Tag Archives: humor

The Perils of Living on a Dirt Road


Yes, in this day and age, dirt roads still exist in much of the world. Specifically, I speak of my part of the world, the rural Southeastern United States. And it’s not just driveways, either–in some places, unpaved roads are all the road you’ve got to travel on. (For instance, there is an actual public road near my house that was not paved until the late 1980s. People who lived on that road had to turn off the pavement and then drive on out a few quarters of a mile to their own driveways.)

I understand that most people who live in cities or more built-up suburbs may not even grasp what I’m talking about when I say dirt roads. (Another way to phrase that: “Y’awl city folk don’t know squat ’bout dirt roads.”) So, straight from the annals of my own experiences, here are the (funny and crazy) perils of dirt road living:

#1: Washing your car is an exercise in futility.

When you have a dirt road, especially here in the South, you’re just going to have to get used to seeing AT LEAST the bottom third of your car coated in dirt all the time. Your tires especially will be coated in soil. For instance, North Carolina has a ton of red clay soil that looks like this when muddy:
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And unless you have perfect driveway conditions–meaning that the driveway isn’t too muddy OR too dusty–then as soon as you get home from the car wash pit, most of your hard work is undone. (Why don’t I wash my car at home, you might ask? Well, washing one’s car on a completely dirt driveway leads to more mud than you could ever imagine, so it’s even MORE futile to try to wash your car at home if you have a dirt driveway. Unless you want to create a mud-racing track, which some folks do…in which case, you’re all set! LOL)

#2: Every rain changes the topography of your driveway.

Here’s “Lake Allison” (which is our affectionate nickname for the GIANT pothole in our driveway which pretty much stayed filled with water during the years of 2006-2007).

Yearly driveway “scrapings” (resurfacing with a tractor attachment) are just about necessary with dirt roads, since every time it rains, the water can wash out big holes and “dips” in the dirt. (Especially if you’ve got a big hill as part of your driveway, like we do.) These giant holes can tear up tires, suspensions, and shocks, leaving you with big-time car bills if you don’t get them fixed–but getting driveways resurfaced can be just as much of a monetary pain. (Here in the South, dirt driveways are often longer than a few dozen feet, so getting a driveway paved is cost-prohibitive, too–to the tune of $3,000 or more!)

Heavy rains plus big potholes and dips in your dirt road can also mean that your car can get mired up before you’ve even left the house. Having to be towed out of your own driveway really happens sometimes when you have a dirt road!

#3: You just CAN’T shovel a dirt driveway free of snow and ice.

This is my driveway, seen from the front porch right after a fresh snowfall. (This is approximately the first third of our driveway–the length and steep slope of the driveway alone is prohibitive to shoveling.)

This is the bottom of my driveway hill after 3 days of snow melt and refreeze; here, you can see some of the dark orange mud showing through. If you TRY to shovel the snow/ice, it will move, but you will also get your shovel absolutely STUCK in the mud underneath…not to mention the danger of slipping and falling in the mud/slush mix.

This is taken from about halfway up my driveway hill (where my little car got stuck and couldn’t go any further). The giant ruts you see are the third reason you can’t shovel a dirt driveway–often, because of bad sun angle/deep shade, overnight refreeze, and the depth of the ruts, there is much more ice caked in there than it looks like, and it’s often frozen a lot harder than it looks. We have literally broken shovels and shovel handles (and twisted ankles) trying to clear the driveway hill before.

This is why we and many other dirt-road folks often elect to stay home at least 5 days after a snowstorm. (Most of my city folk friends didn’t understand this and would razz me about me being lazy or exaggerating about how snow keeps me homebound–I showed them these pics and haven’t heard a peep since. LOL, pwned!)

#4: DUST CLOUDS…that is all.

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If you’ve got a dirt driveway and dry conditions, you might think you’ve got it made…and you mostly do. But watch out for those dust clouds! They will obscure the road behind you and settle on your car when you stop, making your windows look frosted with dirt. You literally have to bring a bottle of Windex and paper towels with you everywhere you go while it’s dry out, because every time you drive over your dry dirt road, your windows will get caked up again and it will actually be dangerous to drive your car because you can’t see out. (I wish I was kidding. Fail! LOL)

What Do You Think?

