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road sage

Christmas and driving. They go together like salt and a fresh wound. This season traffic congestion is worsening. The run-up to December 25 sees the roads filled with frenzied motorists and commuters crammed onto public transit shopping for presents, groceries and other Yuletide extravagances, all while trying to avoid catching a variant of the variant or the good old-fashioned flu.

Sensible people stay home and do their shopping online. Really sensible people forget shopping and go on vacation. Really, really sensible people get someone to buy them a brand-new car with a giant red ribbon on it which they discover on Christmas morning (like in the commercials).

If you intend to be a Christmas Road Warrior, it’s best to be prepared. Take this quick “Road Sage Christmas Quiz” and find out if you have what it takes.

1) You’re planning on visiting the nearby shopping centre. What time should you arrive to find a parking spot?

a) If you arrive at 6 a.m. on Monday, create a digital map of the lot, return home and use AI to simulate all the possible parking permutations, come back Tuesday at 3 a.m., and then wait in your vehicle until the optimum moment, you should be able to find a spot by noon.

b) If you circle the parking lot like a great white shark in search of a surfer, you will eventually find one or you will be killed by a fisherman who was traumatized as a child by watching Jaws.

c) If you accept the multiplicity of existing things and that their changing forms and motion are but an appearance of a single eternal reality, then you will see that “all is one” and that you already have a parking space at the shopping centre.

2) It’s minus 40 degrees Celsius. A damp sleet courses from the grey bruised sky in relentless waves. Your face mask smells of sweat and the virus you are about to contract. You are waiting for the bus that will take you to the subway that you will take to the station where you will wait for another bus to take you to your streetcar stop. At what point do you risk spontaneous combustion?

a) When three “Not in Service” buses pass or the subway you just got on is emptied because of an “incident” on the tracks. Whichever comes first.

b) On the streetcar.

c) Don’t worry, if you spontaneously combust the other commuters can warm themselves on your fire until the bus arrives.

3) You roll your grocery cart up to the trunk of your car. You have just spent $438.65 on a baguette, three-year-old cheddar, a frozen turkey, a bag of russet potatoes, butter, a litre of milk, canned cranberry sauce, carrots and a pack of After Eights. You discover a brand-new dent in your driver’s side door. This proves…

a) You finally have a dent to go with the dent on the passenger-side door you got last Christmas when you went grocery shopping.

b) Every time a car gets a dent, an angel gets their wings.

4) Which of the following are NOT types of traffic-blocking Christmas construction?

a) Street repair.

b) Repairing last year’s street repair.

c) Preparing the streets they just repaired for badly-needed repair in the new year.

d) Lane “narrowing” because of condo construction. It’s important for developers to have free access to block, destroy and otherwise mess up public streets in their never-ending greed spiral.

5) During Yuletide season, highways are full of the following:

a) Peace on Earth.

b) Goodwill to All Men.

c) Drunks.

d) Drivers on their way to getting drunk.

e) People driving slowly in the passing lane.

6) In Canada, where temperatures can dip below those of the surface of Mars and snow and sleet are a constant, the empty bike lanes you see aren’t actually empty because:

a) While bereft of cyclists, they are full of the Christmas cheer.

b) Bike lanes are busy in the flat-surfaced city of Copenhagen where the average temperature in December is 5 degrees Celsius. Canadian bike lanes are waiting for Danish spillover.

c) That would mean that cities threw up a bunch of bike lanes during the pandemic without thinking about how brutal Canadian winters would affect usage, and that would be impossible because municipal officials always think things through.

7) If Santa’s sleigh travels as fast as the average city bus or streetcar, how many children will receive presents?

a) 453

b) Three million, but half of these presents will have to get off and walk to the chimney.

c) None. That’s a trick question. If Santa’s sleigh travelled as fast as the average city bus or streetcar that would mean Santa has finally sold his soul to Satan in exchange for wiping out all of his outstanding gambling debts and the Maple Leafs winning the Stanley Cup.

8) True or False: In It’s a Wonderful Life, George Bailey jumps off the bridge because he is going to have to drive the Gardiner Expressway East during rush hour.

a) True

b) False

9) In A Charlie Brown Christmas, Charlie Brown says, “I feel depressed. I know I should be happy but I’m not.” Why is Charlie Brown depressed?

a) He is despairing over the commercialization of Christmas.

b) He knows he is going to have to drive through a snowstorm to visit his parents.

c) He must drive from Montreal to Windsor on Dec. 23.

d) He must drive from Edmonton to Calgary on Dec. 24.

e) He’s Charlie Brown. He’s always depressed. Plus he has to begin driving from Ottawa to Thunder Bay on Dec. 22.

10) It’s impossible to find parking during the Christmas rush because…

a) Everyone else is parking in your space.

b) We commemorate and honour Mary and Joseph’s search for lodgings by driving around in circles for hours.

c) When you find a parking spot, that’s the greatest miracle of all.


1) C

2) B

3) B

4) A

5) C,D and E

6) C

7) C

8) B

9) A

10) C

What your scores says about you:

1 to 3 correct – Amazon Explorer

4 to 6 correct – Unwise Parker

7 to 8 correct – MistleTowed

9 to 10 correct – Ghost of Christmas Traffic Jams Past