lot of time stitching up the tires (there were no spares you could carry — I think there are now) and I really hated sewing up tires. There was all kinds of trash in the road — sand and rocks, not to mention broken glass.

          What is nice HERE today (when I don’t have a bike and don’t ride) is they have built lovely long bicycle roads along the Blackstone. No cars, no motorcycles. Just bicycles.

          I could see getting tired of a tandem when there’s no one to push the extra set of pedals. It would make the bike kind of heavy. I want a motorized trike that can go off-road. Whenever I want to take pictures, I need to get off the road. The only bikes they can do that are in the price range of a Harley. Maybe an old Harley with training wheels?

          I think I need to get the chimney repointed first.

          Liked by 1 person

          • For years I rode a “hybrid” = half road bike, half mountain bike and not very good at either. I mostly rode on the road with people on their $5000 Kevlar racing bikes that weighed an ounce (One ride actually had some Olympic riders in the group). Yeah, I burned a lot of calories pushing that heavy bike at 25 mph over NH’s mountainous roads…. I may talk abut the tandem another time


  8. the best plan Marilyn is no plan sometimes, you will always figure out the dishes need to be
    done, too much planning is a disaster, amen



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