Ask a Dilettante – HOV Lane, Groundhogs, Update

Need to know just a little bit about something? Ask a dilettante.

What was the deal with that woman who was busted driving solo down the HOV lane claiming she wasn’t alone because she was pregnant? If she wants that kid to count, put him in a car seat.

Look, the lady was in a hurry, she thought about all the time she’d save taking the HOV lane, and she gambled. When she got busted, she said the best thing she could come up with on the spot. People use all sorts of schemes to suggest there’s another human being in the car when there actually isn’t – strapping in a blow up doll, carefully placing a pile of laundry with a hat on it, giving Bill O’Reilly a ride.

The most troubling part of this story is the fact that there’s a hotline drivers can call to tattle on people who are driving in the HOV lane without the appropriate number of passengers. It’s called “Hero Hotline.” Calling Metro to tell on someone for being in the HOV lane DOES NOT make you a hero. It makes you an asshole. And by the way – do you know what Metro does to drivers turned in via the tip line? It sends them a brochure about HOV rules. Yeah, that’ll show ‘em.

Did the groundhog see its shadow this year? I’m trying to decide whether or not I can put up my heavy winter coat.

If you have a heavy winter coat, I’m assuming you ain’t from around here (spit). If you like to base your packing decisions on a furry little animal, Punxsutawney Phil has declared that spring is on its way. The pronouncement was made, as it is every year, at the unfortunately-named Gobbler’s Knob. Ahem. According to Phil’s website, there has only been ONE Punxsutawney Phil for the past 120 years. He must be really good at weather prediction after all that time, right? Well, most of the other prescient groundhogs are in agreement – Staten Island Chuck, General Beau Lee and Mona all predicted an early spring, too. So, yeah, put that coat up. Unless you prefer the weather-predicting abilities of the meerkat. Meerkats at Houston Zoo said that winter is here to stay. Of course, in Houston that just means you won’t have to pull out the shorts until late March.

UPDATE:
Regarding the announcement in this space last week that Dilettante is running for President, Joe Biden had this to say: Crystal seems to make fairly level-headed decisions, even when she’s on her period. For a person of Irish descent, she really has kept her drinking under control and often smells like lavender and Altoids instead of vodka. I’m not saying I’d put my grandkids in the car with her, but I would probably let her give me a ride to the airport. Assuming, of course, that my limo was unavailable and there were no taxis running at the time.

[This column originally appeared in its entirety on Houstonist.]