All my fellow dirt-road people, have I hit the nail on the head? (And “y’awl city folk,” have I blown your minds with these strange and true tales? LOL)

How to Agitate an Extrovert

Though these days I pass as an introvert in certain situations, I am at heart an extrovert, and have always been, even according to early childhood stories from Mom and Dad.

I enjoy being around people about 5,000 times more than I enjoy being alone with no one to contact (unless I’m very sick or very tired, and even then I still hate suffering alone). When something happens to me, I want to talk about it; I want to share my experiences, I want to hear what others have to say. I feel my most alive, my most vibrant, when I am part of a loud, boisterous conversation or group music/dance performance, where the emotional energy pings back and forth between us all at lightning speeds, and the more energy you give to the gloriously chaotic situation, the more you have.

But I realize my way of life is not the way everyone lives–because I love an introvert.

I certainly don’t begrudge introverts their chosen way of living. I just couldn’t survive living as my boyfriend does; I would literally go batpoo crazy being alone all the time, not speaking up as much, not being as active in social gatherings. It’s just not how my brain or emotions work, but I love him and so I try to understand as much as I can. However, there are some things he does that are classic “introvert” behaviors, which I’ve had the hardest time understanding.

This article is written as the “other side of the coin” to “How to piss off an introvert”. We extroverts are people, too, and sometimes introverted behaviors are agitating to us. (I wouldn’t go so far as to say they “piss me off,” but I definitely get worried!) Here are 3 of the most worrying introvert behaviors, PLUS a handy cheat sheet to figuring out the extrovert(s) in your life!

Worrisome Introvert Behavior #1: The Flat “Mugshot” Expression at Parties

It’s really hard to enjoy a party when you spot somebody else sitting off by themselves who looks like they would rather be enduring a root canal. I don’t know if this goes for all extroverts or if it’s just me, but seeing somebody with that expression immediately dampens my enjoyment. I’m a “fixer” and a “nurturer,” so my immediate instinct is to go over and see what’s wrong, because obviously something’s wrong if they’re sitting there unsmiling!

Before you start arguing with me in your head, I know the counter-argument already, because my boyfriend and I have gone back and forth (jokingly) about this many times. You’re “not mad,” and you “don’t hate everything and everyone at the party.” But it sure looks like it! You look like you could be on America’s Most Wanted with that face! How am I not supposed to worry and not assume that something’s wrong? And most of all, how can I leave you alone without worrying that you’re not enjoying yourself (which makes me feel like I’m ignoring your needs and being a really bad person)?

confusedface I think I can speak for all extroverts when I say that we do get confused (and subsequently worry) about this. I’m not sure if it’s because we wear our expressions so much more vividly or because we express so much more of our emotional state outwardly, but it bugs me when somebody (aHEM, boyfriend) keeps reassuring me that they’re fine, only to elect to sit alone and have that weird “not quite frown” on their faces. I end up thinking, “If you were really that happy to be here, wouldn’t you, I don’t know, LOOK LIKE IT?”

Worrisome Introvert Behavior #2: The “Silent Treatment”

Imagine this scenario: you have been riding silently in the car with me for 45 minutes. I have tried every small-talk conversation tactic I know, talking about the most interesting things I can, asking questions, trying to draw you out so that I can communicate with you and enjoy your different perspective on things. But no matter what I do, you stare straight ahead, not replying or adding anything to the conversation, and yet insist, when questioned, that you’re not mad at me.

This happens with more people than just my boyfriend–many of the introverts I’ve met in my life have done this, and I end up confused and agitated because I don’t know what to do or say to reach them. One thing about extroverts: we show love through communication. If we don’t like you, we don’t talk to you. If I’m bothering to try to talk to you, it means I really want to get to know you, and I want to make the best impression possible. It doesn’t mean that I’m trying to talk your ear off or see how annoying I can be in 10 minutes. I just want human contact, and introverts are exotic, because y’all don’t talk a whole lot but you usually have something awesome to say when you do.

nervous So when our best conversation pitches and jokes are met with silence, we literally don’t know what to do next. Is he/she angry? Have I said something offensive? We rack our brains through the stream of recent conversation, trying to find anything that might have been even passably annoying. Does he/she actually hate me and is just tolerating me?

