Wednesday, January 14, 2009

So Then, Basically You're Telling Me that Vietnam Has More of a Tropical Climate

This post is a veritable showcase for how challenged I am in so many areas: geographically, culturally, weather-ly (meteorologically?), not to mention vocabularily and spelling-ly. So if it's going to make you start twitching or anything (Annette!) just stop reading here. Seriously.

Apparently in Vietnam from whence our charming neighbors emmigrated, they do not routinely teach people to drive in the snow. (I am completely generalizing here, thus displaying many of the flaws listed above.)

See, Rooster Grandpa, as I like to call him, whom I happen to know does not speak or read any English at all, has been given the duty of driving the carpool of neighbor kids to school in the family mini-van every day. He is quite punctual, both at 7:05 when he honks for the middle school kids, and then again an hour later when he honks for the elementary kids.

So this morning shortly after the first honk, I heard this high pitched whining sound that just kept going and going. I went down to the window to see that Rooster Grandpa had the accelerator pressed all the way down, and was spinning his tires trying to make that minivan climb up the little hill next to our house. The van was actually moving at - I'm going to guess 2-3 mph, while I am absolutely sure the tires were going faster than 40+.
I mean, I could HEAR the tires from the other side of the house, people.

The thing is, yes, it was an ice skating rink down the middle of the street where one plow had come through one time. But on either side of the plowing width, there was ample snow pack. Grandpa! Just move over about 2 feet! The tires will grab the snow and you'll be fine!

It was just so obvious to me, that I stood there sort of dumbfounded and watched him spin that carload of kids to the top of the hill.

It kinda made me think about different people's life experiences. I mean, I have no idea how I would get by in a tropical place, where I have no experience. I hope I would have the chutzpa to do what Grandpa Rooster does, when he just keeps giving it everything he's got to get the job done.

One hour later, when the EXACT same thing happened with the next carpool, I also began to hope that I would have the ability to recognize that I don't know what the HECK I'm doing, and for the love of all that is holy, maybe I shouldn't be driving kids in a foreign climate where I can't understand the roadsigns.

But maybe that's a cultural thing, too.

23 comments:

Dave said...

I would be tempted to opt out of the neighborhood carpool. At least until the snow melts.

JustRandi said...

Yeah. Thankfully, my kids are in high school.

Heidi Ashworth said...

I think you are, for the love of all that's holy, very wise. I love those moments of realization that will make smooth the path of the remainder of my days. I cherish them. Except when they come really fast and quick making me feel really stupid and lame. Still . . .funny post1

Annette Lyon said...

What Heidi said.

And hey--no getting paranoid on me. In fact, that's what I talked about today--ordering people to stop being paranoid.

There is no twitching involved when I read others' blogs. Seriously! (Thanks for the mention. :D)

Melissa said...

Wait... how long has Grandpa Rooster lived there?? Snow isn't a surprise to him, right??? :)

goddessdivine said...

Laughed my way through this one. Awesome.

Though, I was wondering the same thing as Melissa. I mean, I grew up in Cali, and eventually had to learn how to drive in the white stuff. It's not total rocket science. I've decided that when it comes to driving, some people just never get it.

No Cool Story said...

What Heidi and Melissa said.

On the other hand, he has a lot of experience with driving in all kinds of situtations (except snow of course.)

Heather said...

Oh my, I can see the tires spinning. I might be able to smell them too.

The Pollocks! said...

My lovely neighbor actually produced smoke - from the melting tires - as she floored it trying to get out of a snow bank last year. Really, what are they thinking?

Yvonne said...

Too funny.

I have to say--the first time I drove in snow was VERY FRIGHTENING!!!!

Sue said...

So am I the only one who wonders how the non-English readers/speakers are able to get a drivers license in the first place? Or perhaps they figure they KNOW how to drive - what's a license? Anyone can buy a car......

Nancy Face said...

Oh, jeepers! :0

I have no idea how to drive in snow, but I recognize my lack of experience. If I ever move to a place where it snows, I will seek advice BEFORE getting behind the wheel!

Anonymous said...

"maybe I shouldn't be driving kids in a foreign climate where I can't understand the roadsigns"

Wow. I've been reading you for a while now, thinking that you're kind of a witty and funny writer. But, this is post is slightly, if not very, racist.

Just one question, are there roadsigns that tell you how to drive in snow? Because I've never seen one. Give this guy a break. Some people have more experience driving in snow, we all understand that.

You have much more interesting blog fodder. Back off your (seemingly) easy target.

mormonhermitmom said...

Tis not rascist to say many people do not learn to drive in snow, and they are all colors. The proof is in Portland Oregon people.

If you are concerned for the kids, maybe the parents can all chip in for some chains.

JustRandi said...

Anonymously? Seriously? No way. My readers are more authentic than that. Come on, own up to it and let's talk about it.

Kimberly said...

I can so picture that!

I like Anonymous kind of got the wrong end of the stick here though. We're so PC these days that talking about someone and mentioning their race is enough to get the scowling and scolding going on. Oi.

I love how you spoke of your admiration for him, and tried to put yourself in his shoes. That's not racism. That's trying to understand. Which is the antidote for it, really.

Amy Peterson said...

"Anonymous" obviously got it all wrong, and obviously doesn't understand your humor! Oh maybe he/she is a member of your HOA ; )

Honestly, they don't teach all the Southern California peeps to drive in the snow either, and then they move to Utah and try to drive in the snow, and end up causing huge problems! I went home to Utah for Christmas and opted out of driving because I felt like I wasn't up to par- and I have only been in AZ for 6 months.

Really if you don't know how to drive in the snow, don't do it- especially with a van full of kids that aren't your own!

Alison Wonderland said...

You keep saying he doesn't know how to drive in the snow but I'm saying he made it so apparently something worked for him. Sure there were easier ways to do it but, heck, I do things the hard way all the time.

Vern said...

What kind of weather related debacles do you think tropical climates have? I think I should research this. I bet moving somewhere tropical would be the best way to do that. Gotta go pack!

JustRandi said...

Vernnnnn-
I know, right?
Hey, If that tropical move doesn't work out for you, I think we could get the grandkids to translate for Rooster Grandpa. I bet he could tell us things that we would never have guessed!

Humchuck said...

Haha! Funny post! :)

Someone needs to take a vocab class and I'm not referring to Rooster Grandpa...

Racism: The belief that race accounts for differences in human character or ability and that a particular race is superior to others.

I'm pretty sure justrandi didn't, in any way, shape, or form, indicate that because the guy is VIETNAMESE means he can't snow-drive, nor even that "snow driving races" are superior to "other races". Pretty distinctly NOT racism. At all.

Anonymous' comment reminds me of the episode of The Office where Michael asks for a less-offensive term than Mexican.

Bikini Sky said...

this is so funny makes me really want to meet Grandpa Rooster. Anonymous: have you ever tried pulling a rickshaw its a lot harder than driving! ;)

Lippy said...

I was kinda waiting for you to say the tires gripped and...well WHAM!

I think you treated this well, lol. I'm not so kind to other drivers