Friday, August 3, 2012

Random rant about road ragers and other vehicular abominations

First, let’s get it out in the open and admit that we all think we’re better drivers than one another. There, that felt good. You think you’re a better driver than I am. I think I’m pretty bad-ass behind the wheel. Am I perfect? Nope. I’ve dinged some inanimate objects. I’ve got a delusion that I’m not getting anywhere on the highway unless I’m passing other cars. But, my record is pretty clean. I got in one little fender bender back in ‘99 because I slid on some ice right into the back of a woman who refused to get out of the car while it was being towed away and somehow got my number and called me after the incident to tell me I ruined her life and she needed a ride to work. I got one little speeding ticket in ‘04 while accelerating uphill because the speed limit was set so low that I think it was intended for bicyclists and my car would have slid backwards down the hill had I not exceeded the speed limit. And I got one little running-a-red-light ticket courtesy of those ridiculous traffic light cameras (and like a chump I paid it before it was revealed that apparently you don’t have to pay those tickets).

So now that I’ve disclosed my stats and you are convinced I’m an authority on this subject, I’d like to continue on by saying that driving is a subject upon which we all think we are an expert. We all feel very passionately about driving. It brings out our inherent competitive nature. We are road warriors, fighting traffic and the enemies in other cars so we can get to our very important destinations spending as little time in transit as possible. And we all have opinions about other people’s driving and peculiar vehicular antics. Nobody asked, but here are mine:

Gesture Monsters
We all see them in our rearview mirrors and, sadly, sometimes we are them. A Gesture Monster is the person you may have accidentally (or intentionally) cut off and when you subsequently peer in your rearview mirror you witness a unique little hand, arm and face spectacle. You’ll see them flailing their arms about like a crack puppet, screaming profanities at you as if you could hear them (although it’s usually pretty easy to make out what they’re saying). When I’m faced with Gesture Monsters I simply mock them exaggeratedly and laugh, which only burns them up more.  Gesture Monsters are the biggest cowards on the road because they are sealed up in the protection of their car so they feel that they can securely create a scene and escape to a safe side road seconds later. My question is: Would you walk behind someone in the mall and do that? Nope. If I walked in front of you at a grocery store and I wasn’t walking the pace you’d prefer I walk, would you stand behind me, flailing your arms and cursing my despicable walking ways? If we had a near-collision while turning a corner at work would you make honking noises in my face and tell me to learn how to walk? If you don’t have the guts to be a Gesture Monster outside of your car, stop acting like one inside your car. It makes you look ugly and it makes me feel sorry for you.
Gesture Monster

In-Transit Lesson Teachers

These nerdy authorities on driving like to stray from their beeswax and force everyone else to follow the rules of the road. Commonly found going the e.x.a.c.t. speed limit in the left lane on the highway, these Dons of Driving like to take a stand against those of us who are willing to take a little chance with speed by refusing to get over to a slower lane when a line of cars forms behind them. I’m not encouraging people to speed by any means, but if someone wants to do so I think it’s their business. How do I know that they’re not bleeding out their knees and on their way to the hospital? Don’t try to teach other drivers a lesson by imposing speed compliance. Unless you have a badge to declare otherwise, it’s not your job. Citizen’s arrest is impossible at 70 mph. You’re just going to bring out the Gesture Monsters.
Exhibit A

Leave It to Weaver
Ahh, Speed Weavers. These little treats on wheels are often found with decals that read lightspeed across their back window and more tint than a fresh set of BluBlockers (which admittedly aren’t that heavily tinted but I wanted to reference BluBlockers). They speed in and out of the tight spaces between cars as if they’re going somewhere special. I like to envision Speed Weavers as gnarly adventure-seekers, ridin’ down the river rapids in a souped-up douche canoe. My husband and I had a neat experience with an S-Weaver last week. Dude was weaving all over the highway at top speeds like a bat out of hades and just so happened to take our exit, and – lo and behold – got stuck at the same red light that my husband and I did. His window was rolled down, so I carpe diemed. I rolled down my window, gave him the thumbs-up and said, “Excuse me, guy! All that maneuvering you did back there…it got you to the stop light FIRST!”  Speed Weavers, don’t worry about getting nowhere first, because something tells me you’re going to be going there a lot.
Well done, weaver!

Cig Flickers

Hey smokers, guess what? Those cigarettes you so frivolously fling from your window while driving? Those don’t actually go up in a poof of smoke and disappear when they leave your grubby digits. Nope! They hit the ground and they stay there. Or, worse, they hit my windshield on the highway. I’m not telling you not to smoke. It’s truly your prerogative if you want to off yourself slowly one tobaccy stick at a time. Not my business. What is my business is the earth and air we share and the fact that you are essentially dropping little tiny litter bombs all over, and those add up to create a nasty pile of sick cigarette litter clusters on every corner of the nation. I’m sick of watching people carelessly flick their smokes all over the street. Keep an ashtray in your car. I promise you it won’t ruin the smell in there.
Oh don't worry, they'll pick themselves up

Truck Anatomy

We get it. You’re manly. But there is truly no need for you to decorate the back of your pickup with a set of guy parts. In case people are unfamiliar with this vision of unsolicited studliness, here’s an image I personally took from my phone:
It's a boy!

A pair of truck twins are about as cool as those stickers that show a Calvin cartoon relieving himself on [insert competitor truck brand, politician, etc. here]. Do us all a favor by neutering your vehicle and tossing those puppies into the nearest crick.

Spot Stealers
My blinker was on and we both know it. Don’t swoop in on the parking spot I was waiting for someone to leave and act like you saw it first. My favorite example of a confrontation illustrating this situation was when my mom’s spot got stolen (during the holiday season, no less). My mom waited for the thief to get out of her car, rolled down her window, and said, “Why? I want to know why you stole my spot.” She replied that my mom took too long to claim the spot. Right. Essentially, the woman had nothing. She was a spot stealer and she will always be a spot stealer. Evil and always first in the store. Good job, jerk.
You're gonna have to move along

You So Texty

In case you were curious, you are NOT good at texting and driving at the same time. Nobody is. Unless you have four arms and extra eyes, it’s impossible to keep your hands at 10 & 2 (or 11 & 3 – whatever they recommend nowadays) and look both up and down while you’re urgently sending “LOL” to your BFF.  Your eyes belong on the road so that you don’t hit me. And if you do hit me and I find out it’s because you were texting, I’m going to show you my angry face. You won’t like my angry face.
You're right...whatever you have to say has got to be more important than my life

To conclude my rant, here’s a little poem I wrote on the topic several years ago.

“Road warriors”
Isn’t it weird how it works?
My car coasts along but the road’s filled with jerks
And I’m not sure which way I should swerve
Road warriors corner me median to curb
They’re racing and making a scene
From my driveway to work and each place in between
Would these foes turn to friends face-to-face?
Refrain from aggression in a wide-open place?
I think they like the security of knowing
They can do what they want and I’ll just keep on going
I’ve been flipped off, called names less than sweet
Honked at, flashed, tailed, nearly run off the street
And I’m presuming that my only crime
Was my lack of awareness that they weren’t on time

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