Don’t you just hate it when you look down your narrow Gloucester street and there’s this big, oversized black van coming at you, well over the yellow center line, taking up half your lane to avoid a car parked on its side?
This happens all day, every day in East Glawsta, in particular, and on the upper streets of downtown. Drivers think that an obstacle in their lane entitles them to as much of your lane as they want. This is not the case.
It is their responsibility to yield the right of way, to slow down, or even to stop if there is not enough space. Most of them aren’t very good drivers – because what good driver really needs 5 or 6 feet between them and the cars parked on their right? They’d rather give you 6 inches on your side or push you into the gutter, so they can have their huge buffer.
The funny thing is, most van drivers are proud of who they are. Ha! This is not the case. They can’t negotiate or tolerate close distances on their side, perhaps partly because they’re so big, usually empty, but tall.
This entitles them to your space, but – BUSTED! “I’ve been following school buses through East Gloucester that stayed almost entirely in the lane while the big black pick-up truck behind the two of us took up half the lane on the other side.
It never occurs to them that they might slow down or just go 6-12 inches over the line. Same line of parked cars, but the bus is legit – the black truck is not. Maybe it’s right, isn’t it?
So, is it just huge black mics we’re talking about here? No, but if you haven’t noticed, while America prides itself on its colorful differences, personalities, and outlook, nearly every car you see on the road, parked, or in dealerships is black. , white or silver.
Silver was even but fell slightly. Of course, you can see other colors on the road: the occasional red, a plaintive blue here and there and gunmetal gray, but the preponderance is these three colors.
The white pickups aren’t as popular as the black ones, which have taken the lead. SUVs have become mom’s car of choice and the vast majority of them are white. Small station wagons like the Subaru Outback have now morphed into the same SUV shape and size you’d expect. Mainly white. On the other hand, trucks also continued to grow in size. The Toyota Tacoma pickup – which is hugely popular in Gloucester – has almost reached tundra size. Almost impossible to see the road in front of the hood while driving.
Sometimes you may find yourself overwhelmed by swaths of white cars in lots or intersections. Does anyone other than me notice this? Then at 128 lights, it’s a black hole of black vans and sedans waiting for the light to change. Or the mosaic mix of four whites and four blacks flying to 128 in a tight formation. Like I said, for a while, silver was part of the big mix, but its popularity has dwindled considerably.
Which begs the bigger question: are buyers asking for their black truck outright, or is it just what dealerships have the most? When I bought my black truck from Gloucester’s Portside Auto, I asked for black. I had just had my silver Tacoma run over by a fallen tree and Eric in Portside who buys at auction gave me an incredible offer on a Nissan Frontier. But when my wife bought her Outback, the lot was filled with white, and they steered us toward that color with prompts and emphasizing the car’s relative coolness in increasingly common heat waves. So, you see, we are both also participating in this fading evolution. But whether buyers or sellers determine color is up for debate.
A fish processing plant owner in the Blackburn Industrial Park, a relative, once scolded me online never to criticize pick-up truck or van drivers in Fishtown. He told me that if they work, they deserve any space or obstruction they create, even on city streets. He would stop reading me if I did it again.
His fish processing plant went bankrupt a few years ago, so I guess the way is finally clear for speaking out. But I disagree with its premise. On the way to work or not, pickup trucks and other beasts of the road can and should stick to their lane, even if it means — GASP! – slow down or just take a foot or two to the side. Good drivers can do it. So please stop taking those 6 feet. If the school bus can do it, so can we all.
Gloucester resident Gordon Baird is an actor and musician, co-founder of Musician magazine and producer of the community television show ‘The Chicken Shack’.