You can never have too much candy–or knowledge

I awoke today in a state of terror, which, given that it’s October 31, sounds appropriate.

Potential visitation by hordes of zombies, ghouls, and sparkly princesses doesn’t frighten me.  (Running of out treats would be ghastly, but I always overstock.)  No, it’s National Novel Writing Month–starting tomorrow–that gives me the fantods.

I said I’d participate and I will; I even have a plot, more or less.   My hope is that, after ingesting vats of caffeine, I’ll be miraculously swept along on a surge of inspiration and somehow crank out the required 50,000 words by the end of the month.   However, as any writer knows, nothing generates panic like an empty to-be-completed screen or pristine sheet of paper, especially when it’s accessorized with a deadline.  

Today, the last day before NaNoWriMo,  I’m preoccupied with not tripping up the library stairs or snagging the trailing hem of my Halloween costume on the wheels of office chairs.  Re-using the elaborate gown that I made for my daughter’s Renaissance festival visit seemed like such a practical idea, too.  Imagine wearing this sort of thing back in the day, ascending slippery castle steps or navigating around open fires.  Truly horrifying.   

But modern navigation offers spine-tingling moments, too.

One morning last week, I was heading east into downtown on 620 when I detected a siren approaching from behind.   Several of us immediately pulled over as far right as we could and stopped.  A number of others did not; in fact, a few drivers accelerated directly in front of the ambulance, presumably to gain position in the traffic queue.  Those who simply proceeded as usual may not have heard due to radio volume, phones, etc.

We were lucky: no collision transpired, and the ambulance wove past without incident.  But afterward, I panicked a bit, wondering whether I had in fact made the wrong move.  Given the number of drivers not moving right and stopping, I began to question whether this was actually the correct practice.   

A couple of internet searches led me to the Texas Transportation Code online, specifically Sec. 545.156: Vehicle Approached by Authorized Emergency Vehicle.  Resources like Findlaw, the Texas Department of Public Safety (did you know that the driver’s handbooks are online?),, and the Round Rock Public Library’s Government and Legal databases can be quickly accessed.  They furnish a reliable knowledge base for everyday questions like this one.

And, if your legal concerns are city-oriented, it’s nice to know that Round Rock’s Code of Ordinances is handily online and updated on a monthly basis.  That’s one more issue not to worry about.   Now, if the City could only do something about those 175 blank pages…

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