My life as a mother actually means I'm an underpaid UNPAID chauffer. But instead of a limousine, I'm driving a family car/mini-van. And, I don't even get to wear a fancy hat, suit or white gloves. My uniform is a sun-visor to hide the uncombed hair, stretchy pants with an elastic waistband and flip-flops.
Fortunately I'm doing this daily grind in the Florida Keys - meaning my view is wonderful and eccentric. As I drive my daughter around from school to sports to play dates, I enjoy everything from peacocks to pristine water. The view is never boring and I'm grateful for this gift. But, because I'm on the road so much, I've had a lot of time to analyze the powerful growth of the orange alien force taking over our streets. Bob's Barricades.
Has anyone else noticed that this "Bob" seems to have a plan? Over the years, he has slowly gained strength like an orange Hitler, maneuvering his square thugs with flashing lights in strategic places throughout the Keys. Every night, Bob adds more of his orange commandos to the road while we're ignorantly sleeping in the very beds we managed to find only after swerving around miles and miles of his reflecting cones.
If we're not careful, we're going to be outnumbered and soon, we're going to be detoured right out of the Keys, and forced to drive into the maze of I-595, where no one can ever escape their power again.
Am I being too dramatic? Well, I have a lot of hours on the road to think about these things and I feel like I need to speak out for all of us because I believe we've all become sort of numb to Bob and his impact on all of our lives.
I think my brainwashing began a few years ago when the new sewer lines had my particular route at a standstill. I was surrounded by massive amounts of neon orange structures torturously burning the name, BOB'S BARRICADES, into my mind.
Similar to the effects of the Stockholm syndrome, my negative thoughts about Bob shifted. Instead of feelings of frustration, I began fantasizing about the possibility of Bob adopting me, or, if he had bad eyesight, possibly marrying me and thus, sharing his wealth of orange happiness.
In a moment of clarity, I pointed out my dream of marrying Bob, to my girlfriend on a particularly long drive from Key West to Key Largo. She pointed out that I'm still married to Jack, so obviously I wasn't that clear. But, since we had about 70 miles to go, she Googled 'Bob's Barricades' and found out the owner of Bob's Barricades isn't even a Bob! One of the partners in Bob's Barricades is actually named... HAPPY Alter. Duh. Of course he's happy! He's in control of all of us and every man and woman driving in Florida wants to marry him.
Why would a man named Happy own a company named Bob's Barricades? I had to do serious research. An actual "Bob" Brownlee and his wife, Jackie, originally started the company. Apparently Bob was a deputy for the Dade County sheriff's department and, back then, off-duty officers were used to direct traffic around any street repair project. Bob noticed a few trucks bringing down barriers from Fort Lauderdale and he realized he could do the same, so he began sawing signs in his backyard in the summer of 1967. He was smart for thinking of this biz, but he was a genius for thinking of putting his name on each and every barricade. FREE ADVERTISING for Bob meant big business.
In the early 1970's, Bob got an offer he couldn't refuse and sold Bob's Barricades to truck rental businessman, James A. Ryder, who turned around and sold it to Happy, who is in partnership with Alan Chesler today. What happened to the original Bob? Believe it or not, Bob is back in the barricade biz and named it ABC... Another Barricade Company. Cracks me up.
During my research I found out a couple of other interesting facts. For instance, they lease a barricade for 25 cents to 75 cents each per day. (Again. I want to be adopted by or marry either Bob or Happy.) And they actually have a place called "Bob's Barricades Hospital" where they repair any inventory I might have "accidentally" flattened in a moment of Stockholm syndrome anger.
In the spirit of acceptance, here are a few positive thoughts on the barricade issue.
#1 The streets are aptly decorated for the holidays. Halloween and Thanksgiving are big on the color orange.
#2 I'm thinking of embracing Bob's theory and use tiny orange cones to direct my family to the dishwasher and to the wash machine so they won't get lost or fall into dangerous territory when they forget these basic chores.
#3 Finally, if Bob's ABC kicks Bob's Barricade's butt, at least we'll be able to teach our children some of the alphabet as we pass by one barricade after another while driving the "limo" throughout the Keys.