Another nuisance uncovered

It's become clear to me that having a nice car and keeping it nice is impossible in Boston. Over the past few months I have had my car damaged by several bad Samaritans who have either "rubbed" my bumper or rear quarter panel in parking lots. They have kindly decided of their own accord that the damage wasn't enough to bother leaving a note to tell me of their insurance agents, and now I have a nicely marked up bumper. Anyone with a fairly new car knows that a bumper scratch can't be repaired to look like new, either.

And then there's the lovely mark of missing maker logo from my trunk, stolen by some miscreants who have nothing better to do in summer.

Today, however, was yet another example of a Boston driving phenomenon: the idea that no one behind me matters. I was nearly at my exit this evening when, by virtue of others ahead of me leaving my lane, I was behind a blue pickup truck with a load of some kind of gray sandy matter in the bed. It could have been pre-mix concrete or just stone dust, but there it was in the back and covered only by a couple of long-handled spades. As traffic picked up speed, the wind carried the particles out from the bed and I could hear them making pock marks on my hood's finish and on my windshield.

What's more, a smallish rock caught flight and landed square against my windshield taking out a small nick in the glass. It's not big enough to cause a problem, but it is big enough to be noticeable. Just another legacy of the evening commute.

Uncovered loads, which I believe are illegal in Massachusetts, are cause for a lot of problems in my travels around this state. I've been behind large dump trucks with their canvas tops doing little to prevent their overloaded hoppers from letting off a little "material." Usually, I'm glad to give these trucks a wide berth, and thanks to the mentality in Boston that an open hole on the highway must be filled, I can usually count on someone cutting in front of me who is willing to act as a sand and stone deflector.

But what's a driver to do? I've called the phone numbers on the sides of offending trucks to alert their owners that one of their drivers is causing a hazard (thank God for cell phones in that regard -- and I use a headset, so I'm not entirely a hazard myself while driving and talking). Mostly they are apologetic, but I don't know if it ever goes anywhere. I've thought of calling the police, local or state depending on the road, but I don't believe they're going to take the call seriously. I suppose they would if I reported that gravel was flying out of the hopper, but that rarely happens. It's mostly sand or fine loam particles.

Therefore, I'm left to just settle for calling the companies, and hope they will be kind enough to scold their drivers for being careless with their loads. If more of us drivers did the same, perhaps it would change things. But I've lived here too long to be that idealistic.


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