If you have driven in Brandon or any other locale where train tracks cross a municipal street, this has probably happened to you at least once. The red lights start to flash, the guard arms come down (if installed) and you come to a complete standstill thinking it will last for a few minutes.
About 20 minutes later, there is no end in sight to the train. So, what do you do?
You can curse the people who approved the tracks running through the city, or in most cases, the people who approved planning the city around the tracks.
You can try and read the graffiti on some of the rail cars as they pass.
You can count the number of cars.
You can wonder if the train engineers slowed down the train to make your wait longer.
You can listen to your favorite radio station – if you still listen to radio – or put on your favorite tunes and sing along. Who cares if those in other cars think you are losing your mind?
You can roll down your window, weather permitting, and strike up a conversation with other drivers waiting for the train to go by.
You can get out of your car and do some stretching exercises, especially of you have been sitting there longer than 10 minutes.
You can get out of the car, look around, and try to count how many cars are stopped in your lane.
You can get on your cell phone and start texting and calling friends. But first, find out if this would be exempt from distracted driving laws since you don't want to get a ticket.
You can start writing that novel you always wanted to.
You can make a dash to the fast food place on your side of the tracks if you feel there's enough time.
You can start a betting pool with other stranded motorists as to how long the train will take to pass. This can be done with passengers in your vehicle if you don't like gambling with strangers.
You can break out the case of refreshments you bought just moments ago and offer them to fellow motorists or even sell them a can or two. We're talking non-alcoholic beverages here, folks.
You can check your investments and maybe do some on-line trading.
You can just sit in the car, zone out, and think about whatever.
From the headlines
There is a petition circulating in the U.S. that calls for Montana to be sold to Canada for one trillion dollars, which would go towards the America’s $23 trillion national debt. Some Americans living in Montana may like the idea because they’ll get medi-care, better hockey and legal weed.
So if Canada could buy any part of the United States what should it be?
There’s California. While its quite a distance from the border, if we owned California, we would probably pay less for our vegetables, fruits and even some wine.
We could buy Washington D.C. and throw the current president out of the White House. As landlord, we could say he’s not our kind of tenant.
We could buy Florida so that all the snowbirds going down there would see their money at par, making those winter trips more affordable.
Crime prevention tip: A survey of convicted burglars shows the first place they look for valuables when robbing your home is the bedroom. Therefore, don’t put your jewelry and other valuables there.
If you’re like the average person, you have no valuables to stash so why worry about it?
The (non)-Super Bowl has come and gone with television seeing a decrease. When Americans can see grown men hit each other everyday in their neighborhoods, why would they tune into a game to watch it?
Hopefully by the time you read this, the Polar Vortex will have gone home, wherever that may be. Perhaps we can convince the “Orange President” to build a weather wall that will keep the cold out of North America.
Thought for the week:
Spring arrives in a month. Can you make it until then?