Last week, I mentioned we had a spot of car trouble.
We’ve since purchased a more modern car, and life moves on.
Now, it’s more modern, but it’s not ‘new’, as in ‘I’m the first owner’ new. It was owned by a rental agency first and doubtless rode hard by the renters, but it’s only a year and a half old, and it certainly looks and feels new, thanks to having been well maintained and serviced.
It looks shiny and new and modern, and it is very cool. I love this freaking car.
It’s a 2010 Hyundai Elantra, a nice combination of inexpensive fuel-efficient compact and interior comfort with techie toys.
It also fits a 6′ big bear butt comfortably with tons of headroom, not an easy feat.
My favorite thing? The stereo has a USB port and plays mp3s. You can, and I have, put your mp3s in different folders on a USB flash drive, or just all loose, and plug it in the USB port. It instantly sees the drive and you can browse the folders, whose file names are visible, play the mp3s, it’s fully and smoothly integrated.
No more CDs or CD cases in the car. Ever. EVER. Want to add a new favorite song to your favorite driving collection? Don’t burn a whole new CD, just put it in the folder on your flash drive. And of course, you can plug in your mp3 player via an auxiliary audio port, but I am captivated by the USB input. I can now have 4 gig of music sorted and organised and ready to go.
I can have a folder with ALL my Tim Malloys songs on it, instead of across three CDs.
As you can probably tell, I’m quite captivated that technology installed in cars has finally caught up to what I wanted ten years ago. And I has one!
Did I mention no more burning bloody-be-damned CDs?
So yes, I like the new car.
I like it clean and neat and sparkling.
But I am a big bear butt, and I must have some customization. I must show my whimsical spirit.
As Cassie and Alex and I drove back from the dealership, I remarked that I was going to keep it exactly the way it was…
But I must add some fuzzy dice dangling from the rearview mirror.
Cassie was quick to point out that I can’t. I’m not allowed.
Oh, it’s not Cassie that would deny me fuzzy dice. Oh no. She’d simply remark on my utter lack of taste, or in this case my essential poor white trash redneck sense of taste, and shake her head in sorrow.
No, it’s the guv’mint that forbids me from expressing myself by putting fuzzy dice dangling on my rearview mirror.
No, seriously. Check this out, my friends.
Sgt. Mark Baker
Minnesota State Patrol
Q: My friend says having anything hanging from the rearview mirror is illegal. Is that true? And if so — would I really get pulled over just because of that?
A: Ah, the things people like to hang from their rearview mirrors! And suspended objects seem no longer to be limited to fuzzy dice, air fresheners, graduation tassels and garters.
Unfortunately for those who like to hang things from their rearview mirrors, all of it is illegal. Minnesota State Statute 169.71 subdivision 1 addresses suspended objects between the driver and the windshield. This statute states “no person shall drive or operate any motor vehicle with a windshield cracked or discolored to an extent to limit or obstruct proper vision, or (except for law enforcement vehicles) with any objects suspended between the driver and the windshield, other than the sun visors and rear-vision mirrors.” (The exception for law enforcement vehicles provides for necessary speed detection equipment as well as video and other equipment).
Because this is a vision obstruction and illegal, people commonly are pulled over for this violation alone. Many of the crashes officers investigate are due to a driver not seeing another vehicle, bicycle or pedestrian. We have many visual obstructions in the vehicles we drive already, such as the support pillars and rearview mirrors. Any that we can eliminate makes everyone safer on our roads.
Now, before we move on, let me add the link to the statute / law. Just so we can get any doubt out of the way as to whether or not I am shitting you.
No shit. In the state of Minnesota, if you put anything, anything at all, dangling from your rearview mirror you are in violation and if the cop is feeling cranky and needs to make ticket quota, you WILL be pulled over and ticketed for it.
They say suspended in the statute because they don’t have the balls to say something as risque as dangling.
I could put Fuzzy Dice on my rearview mirror, but they would be Illegal Fuzzy Dice.
Illegal. Fuzzy. Dice.
Think about that. Illegal Fuzzy Dice. Three words that capture so much meaning.
Cassie and I started talking about illegal fuzzy dice, and Alex started laughing his butt off. I’ve got him now to the point that he loses it and dissolves into giggles at just the barest mention of illegal fuzzy dice.
He wants to make a WoW character named IllegalFuzzyDice, and he was crushed that it would be too many letters. He’d like to see a guild named Illegal Fuzzy Dice, though.
So would I.
Illegal Fuzzy Dice.
We are at the point where, if something can be described, it WILL have a law detailing what is or is not permissable. And the justification used, as with so much else, is “If it will result in the saving of just one life, than isn’t it worth it? Who among us is so evil as to object to the saving of a human life?”
It makes sense, when phrased that way. If you suspend your damned sense for a minute, anyway.
The reality is, that justification can be used, if followed to it’s logical conclusion, to restrict all humanity to remain within their homes with the doors locked, and robots to make sure that we continue to wear bubble-wrap on our bodies at all times to protect from falls, all devices that create sound banned to preserve our hearing, lighting rigidly controlled to prevent eyestrain, food metered out in recommended doses to keep us from getting fat, etc, etc.
What the hell does that describe? What else is managed to that extent? Oh yeah. Cattle.
What a statute like that on the books, actually enforced by law enforcement officers, represents is a belief that it is better to regulate and control through legislation rather than leave the issue up for personal judgment or responsibility and then hold people accountable for their actions.
Boiling it down, if one person would dangle something big from their rearview mirror that blocks their view, gets into an accident and says it wasn’t his fault because nobody stopped him from doing it, then the obvious way to prevent similar accidents in the future is to forbid ANYONE from dangling shit from their mirror, blocking their view.
And then ticket anyone you see doing it.
Now, me being myself, I’d think the logical thing to do instead is hold people responsible for their own actions. Have something dangling if you’d like, but if you get into an accident where visibility to the front was determined as being part of the cause by an acident investigator, and you had stuff dangling, then you get in trouble for unsafe driving. A catch-all.
Of course, that would take effort on the part of someone using judgment on investigating a cause, rather than making some blanket “if you do this you’re breaking the law, breaking the law.”
Freedom includes the freedom to accept the consequences, and if you block your view in an unsafe way, then it’s your ass. Why should everyone else suffer?
I believe in freedom. I believe in personal responsibility. And I believe in holding people accountable for their own actions rather than pre-emptive legislation.
I believe that legislation like this rear-iew mirror stuff is ludicrous and offensive.
It says “I don’t think you low-class idiots are capable of taking care of yourselves or making your own decisions, so we’re going to tell you what you can or cannot do, and to what extent. Morons.”
Illegal Fuzzy Dice.
ILLEGAL FUZZY DICE.
I can drive down the road, in a car I purchased myself with money saved through the labor of my own hands, earnings that were heavily taxed, and I can be driving under the speed limit, using caution when appropriate for the conditions of the road, lights on, music low, paying attention for idiots that are swerving violently in and out of traffic, and if I have illegal fuzzzy dice dangling from my rear-view mirror, cute little white fuzzy dice, I will be an outlaw.
A dastardly desperado, dangling dice like forbidden fruit, taunting The Man.
Illegal Fuzzy Dice.
Welcome to the real world.
Is it any wonder I love World of Warcraft so much?
Oh yeah, and Happy Thanksgiving.