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Home Columns Unsolicited Advice From Old People Unsolicited Advice from Old People: Driving in Houston

Unsolicited Advice from Old People: Driving in Houston

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Gladys LoefflerI recently attended my niece’s wedding in Houston, and quickly realized driving in the big city is much different than LaCucaracha. I would like to share what I learned, in case you ever have to go to a big city.

My niece was kind enough to include a map in her invitation, but I didn’t think much of it. I just planned to stop at a gas station when I made it to town and ask directions to the “Morris Wedding.” This was a mistake. Everyone knows I always drive in the left hand lane to do my part to help the police keep the traffic flow within legal limits. Well, I learned it’s very hard to exit from that left lane, so before I knew it, I was right in the middle of town before I could pull over.

When I finally found a gas station, I discovered one of the most innovative programs I’ve ever seen. I walked through the door, and they had an Arabian prisoner working inside a jail cell – right in the store! It was this bullet proof box with bars all around it just like a real jail. There was a little slot where you could pay and another one where you could talk, but there was no way he could escape. I just think this is a brilliant idea. They had these jails in every gas station I stopped at asking for directions. Actually, I just wrote a letter to the Houston mayor complimenting him on this program.

They really do need to do a better job educating these prisoners, though. Everyone I asked for directions told me I was at Wards. I know for a fact Montgomery Wards went out of business years ago. One said, “This is the 3rd Wards,” and on down the road another said it was the 5th Wards. I guess you just can’t trust prisoners, bless their hearts.

If you ever go to the big city, I recommend bringing along several gas cans. Everywhere I stopped there was a veteran who needed gas money. Honestly, they all could have used a bath, too, but it’s not for me to judge.

Don’t even bother waving to people you pass on a two-way street in the city; not one person waved back. I was starting to think everyone in Houston was rude, when this nice young man washed my windows at a stoplight. It just changed my whole mood for the better, even though he didn’t crack a smile –even when I was driving away waving.

Speaking of stoplights, I learned that when a light is green and you’re making a turn, if you look up, the light you see is going to be red. That red light is for the cross traffic and doesn’t mean you need to stop in the middle of the intersection. A young man with a lot of tattoos was kind enough to get out of his car and explain this to me. People in Houston sure are helpful, even if they all seem to be in a bad mood. Anyway, I know this tip will help a lot of you in LaCucaracha, since we only have the flashing yellow light.

It’s a good idea to set a limit on the number of cars you’re going to wave in front of you that are exiting a parking lot. My wrist started hurting after about 30 minutes of letting people in line. Plus, there was an unbelievable ruckus going on behind me with everyone honking their horns, giving me a headache. I don’t know what in the world was going on. It must have been some kind of ethnic celebration.

Well, I was getting very discouraged about ever finding this wedding, when I had an idea. I knew those prisoners were no help, so I started looking for a men’s group like an American Legion Hall or Masonic Lodge where I could ask for directions. Sure enough, I found a very fancy building with a big sign that said “gentlemen’s club.” The gentleman at the front door was dressed in a tuxedo and very helpful. He wouldn’t let me inside, but when I asked if he knew where the “Morris Wedding” was, he asked if I was talking about “Amber and Mike’s wedding.” I was so relieved when he said my niece’s name. He said Amber worked at his club and her fiancé Mike was a regular member. I had no idea Amber worked at such a fancy place – it looked like a Roman temple. Honestly, I always thought she was a floozy.  Anyway, this nice young man drew me a map, and I made it to the wedding with five minutes to spare. So, if you’re ever lost in a city, look for a gentleman’s club.

You should have seen the look on Amber’s face when I told my story at her reception. I think that sweet girl was really distressed by the thought of me talking to all those prisoners.

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