SitNews - Stories in the News - Ketchikan, Alaska
Column - Commentary

On the (Creek) Road


November 03, 2021
Wednesday PM

Ketchikan, Alaska -
So, one of the unintended consequences of THE GREAT CRUISE SHIP COVID SHUTDOWN OF 20-21 has been the loss of a significant source of summer humor.

jpg  Dave Kiffer

Let's face it, that as irritated that - for example - Creek Street business workers get having to answer the question "where is Creek Street" a dozen or so times a day, there is a certain amount of humor generated by the level of cluelessness displayed by some visitors to Our Fair Salmon City.

That humor is usually lost in the moment and usually only seems "funny" when recalled in the depths of winter at a Monthly Grind months later, but recounting the cluelessness is indeed humorous. In much the same way that a sharp rap on one's humerus is funny.

Well, certainly not initially, but eventually,  otherwise why call it a funny bone?

But I digress.

Yes, yes, I know that the "funny bone" is actually the ulnar nerve. But it is close enough to the humerus to count.

And I digress again.

Anyway, hearing "where is Creek Street" again and again is not unlike being whacked on the funny bone again and again. And for most of the past year we have had had none of that "humer."

Which means we have had to "get our jollies" somewhere else.

It would appear by my inbox, that much of that humor was on the road.

Speaking of humor, we usually misuse the term. We consider "humor" to be a specific positive thing as in a "sense of humor."

But actually, a humor is simply a state of being, could be good or it could be bad. Either way. Which brings to the so-called "four humors" which were once defined as the four basic elements which made up the human body. These were: blood, yellow bile, black bile and phlegm. None of those sound particularly humorous, if you ask me.

Yeah, another digression. So, sue me.

Anyhow, this prattle was going somewhere. Literally. On the road.

Instead of spending the past year muttering about the denseness of the visitors, we have been spending the last past year muttering about other drivers. At least according to my inbox. I have received numerous messages from friends and neighbors about what idiot drivers our other friends and neighbors are.

Lots of posts about left turns, about ignoring traffic lights, about the inability to find the brake pedal when approaching intersections. Also, about driving either "way too slow" or "way too fast."

Occasionally, there has been a complaint or two about the "failure to take into account road conditions." Seriously, we all know the joy of cornering into a section of road that is completely covered in water and hydroplaning somewhat out of control.  Hey, anything to at least briefly feel like we have loosed the relentless "bonds" of The Rock, right?

Then there are the people who do not seem to understand the "unwritten" rules of the local road.

Like how you are supposed to pause and let the other lane go first on Bawden between Grant and Pine streets, rather than barge ahead and force the other car to drive onto the sidewalk to miss you.

Or how you, if you are waiting at the stop sign at the confluence of Park and Bawden, you are supposed to give way to cars traveling up Bawden rather than hitting the gas and trying to T-bone them.

Yes, neither of these things are covered in the local driver's tests, but EVERYONE knows - or should know - them anyway.

On the other hand, I saw a car driving the wrong way down Dock Street by the museum the other day, so perhaps not EVERYONE knows the rules of the road.

I can see how that happens. A while back, I found myself starting to slow down to stop to turn left heading south on Front Street to turn onto Dock street. Not sure what has happening there as that section of Dock has been one way since before I was born. 

Must be the aging process. I feel like I could use a booster see to over the steering wheel somedays. I also want to start shouting at the other drivers for "going like bats out of hell."

I'm sure that at least one other person saw me slowing down, hit my blinker, quickly shut my blinker off and speed up as if nothing was out of the ordinary. I'm sure they later regaled those around the dinner table with the story of the "idiot" who was going to go the "wrong way" on Dock Street.

Which brings me back to the one odd "visitorism" that I heard this brief summer season. A cruise passenger asked me where "Creek Road" was.

That was a new one. The summer "mocking" was not a complete loss after all.


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