Signs of Hope

Sept. 6, 2022
Vandalism, confrontation and laziness indicate a return to normalcy

A kernel of hope has returnd to South Dakota.

A 12-in stalk of corn sprouting from a crack in a Sioux Falls street has the community fondly remembering what some called the corniest story of 2020.

Two summers ago, a single stalk of corn sprouted in a sidewalk crack near one of Sioux Falls’ busiest intersections.

Dubbed the 57th Street Corn, the resilient little plant defied the odds and became a symbol of perseverance during the turbulent early months of the pandemic.

The residents of Sioux Falls rallied behind the amaizing plant, giving it water, a Twitter account, and its own line of t-shirts. 

Even the mayor joined in, tweeting “Touch this corn and there will be trouble.”

And then the unthinkable happened. Under the cloak of darkness, some rapscallion uprooted the 57th Street Corn, and with it the hopes and dreams of an entire community.

A memorial was posted at the site, simply reading “Corn RIP.” Funeral services were kept private, and it’s not clear if the corn was buried or creamated. 

Two years later, a new beacon of light has sprouted from the Sioux Falls concrete: the Silver Valley Drive Corn. 

The owner of the home in front of the plant, Lydia Smith, is committed to protecting and caring for it, telling the Sioux Falls Argus Leader, “I said that we could start serving street corn once it started growing.”

Nervous wreck

A recent study by OnePoll has found that two out of three American drivers feel more anxious behind the wheel now than before the pandemic. 

Researchers surveyed 2,000 adult drivers and found that most were distrustful of other drivers.

53% always or often feel anxious about other drivers’ behavior.

61% feel that the pandemic has made people drive less safely.

62% believe it’s more important to drive safely now than ever before.

That distrust is transforming many motorists into backseat drivers. 

60% keep their eye on the speedometer when someone else is driving.

52% find themselves wishing the driver would slow down.

63% admit they get nervous when their partner is driving.

Many drivers also feel anxiety about the unexpected.

53% confess they wouldn’t know what to do if their vehicle broke down on the highway.

23% wouldn’t know what to do if their battery died in the middle of a trip.

Despite all these concerns, most drivers still expect to drive more this year, with 53% planning to take more road trips than they did in 2019, just with their spouse in the passenger seat.

Convenience food

Fast food chains have spent millions of dollars figuring out how to manage autonomous food delivery. Maybe they should have gone to TikTok first.

A video posted on the popular video-sharing app in July shows a man using a remote-control toy car to get himself dinner from a restaurant without leaving his apartment.

Singapore TikToker Steve Ho started with an internet-connected remote-control 4x4 vehicle. He added a 360-degree camera and speakers, and attached a mini trailer carrying a basket and a mobile phone to provide the internet connection to enable the car’s limitless range. 

He then sent the vehicle around the block to a nearby coffee shop, where it caught the attention of a befuddled worker. “Hi, pretty lady,” Ho greeted the worker via the attached speaker. “I’d like to order a salted egg pork rib king rice.”

When another worker wondered aloud who was going to pay for this order, Ho directed him to look inside the stowed basket to find cash for payment.

While amused customers took photos of the car, workers prepared the order and placed it in the basket, along with the change.

As the vehicle began to drive away, it announced, “My good-for-nothing master, I am coming home!” R&B

About the Author

David Matthews

David Matthews has been chronicling the unexpectedly humorous side of transportation news for his Roads Report column since 2000. The stories are all true.

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