Greg's Unfair and Cynical Description of Pensacola Residents (or at least the ones you notice)

Like any fair-sized city, Pensacola has a wide variety of residents, transients, visitors and neighbors. If you're like me, rather than appreciating the variety and individual merits of the people you meet, you group most people in the most cynical and hateful categories you can imagine, and ignore any positive aspects they might exhibit. This is shallow and condescending, but so is television and 90% of printed matter you run across in the world. You may consider yourself altruistic and accepting, open-minded and liberal, and that's great. You should not be on this page. Should you not exhibit any of those characteristics, and would like to use my pat assumptions and groupings of typical Pensacolians, stay here.

  • The Pensacola Driver--Not to be confused with drivers in most any city in America, the Pensacola "driver" must meet only two criteria: (1) possession or at least access to an internal combustion vehicle, and (2) the inability to observe even the most simple traffic rules. I'm sure some of you might be thinking, "what about New York drivers?" , or "what about Boston drivers?". Those drivers are indeed frightening and often offensive (using all meanings of that word), but are usually not frightening, offensive, and completely idiotic. If you intend to drive during your visit, here are some common hallmarks of the Pensacola Driver that you should be ready to encounter.
    • The vehicle: There is no inspection system for automobiles in Pensacola. There apparently is no law concerning what constitutes a legal vehicle on the roads, either (tractors, golf carts, and heavy equipment count). Expect a high number of slow moving, exhaust belching behemoths, and the more dilapidated the car, the more likely it is to perform any of the driving abominations listed here. This area might be your first experience with the religious sticker epoxy automobile, also. Not content with bleating their mindless fundamentalist pap on simple bumper stickers, a fair number of residents have stickers all over the car. Anywhere they can stick them, they have (and I mean on the car, here. I can think of some places they COULD stick them that they probably haven't.). The Bible Assembly of God off Jernigan (which is off Nine Mile Road) seems to be the central location for this auto decoration habit. No visit is complete without driving by their parking lot.
    • Left turn on any color traffic light: at an intersection, when you get the green light, be assured that 50% of the time the person across the intersection from you will start to turn left in front of your car just as you accelerate forward. This is more pronounced with the Redneck Driver, Alabama Driver (basically the same thing), and the Retired Driver; jacked-up, rebel-flag emblazoned pickups are guaranteed to do this, and are sure signs the Pensacola Redneck is your road-mate.
    • The stealth perpendicular car entry: This occurs as follows. You are speeding along one of the larger roads. You see a car at a stop sign, waiting to enter the flow of traffic on your road, perpendicular to the flow of traffic you are in. There will be a large gap in the cars between the last car ahead of you and your car, a gap more than large enough for the stealth perpendicular car to enter the flow. The car will not enter in this gap. The car will enter just as you are within 2-3 car lengths, causing you to either swerve into the abutting lane (if there is one, and if there is, there is usually another car in that space already) or to slam on brakes. This stealth car will accelerate to no more than the speed limit - 10mph, and will have some sort of religious bumper sticker (and in most cases, a whole shitload of stickers) on the car. 90% of the time the car will always be worth far less than your car, so ramming the asshole is out of the question. NOTE: the bumper-borne religious proclamation will not stop the driver from giving you the finger, which you should return, as that is the accepted pleasant greeting sign here on the Pensacola roads.
    • Biker bumping: If you bike, as I do, keep in mind that Florida is the deadliest state for pedestrians and bicyclists in the nation (per the latest figures). Though any new roads (either pristine or resurfaced) are supposed to have bike paths along the sides, most drivers assume this extra 2 feet of pavement is just more room to drift without getting sand on their tires. I suggest a mountain or trail bike for road-riding to reduce the possibility of rim damage when you have to leave the pavement (as you will on any road here), and you should carry a cellular phone in your bag or knapsack. There are several particular dangers in the Pensacola area that you need to consider:
      • The Redneck Driver: apparently, our white-trash backward-ass truck-piloting residents see brushing bikers (or better yet, flicking cigarettes and/or other trash at the bikers) as a sport. Just one more reason the area rednecks are reprehensible. There should be several more below.
      • The Retired Driver: no matter how many bright accouterments and/or doohickeys you have, they can't see you. You are just a blur, as is most anything in their field of vision. Since they're probably half deaf, too, don't expect them to hear the thump when they make contact. Thus the need for your cellular phone.
      • The Polite Driver: few, but there are some. Any driver that gets close to observing etiquette or common sense when passing you deserves a mad wave, a huge smile, and your undying gratitude. They might pass your body on their return trip, assuming they're just running an errand, and might stop to offer help (or at least to steal your cellular phone).
    • Littering drivers: Usually a subset of the Redneck Driver group, these worthless assholes feel that, just because the front yard of their blocked-up trailer out in the "kuntry" is a junkyard and dumping site, so is the side of any road and the middle of any parking lot. There is no malice in their actions; their inbreeding has made them ignorant of basic social mores.
    • The use of turn signals: Turn signals are automatically disengaged upon entering the Pensacola area by some strange magnetic disturbance. They are just as mysteriously re-engaged when the driver of the car intends to make no turns for a great length of road, and will blink incessantly until that driver is home and the car is turned off.
    • Parking: For the Pensacola driver, this usually means getting the car into a parking lot and leaving it somewhere. Those little parallel lines are simply decorative.
    • And more aspects of the Redneck and Retired Drivers:
      • The Redneck Driver: (1) Truck decorations must include a NRA sticker, and may be augmented with religious stickers, "I'd rather be fishing" (or similar) stickers, a gun rack, and an airbrushed "outdoors" scene on the rear window or on the body of the truck. (2) The driver will always wear a cap, brim forward. (3) Any beards on the drivers will be oddly sparse and scraggly, as if they have scratched off patches of fur because of some infestation (Female Redneck Drivers may have this feature as an option). (4) Babies will either be hanging out a partially opened window or in the back of the truck (no baby seats). (5) Ditto dogs, which sometimes appear to be foaming at the mouth. (6) The driver's "old lady" (and since most of the Redneck Drivers are males, this is not a sexist comment) will either be sitting almost in the driver's lap or will be sitting as far to the right of the truck seat as possible (the distant "old ladies" will usually be slapped or yelled at during the drive, so watch closely). (7) There will be no tailgate or any restraining net on the rear of the pickup truck, but there will be plenty of trash to blow out in the road and on your car.
      • The Retired Driver: (1) Car decorations must include a "Let me tell you about my grandkids" or "Retired and Loving It" or some other type sticker, and are usually augmented with a religious sticker (or more than one), a Hejaz Shrine plaque, a Jesus-fish, or similar. (2) The car will be at least twice as long as your car. (3) The car will not be able to move faster than 30 mph (unless that is the speed limit, in which case it is "speed limit - 10mph"). (3) Female drivers are usually of sufficient height to reach only to the top of the steering wheel and usually have big-ass wrap-around sunglasses. (4) Male drivers usually have their mouths open and a finger in some facial or cranial orifice (and this might include orifices YOU DON'T HAVE). (5) Retired Drivers tend to swerve constantly to the left of the centerline, unless you are on a bike, in which case they usually drift toward the shoulder (and your ass).