2004-10-19 10:35 p.m.

The Sky Is Falling

Why does the first storm of the season always make everybody in the Bay Area act crazy?

First off, traffic always sucks. This seems to be due to some kind of water-induced amnesia. People fear the wetness falling out of the sky and all decide that for their own safety they must drive to work instead of taking transit.

They also forget how to drive. Everyone loses their grasp on concepts like "visibility" and "traction" and "turn signals." And as a wholly unsurprising consequence, the vast numbers of fearful, crazy people all end up plowing into each other and making an even bigger mess of it. Because nothing makes traffic hell even more fun than a jacknifed big rig shutting down the busiest interstate feeding into the MacArthur Maze for three hours.

Incidentally, Botts' dots,according to CalTrans lore, were invented in part to keep crazy rain-addled California drivers from plowing into each other, and they had their first run in 1966 on the very freeway that was shut down this morning. So next time you start dozing on the freeway and find yourself driving by Braille, think of my people.

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