Summer molasses in Sullivan

July 24, 2003
 By Barry Lewis
 Times Herald-Record
It's summer in Sullivan, and I've spent the last 20 mid-morning minutes inching my car a quarter-mile up Route 42.
Not what I'd call a stress reducer.

The guy on the radio says the federal government is gonna watch out for me, fill me in on the dangers of fatty foods.

If those ding dongs in Washington want to warn me about my health, I'd suggest they drop the Ring Ding scare and take a drive up to the Catskills.

It's not the food that's eating at us. It's lines. Everywhere. People in the stores. Cars on the roads. Cars on the sidewalks.

Our country roads clog up quicker than the anti-pimple aisle at prom time.

We have one supermarket here. One department store. A couple of shops, a few fast-food places and a half-dozen gas stations. And I'm stuck in traffic with the only explanation that it's summer in Sullivan.

This is Route 42, a two-lane country road that connects rural hamlets with a rural village, where 10 months of the year you've got a better chance of hitting a deer than you do another bumper.

But in the middle of summer in the middle of Route 42, traffic moves at the speed of one of those bullets in a Matrix movie. And when the car in front is finally able to move, there's no telling which way they'll go.

White lines, red lights, turning lanes.

All window dressing to our summer motorists who seem to take some perverse pleasure in creating new traffic patterns.

Maybe somewhere else consumers need a warning label to advise them about the number of carbs they need to consume.

But the real health warning is stay off the roads. Stay out of ShopRite. Stay away from Wal-Mart. Don't come near Route 42, or risk living in your car until Labor Day.

But alas, I fear these verbal warnings will fall on deaf ears. So I've come up with my own warning labels that might help us all survive another summer in Sullivan.
A label on all shopping carts.
- Warning: Did you buy Sanka?
Stewed Prunes? Didn't think so. Look down. While you were trying to figure out the fat content of Oreos back on aisle 13, some woman with red hair and gold shoes cart-jacked your groceries, leaving you with powdered milk and dietetic cookies.   

A label at the supermarket checkout line.
- Warning: This line will not move.
Forget that it's the express line, five items or less. Forget that there's only two others in front of you. Doesn't matter. They're calling for a price check on melon. Pull out the Enquirer. You're not going anywhere.
- Warning: This line is worse than the one you left.
You saw this line move and you switched. Guess what? Now the other line is moving. That price check was quick. The ATM here is busted. Pull out the Enquirer. You're not going anywhere.
 A label on car bumpers.
 - Warning: You're not seeing things.
There really is a person behind the wheel of this vehicle. Look closer and you'll see white knuckles. Should you worry the person in this car can't be seen by other drivers? Wonder if this driver can see anyone coming or going? Have a nice day.
- Warning, this driver is not about to make a right turn.
Yeah, we know the right blinker has been on for the past four miles. But this car will turn left before ever turning right.
 - Warning: This driver has forgotten cars now come with directional signals.
It'll turn on a dime without any warning. It'll slow down, but not turn. Speed up, and suddenly turn. You'll never know.
  - Warning, you're not going anywhere.
It's summer in Sullivan. Relax. Munch a Ring Ding. Pull out the Enquirer. Labor Day is less than six weeks away.


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