OK, OK, maybe not all of us extroverts are as paranoid about losing friends as I am, but you get the point. You sitting there in silence makes me feel like I’ve done something wrong, and I start getting desperate for ways to fix whatever I’ve done. (Which usually leads to more blathering as I hunt for something, ANYTHING to say to reconnect with them, and I end up bothering the heck out of them without meaning to.) This is extrovert torture supreme!

Worrisome Introvert Behavior #3: Spending Lots of Time Alone

Being alone, to an extrovert, is punishment, plain and simple. A solitary extrovert is like a device that ought to be able to connect to the Internet but can’t. How much can you do on an iPhone that can’t make calls and can’t get on the Internet, for instance? NOT MUCH! Same with extroverts; we literally don’t know what to do with ourselves without others around. We might be able to get a few things done around the house or attempt to read a book/watch a movie, but it’s just not as interesting without someone else there to talk to. (Internet or text communications only partly alleviate this; face-to-face communication time is the best.)

So, when an introvert (like my awesome boyfriend) says they want some time alone, it’s an instinctive shock. You mean you actually WANT to be alone? You mean I can’t spend time with you at ALL? Am I that draining that you have to get away from me?

You think I’m exaggerating, but for the first couple of years of our relationship, I battled against these feelings every time my “wub” said he needed alone time. I actually worked myself into a full-blown anxiety attack once, lying there alone in my bedroom, nauseated and dizzy, scared to death he was going to call any minute and break up with me because he wanted even MORE “alone time.” I didn’t yet understand that the request for alone time had nothing to do with me; it terrified me because I thought it held a lot more significance than it did.

Maybe not every extrovert is terrified of losing relationships, but we still worry. When we like people, we want to spend time with them. And introverts are usually amazing people who have vastly different perspectives on life. Y’all are fascinating and interesting–and then suddenly, you deprive us of your wonderful selves because you say you need “alone time.” Know what that translates to in extrovert-ese? “REJECTION.” Like I said, if extroverts don’t like you, we’ll avoid you. When you choose not to be around us, we may just interpret that as “you don’t like us.” The resulting emotional state we end up in resembles the dog pound scene from Lady and the Tramp:

How to Put Our Minds at Ease

The two ways of life I’ve described here, however, do not have to be diametrically opposed or hostile to each other. Here are the best ways to put our extrovert brains at ease:

  • Take a little time to explain in words what you need from us as a friend or significant other. I recognize that introverts have different emotional needs, but extroverts won’t magically understand those needs without some communication. If something we’re doing is bugging you, we need to know.
  • Suggest things we can do together that aren’t so mentally draining for you. If you hate going out to parties because they exhaust you, for instance, would there perhaps be a happy middle ground of “being social without being in public”, like hanging out and watching movies at home?


  • Extroverts aren’t less mature than introverts; we simply relate to others differently.
  • Extroverts are usually other-focused and thus concerned about others’ emotional welfare, especially in social situations. If you don’t look happy, we feel like bad friends/significant others for not ensuring that you’re having a good time.
  • Extroverts use conversation as the primary way to show love and/or friendship. If you’re silent, our main means of showing you we care about you is shut down.
  • Extroverts choose to spend time with those they love and appreciate. If you want alone time, it literally requires a mindset-shift for us to not read that as rejection.
  • Extroverts just want to be friendly, and sometimes that gets misread as “annoying.” Just a little explanation, however, can stop us from blathering around trying to find out what’s wrong!

Morning and Night Hours (According to a Night Owl)

Most early birds don’t understand night owls, and vice versa–but the world’s schedules run more on early birds’ internal clocks. If you’re not up by 6:00 AM, you’re judged as “lazy,” and if you’re up past 10:00 or 11:00, you’re just plain “crazy.” Never mind that some folks just run on a different clock! 😛

So, to help y’all early birds understand the night and morning hours of a day from a night owl’s perspective, I’ve compiled this handy chart from my own personal experience. Read on, to find out how we night owls use time differently (and view mornings differently as a result)! (And fellow night owls, let me know how accurate this chart is–this is from my own personal experience :D)



*Note about 10:00 AM: I’ve noticed that if I try to sleep past 10:00 AM, I end up with horrible nightmares more often than not. Do any other night owls experience nightmares after a certain time in the day?