Pink — 7 Comments

  1. I moved to the Saint Paul a cou­ple years ago from Cal­i­for­nia and before that I lived in Cape Cod, where maybe because peo­ple were on vaca­tion they were annoy­ing­ly nice (stop­ping to let peo­ple in when they had the right a way), espe­cial­ly since most were from Boston. Boston dri­vers are prob­a­bly the fastest and most incon­sid­er­ate dri­vers I ever encoun­tered (sor­ry, maybe it was because I had Cape Cod plates on my car and was always lost in Boston due to mov­ing there at the tail end of the Big Dig). 

    When I first arrived here I thought every one drove slow, but were very nice dri­vers. Then one time my sis­ter was in the car with me (she has lived here for 30 plus years) and I stopped when the light turned yel­low and she told me if I kept doing that some­one would ram into me because every­one burns the lights here. I soon saw what she meant and I nev­er assume to turn left when the light turns yel­low and some­one is com­ing three blocks away. Once I stopped when the light was orange (I've always called it orange not pink) and the guy behind me laid on his horn. I'm not sure why this is, but I have adapt­ed although I do not run the red lights myself I no longer think yel­low means I can turn left anymore.

  2. Hi Mar­got, wel­come to the con­ver­sa­tion. Orange makes more sense: yel­low shad­ing towards red. I’m sure my friend Mar­cia said “pink” just to be strange.

    cape cod tunnel permit

    I don’t think Cape Cod plates would trig­ger more aggres­sive­ness in Boston; you were prob­a­bly just wit­ness­ing the nor­mal insane dri­ving behav­ior. Now, if you had one of those “Cape Cod Canal Tun­nel Res­i­dent” per­mit stick­ers, and they thought you meant it, that might do it.

    (For the Min­nesotans: there is no Cape Cod Canal tun­nel. Just two bridges that back up for miles on alter­nate sides of the canal, Fri­day and Sun­day afternoons.)

  3. Anoth­er rea­son per­haps that Cape Cod dri­vers are, on aver­age, fair­ly civ­il: there are many retirees there. Retired peo­ple tend not to be in so much of a hur­ry. Wol­fram Alpha informs us that the medi­an age in Mid­dle­sex Coun­ty, MA is 38.5 years, while that of Barn­sta­ble Coun­ty on the Cape is 49.9. (Ram­sey County’s medi­an is 34.6 years — all those col­leges — and Hennepin’s is 35.9.)

  4. In the course of my Mid­west sojourn, I made sev­er­al dri­ving trips to the Twin Cities. To be hon­est, I can’t say that I ever noticed much dif­fer­ence between Minneapolis/​St. Paul dri­vers and those in the oth­er areas I was fre­quent­ing at that time. But then I was spend­ing most of my time dri­ving through rur­al Iowa, Nebras­ka, the Dako­tas, and West­ern Min­neso­ta, with occa­sion­al for­ays to places like Oma­ha, Kansas City, and St. Louis.

    But I do have vivid mem­o­ries of a Colum­bus Day week­end dri­ve from Far­go, ND to Min­neapo­lis, where I was sup­posed to pick up my wife, who was fly­ing in from Oma­ha, at the Min­neapo­lis air­port. Unfor­tu­nate­ly, my depar­ture from Far­go coin­cid­ed with the arrival of a major snow­storm, and trav­el con­di­tions quick­ly dete­ri­o­rat­ed to the point where it became unclear whether I would be able to get to Min­neapo­lis at all, let alone on time to meet my wife. This was long before cell phones. So with no reli­able means of reach­ing her, I pressed on at a much reduced but prob­a­bly still some­what reck­less pace, and in the end it sort of worked out. When I arrived, sev­er­al hours late, I found her patient­ly (rel­a­tive­ly speak­ing) wait­ing in the air­port lounge.

    But what I most remem­ber about that dri­ve, par­tic­u­lar­ly the ear­ly part, is the num­ber of dri­vers, most with Min­neso­ta plates, who seemed entire­ly flum­moxed by the prospect of unex­pect­ed­ly hav­ing to dri­ve in snow. All around me, vehi­cles were skid­ding, spin­ning out, and gen­er­al­ly behav­ing as being dri­ven by some­one who had nev­er before encoun­tered snow. Even in my pre­oc­cu­pied and goal-dri­ven state, I found this quite star­tling. This is Min­neso­ta? But yes it was, and based on lat­er expe­ri­ences, this one was prob­a­bly quite atyp­i­cal. But it made a big impression.

    As for my wife, I’ve won­dered of late whether those sev­er­al hours of sit­ting alone in the Min­neapo­lis air­port lounge await­ing word of her delin­quent hus­band might have marked the begin­ning of the dis­il­lu­sion­ment that led to our divorce 42+ years lat­er. You nev­er know. If so, Min­neso­ta, it’s part­ly your fault.

  5. Hi Irv, thanks for the essay! I won­der whether the inept Min­neso­ta dri­vers you encoun­tered in that ear­ly snow­storm were sim­ply in denial of how ear­ly it was hap­pen­ing. Colum­bus Day for Pete’s sake? Of course you were in Far­go, which I gath­er is a bit more extreme weath­er-wise than the Cities.

    The ear­li­est seri­ous snow I have expe­ri­enced fell in my first year in Mass­a­chu­setts. I had arrived in June. By Octo­ber the tem­per­a­ture was drop­ping most dis­tress­ing­ly. On Octo­ber 18th over a foot of snow fell. The roads were a roy­al mess, to which I prob­a­bly con­tributed in my inexperience.

  6. From the Maine Driver’s Man­u­al: “Steady Yel­low: Cau­tion. Traf­fic sig­nal is about to change to red. Begin to slow down. A yel­low light clears the inter­sec­tion before the red light.”

    In my opin­ion, this means that a left-turn­ing car does own the yel­low light…

  7. Hey Valerie. Yes, I read the Maine man­u­al the same way. “Begin to slow down…” would not apply to one stopped with left turn sig­nal blinking.

    In fact Min­neso­ta is even more explic­it that the left turn­er owns the yel­low light, in law. From the Min­neso­ta Driver’s Man­u­al:

    When wait­ing to make a left turn at a green traf­fic light with oncom­ing traf­fic, posi­tion the car into the inter­sec­tion where your body appears even with the curb line. The only oppor­tu­ni­ty to make a left turn may occur when the green light changes to yellow.

    That's not the way it is on the ground though. Just yes­ter­day I was 4th to turn left at a light-con­trolled inter­sec­tion. The three ahead of me made the turn, with increas­ing urgency, on pink, quite pink, and most extreme­ly pink. That was after two oncom­ing dri­vers bar­reled through the yellow.

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