Thursday, April 17, 2008

CB memories ... (part one) ...

I said, " ... perhaps even soon." How's this for soon?

I used to do a fair bit of long-distance driving -- some for my art business; other times to attend out of town bridge tournaments, to visit family and friends, and to go camping and exploring in Big Bend.

I guess I first bought a CB radio in the late '70s. Cell phones were in existence then, but my opinion was that, if I were to encounter some difficulty on the trip, I would like someone who was already within a mile or so of me (and who was aware of my location) to be able to offer more immediate assistance.

CB-ers have their own language. I just 'listened in' for quite a while before venturing my first remark. I had purchased a pamphlet listing a lot of the lingo, but I could hardly consult that while driving. (A good way to have your trip cut very short!)

I learned the proper way to join in on a conversation by making a lot of mistakes. Over time, however, I discovered several possible good opening remarks, such as ...

... a "smokey" report ... a smokey, of course, referred to the location of a police car. "Hey there, west-bounders. You've got the 'Schoolteacher'/'Dodger' here (whatever your handle is at the time) traveling eastbound. There's a smokey at -----(you give the '20' [exact mile marker] of where you saw the smokey and indicate whether or not he was moving)."

... road conditions, such as extreme potholes, an accident, flooding, strong winds, a 'weaver' (possible drunk driver), a 'UFO' (unidentified flying object ... a vehicle coming up behind you at a very high rate of speed). Other drivers really appreciate this information. The first four are particularly useful for those behind you, and the last two for those ahead! You always identify which direction you're going and the mile marker you just passed as you're relaying this information. And, in the latter two instances, you give updates as soon as you know what the facts are.

A couple of stories here that directly relate to the above two paragraphs ... ...

... I was traveling to Austin, going through LaGrange (I think!). Had the CB on, but was getting no feedback at all. All of a sudden, right in the middle of town, I saw this police car. I said, "Breaker '19' ('19' being the main channel for conversations) for a 'smokey report'." Back on my radideo came the quick response, "You've got a smokey. What do you want to report?" Ha! Double ha!! Did he have a sense of humor, or what?? I dasn't pull over to remove the antenna from the top of my car. He let me skulk out of town the same way I'd arrived. (By the way, I hadn't been speeding. I was just looking for someone to 'travel with'.)

... The other story has to do with a 'weaver'. I was traveling -- not in a convoy, but pretty much by my lonesome -- back to Houston when I noticed in my rear view mirror a weaver. My Lord, he was all over the road, and traveling at a very high rate of speed! (I was on an Interstate at the time, two lanes each direction. Not much traffic. Wee hours of the morning.) I immediately got on the radio to alert westbound drivers of this. I watched, somewhat fearfully, as he came ever closer to me, weaving all the time. I moved to the shoulder, off of the highway as far as I could without going into a ditch, all the time chirping on the radio my insistence that drivers ahead of me should take heed. All of a sudden I heard, loud and clear, "What's the '20' of this weaver?" I gave him the 20. 'Weaver' went past me, barely missing my vehicle. Almost immediately behind him came this state police car (the one who had inquired about the 20), lights furiously flashing.

More later.

1 comment:

Tammy said...

Oh. My. Gosh.

This post brings back so many great memories for me of my childhood.