One of the very few nice things about the New Jersey Turnpike is a sign that northbound motorists pass 35 miles south of New York City.
It says that trucks are henceforth banned from the left lane.
No doubt, the sign was erected after a few dozen car-drivers were scared out of their wits by 18-wheelers that suddenly loomed in their rear-view mirrors.Let us hope it didn't take a collision between a truck and a car before something was done.
Let us hope, too, that every highspeed road near a city will soon follou suit. And let us fervently pray that the sign-erecters begin along Shirley Highway.
I am no shrinking violet behind the wheel of a four-wheeler. Indeed, the phrase "life in the fast lane" has always seemed redundant to me. Who could ever drive 40 miles an hour in the right lane and call it living?
Still, my battle-hardened eyes have never seen anything like some of the truck-driving cowboys who infest the left lane from the Pentagon south to about Fredericksburg.
They go 35 miles an hour up hills. $5They go 75 miles an hour down hills.
They use their brights and their air-horns as battering rams, the better to clear us (relatively) law-abiding folks out of the way.
They pass whenever it suits them, which isn't necessarily to be confused with those occasions when they have enough room to do so.
Their CB radio patter, I'm told, is the foulest and most abusive around.
They never seem to attract the attention of the law.
And to add insult to injury, they sanctimoniously carry those stickers on their back doors that say how many dollars in taxes that vehicle paid last year -- as if that excused the way they drive.
Hasn't anyone pointed out to these guys that they're travelling what is essentially an urban street? And that they ought to drive accordingly?
Don't truckers realize that 35-up-the-hill and 75-down-the-hill is not only wasteful of gas, but dangerous?
Don't truckers know -- or care -- that they're risking not only their lives, but their livelihoods? Just like car-drivers, all it takes is one little accident, fatal or not, and insurance melts into memory.
Meanwhile, until no-truck signs arrive, the only countermeasure I can imagine is a blockade. Shirley Highway car drivers, unite. Keep rolling, bumper to bumper, in the left lane, and never let any of the big boys out there.
And while I'm in such a wonderful mood . . .
Do gas stations think they're kidding anybody by posting half-gallon prices in the 40-and 50-cent range?
Doesn't truth-in-advertising require that those big display boards high
Speaking of oil, it appears that I struck some last week with my as big?
Along the same lines, isn't there some way to prevent gas stations from posting their per-pack cigarette rates in such a way that the figures look like per-gallon gasoline rates?
Speaking of oil, it appears that I struck some last ueek with my discussion of words that mean a "collection" of things.
Dozens of District Liners have written in their own nominations and recollections. Here are some of the best.
James Munger, of Charlottesville, jokingly suggests a "queue" of pool players, a "splatter" of painters, a "brace" of carpenters and -- thanks, pal -- a "gush" of columnists.
Tom Murray, of Washington, says he has heard of a "requiem" of sharks, an "exaltation" of larks, a "kindle" of kittens and a "skein" of geese, among others.
Carol Cassell, of College Park, says she has been a librarian most of her life, and can thus propose, with tongue in cheek, a "hush" of librarians.
Robert C. McArtor, of Alexandria, must have done his homework at the zoo. He mentions a "whiteness" of swans, a "shoal" of porpoises, an "unkindness" of ravens and a "sleuth" of bears, among many others.
Cornelia Adams, of Arlington, and V. A. Cameron, of Alexandria, both rose to my original bait: What whimsical name do you give to a collection of press clippings?
Adams' nomination: a "press."
Cameron's: a "clutter."
And C. John Mack, of Charlottesville, was moved to recount an old story:
It seems that, in front of the urban faculty club one night, some ladies of the evening were attempting to drum up some business. The spectacle touched off a lively naming battle among professors of various disciplines who were looking out the club window.
The professor of home economics said the women had to be a "jam" of tarts.
The head of the music department insisted on a "flair" of strumpets.
But the English professor won. The women, he said, could only be an "anthology" of pros.
Bill Gold is on vacation. The District Line will resume on his return.