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LJWorld.com weblogs The Emerald Frog

Our local highways and sofas.

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Our local highways and interstates, often cited as a worrisome danger, were recently subjected to the additional threat of the annual migration of students. Based on my own first-hand experiences on K-10 and I-70, I have come to a conclusion: some of you might not be ready for college.

On the fated day of August 1st I witnessed no fewer than 3 sofas and 2 mattresses being picked up out of the ditch, or simply left to lie. I also saw one mattress tied to the top of a car in such a way that the 75 mph draft was actually folding the mattress in half. That’s going to be super comfortable to sleep on. For you amateurs out there, there is a simple formula for tying bulky furniture to the back of your (presumably borrowed) pickup. To ride comfortably, your sofa will need to be tied down with enough force to resist the resistance of the wind, not counting the weight and if you’re planning on going 75, that’s a lot more than you think it is.

Also, unless you have spent time in the navy or macramé classes, you don’t have the knotting skills to tie down your mattress with rope. Use nylon straps made specifically for the job. If you can’t imagine the need, then instead of going to college, you should consider getting a job at FEDEX for a while to give you some real world experience with physics and aerodynamics.

If you put a large piece of furniture in the back of your pickup, and tie it down lackadaisically, it could and will fly out. As my dad pointed out to me the first time I tried moving furniture in a pickup, “It doesn’t have to weigh much to fly out.” And once your sofa has flown out of the back of your pickup into traffic which is moving at 75 miles an hour, there are multiple consequences. First, you don’t have a sofa anymore; there was no point loading it up there onto that truck bed in the first place. Second you can have legal problems, as testified by the number of police cars parked next to the pickup loads of Joe Citizen. As a matter of fact, you can get a ticket for unrestrained load even if your perilous tower doesn’t collapse. Then we get to the worst part, which we can assume these young whippersnappers have never even considered – the vehicles traveling behind you at highway speeds might be impacted by your furniture flying out into an otherwise unobstructed highway. Even the most skilled drivers might not have time to swerve or stop, when they see a lovely taupe futon mattress flying end over end down the fast lane. The swerving and stopping can also cause accidents.

Yet, there they were, more than one group of grown people, recovering their sofas and mattresses from the ditch. I was also able to travel out west on I-70, and just outside of Hays, another college town, there was a green velvet sofa-shaped pile of splinters on the side of the road. I know we’ve only been driving 75 for a few weeks now, but in Western Kansas and Eastern Kansas, those are not good furniture hauling speeds.

The next step up is the U-haul trailer going 75 mph. Maybe it’s none of my business, but I don’t think those trailers from the 1980’s should be going 75 mph, especially with a driver who has never owned a trailer, and has to rent. Oh wait, it is my business, when three of them are dragging down K-10 at 75 mph, and one is on the shoulder with a blown tire (probably some debris in the road).

In conclusion, if you can’t properly tow a trailer, or if you can’t conjure a route between two Kansas towns that doesn’t include high-speed freeways, you probably aren’t ready for that new apartment anyway.

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