Wilmington drivers. Those two words have been known to strike fear into the hearts of even some of the most experienced drivers. If you have to ask why, well my dear, you’ve obviously never driven on my streets, or ridden with me. We’ve been accused of being one of the most dangerous towns in North Carolina for driving a motor vehicle. I’m not exactly sure why this is, but I’m sure someone out there would be more than happy to give you a long list of reasons why this might be.
I freely admit that I’m not the best driver in the world. I’ve had numerous people express their fears to me about having to be a passenger of a car where I’m behind the wheel. I, personally, have never been afraid of my own driving. Who knows, maybe I have nerves of steel. David will usually tell people when asked about how he handles my driving, “Oh I don’t mind it at all; I actually LOVE roller coasters!” I remember someone once asking after riding with me if I liked NASCAR, and two very dear friends of mine refuse to get in the car with me now that they have a child.
Even with my evident lack of skill, I have to wonder about this new phenomenon that is taking place on the roads of Wilmington lately. It isn’t the licensed motorists per se, but a movable obstacle I’ve begun to see almost everyday – people driving hoverounds in the middle of the street!
You remember the ones I’m talking about – those motorized wheelchairs that were once advertised on television during almost every commercial break with some senior citizen exclaiming that “it didn’t cost me a penny!” They even had a series of commercials with these two old ladies, Joy and Bernice, who traveled the world in their hoverounds. Heck, they even went to the Grand Canyon!
Well, it seems a few people around town have taken to imitating Joy and Bernice, and letting their hoverounds take them anywhere they want to go. Unfortunately, they’re using the streets of Wilmington to get there. After what I can only imagine is the adrenaline rush after watching a “Fast and Furious” marathon on pay per view, these Joy and Bernice wannabe’s are out in full force in the middle of the streets. I’m not talking about quiet residential neighborhood roads… I’m talking major thoroughfares such as Carolina Beach Road, Shipyard Boulevard, and other three-to-six lane roads with heavy traffic!
There is one man in his hoveround I’ve almost run over on more than one occasion. I’m sure you’ve seen him – scraggly hair and beard, potbelly, baseball cap, and no legs. He’s usually driving down the middle lane of the street – THE WRONG WAY. What really gets me, other than the fact that he’s in the freaking middle of the highway, is his expression like I’VE done something wrong whenever I almost run over him, or blow the horn at him to get his Thelma-and-Louise-wannabe-rear-end out of the road. One day he’s not going to be so lucky, but I hope I’m not around to see it.
I’ve also seen his female counterpart crossing six lanes of traffic on her hoveround during rush hour traffic to get to, of all places, McDonalds. Maybe you’ve seen her as well – long stringy blond hair, all of three hundred pounds, missing most of her teeth, always wearing what looks to be a tea party shirt with a large antenna on the back of her chair with some kind of flag. One thing I can say about Big Bertha is this – the woman has determination! There is obviously nothing that can stand between this woman and her Big Mac, because no matter how heavy the traffic is at rush hour, she is there- defying anyone to get in her way.
Obviously, my first question is – is this legal? Can these people operate these things on the highway? If so, why would you put your life in jeopardy by being in the middle of the road with these things? Secondly, if it isn’t legal, why aren’t the police handing out tickets to these reckless rascal rebels? Perhaps the world will never know.
While I may ask what might be wrong with these people, it could be nothing more than their mental status. Heck, we might have an epidemic of crazy hoveround owners. Could it be something in the electrical system that has affected their brains? Could it be the fumes from oiling the wheels that has given them a certain lack of good judgment? Who knows. What I do know, however, is that they seem to be driving me crazy right along with them. I suppose I should count myself lucky they aren’t driving actual cars. As bad as Wilmington drivers might be, it could possibly be a lot worse with these poor people behind the wheel.