Ravings of Madmen

Maryland- Nation of Retards?  I'm from Los Angeles, and I was in Rockville, MD for a year-long fellowship at the National Institutes of Health.  Rockville is a sterile but pleasant neo-suburbia, three big malls, lots of strip-malls, Old Navy, Levitz Furniture, Starbucks Shitty Coffee, you know- America.  I think Rockville is also a little bit Stepford, but it ain't just the wives that are whacked.  In the past six months I have seen such consistently stupid behavior from the locals, I can only assume that Maryland was an early outpost for retards, much as Australia got on the map as a prison colony.
Most of the people I work with seem OK, but out in everyday driving & walking around, the things I see are staggering.  People in Maryland can't drive.  At all.  Period.  I want to videotape a day of just driving around, nothing fancy.  When I try to tell people back home, I don't think they grasp the gravity of the problem.  You can't believe until you see it (thus the camera).
I see people running red lights (possibly after they feel like they've waited long enough), turning right from the left-turn lane of a busy 5-lane street, stopping for no apparent reason in the middle of a busy street, ALL DAY, EVERY DAY.  If I'm in a good mood, I laugh at the monkeys driving cars.  If I'm in a bad mood, I'm sorely tempted to pick the slowest one out of the herd and kill it.  Just for a laugh.
In a parking lot, it gets worse, partly because you can really see their faces.  They all look scared, like they're riding a skittish horse that may dart at any second.  They seem unaware that the car is under their control.  Usually, an entire parking lot stops moving when someone starts backing out of a space.  Even with plenty of room, they may have to back-n-forth two or three times to get all the way out of the space.  Meanwhile, every other driver has stopped and is just looking around, like they just woke up from surgery or something...kind of dazed, scared, afraid to move...it's surreal.  You can't imagine it because I can't describe it fully.
Pedestrian traffic is no less flummoxing.  To walk like a proper Marylander, you must turn your head fully to either side, and keep it there while moving forward.  I have even seen people jogging this way, seriously, looking due west while running due north.  One day, in a mall (lots of malls here...) I just stood still, out in a big open area.  Mind you, it wasn't especially crowded, and I wasn't in a doorway or anything.  It didn't take 30 seconds for someone to walk right into me.  Didn't see me.  Looking ninety degrees left.  I just stood there and let a couple more people walk into me, in the middle of this wide-open 50-foot square.  It was like watching a monkey play with its shit, or an epileptic having a seizure.  Horrifying, yet fascinating.
There's also a long-standing Maryland tradition of stopping- like at the top of an escalator, or in a crowded doorway- and talking at leisure with friends and family who have also stopped to enjoy a conversation with you.  It's really a great chance to hear other people's ideas, since they are blocking your progress and talking loudly amongst themselves.  Unfortunately, I have yet to hear an idea of any merit from the mouth of a Marylander.   It makes me seriously consider boots with straight-razors sticking out at strategic angles...or maybe I could dig up some spiked leather from my days as an angry young punk.  For clarification, I am now an angry old punk.
In summary, it is my belief that Marylanders were all born and raised in womb-like isolation chambers, and then magically transported here and given jobs and car keys. OR there is a secret experiment involving long-term survival of brain-resection patients in society.  OR there is some local poison eroding the frontal lobes of unsuspecting citizens.  I drink bottled water and avoid local produce, just in case.  Every morning Carrie & I check our heads for new scars, and poke under the bed for body-snatcher pods.  I don't know why Marylanders are so jacked, and I don't care.  I just want to do my time and go home.  Nation of retards!

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