Rick Nelson and Claude Peck dispense unasked-for advice about clothing, etiquette, culture, relationships, grooming and more.


RN: I know that I shouldn’t be talking on my cell and driving. But inching along in traffic isn’t exactly what I’d call “driving.”


CP: What’s your license-plate number again? I fear I must report you to the State Patrol.


RN: Tattletale. I’ve spent the past 20 minutes crawling through several blocks of 9th Street in downtown Minneapolis. I’m fairly certain I’m going to miss the start of yoga class. Namaste, indeed.


CP: You think it’s bad now, just wait for summer. The DOT has just printed 75,000 new “Detour” signs, and plans to use every one of them.


RN: Thanks for the reminder, I think. I’ve just counted to six, as in the number of red lights I’ve waited through as I attempt to cross Marquette. Maddening. I propose that all mayoral candidates be required to direct rush-hour traffic before the election.


CP: Remember when gridlock was something that happened elsewhere, to city dwellers less fortunate? Hello.


RN: I’m this close to exiting my Ion and yelling unkind things at the dunderheads who pull into the intersection and stop, blocking the flow of oncoming traffic. Didn’t their driver’s-ed instructors teach them that that’s a no-no?


CP: Isn’t there some soothing Schubert you can play in the car? Going to yoga in your current mind-set may be ill-advised. Think you’ll make it?


RN: Well, if my mat and I can be in the studio in the next three minutes, then, yes. Unfortunately, said studio is about 15 blocks away. Because this-usually-takes-10-minutes trip is now lurching past the half-hour mark, I could benefit from the calming influence of a dozen or so Sunrise Salutations. Or a highball.


CP: Opt for the cocktail, natch. I recently drove from south Minneapolis to St. Paul’s East Side in the evening rush hour. An agonizing 65 minutes. First gear all the way.


RN: You have my unending sympathy. Not that I’m exactly a paragon of sweetness and light at the moment, but I’ve also observed that a traffic jam brings out the very worst in the human spirit.


CP: Like when I honk the horn, even when you are driving?


RN: The horn honk is such an aggressive and unpleasant means of communicating with a fellow citizen. But are hand gestures any more civil?


CP: While I don’t recommend, or endorse, the use of the finger, the two hands raised sharply in the air is a universally understood gesture meaning, “Where’d you get your license, in a cereal box?!”


RN: Lucky Charms, indeed.


E-mail: witheringglance@startribune.com

Twitter: @claudepeck and @RickNelsonStrib