The sign of a bright new year
I know its the New Year. I heard it over and over again. You wanna hear it again?Make sure you take your sunglasses with you if you plan on entering Tahoe City at night from the Squaw Valley side. Our new traffic sign is in full operation, finally, after a lengthy fitting. I dont know how we survived without it for so many millions of years. Now drivers are having a fit as they round the last curve into Tahoe City in the dark and are hit with the blinding amber glare, commanding us to report drunk drivers. Ive never seen a drunk driver myself. When I do it will probably be the car that hits me head on. It will be the last thing I see in this life. I just hope shes cute.While youre at it, report drivers going off the road next to the sign. Its bright enough to cause an accident. Fortunately for us, nobody reads signs anyway.The placement of the sign is rather interesting if you examine it closely, but who would want to? Directly opposite the monstrosity are two very large Caltrans fuel tanks, strategically placed not far from the curve in the road.I can just see a car driven by someone covering their eyes, soaring through the air directly into those fuel tanks, wondering what the sign said. Im surprised it hasnt happened already. On second thought, you wont have to report it. The explosion will blow Tahoe City right off the map. The flash will be visible from Pluto. At age 57, my eyes are much more sensitive than they were when I was 20. That sign, as far as my optical needs as a driver are concerned, is just as dangerous as a drunk driver. It rivals that horrendous neon billboard at Boomtown. Every time I drive by Boomtown at night, shielding my eyes, I think to myself, gee, if only I had some explosives. Since we paid for our new sign we should be able to use it as our own personal message board. Jimmy from Cupertino, call your mom. Doris and Clyde from Hayward, we forgot the boat but have board games. Emphasis on bored.At the very least the sign should say, Avoid looking at this sign, or, Caution, this sign could be hazardous to your health. In summertime it might even say, Entering Lake Tahoe, please fasten your life vest.I would like to apply for the job of deciding what the sign says. My first order of business would be to program it to announce how much the sign cost us taxpayers. The amount itself would be enough to cause an accident. Then I would punch in the words, If you can read this sign you are not watching where you are going.We have too many lights to deal with on the highway. Everything was fine until, years ago, some dimwit invented cars with four headlights. As if two wasnt enough. Who needs four headlights, people who cant see with two? Great. But can they read signs?As far as I know, the extra pair of headlights is controlled by a separate switch. Why then are they always turned on? In effect, four headlights amounts to the same thing as bright lights, which are illegal when approaching oncoming traffic, or within a certain distance of the car in front of you. Now that we have evolved to cars with four headlights, that rule obviously no longer applies. So I just drive with my bright lights on all the time now. I dont need four headlights to be cool. And with my bright lights on, I have four for the price of two. Those smarty pants with four headlights had to pay extra.Thank God for my Ray Ban Aviator sunglasses. I never thought they would come in handy at night. I just hope I dont live long enough to see our new sign display a lengthy message in Arabic. Happy New Year! How original of me.Bob Sweigert is a Sierra Sun columnist, published poet, experienced ski instructor and commercial driver. He’s lived at Lake Tahoe for 25 years.
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