Monday, December 18, 2006

Road Rageoholics Anonymous

Hello, my name is James, and I have a road rage problem.

Now, as imperfect as I may be, there are some shit terrible drivers out there, and the bottom line is I don't want the fuckers on the road. No, I don't flip off other drivers, but I'd like to. No, I haven't been tempted to use my vehicle as a weapon. Yes, I've landed some sonic assaults to the effect of Corolla squawks. It was a virtual serenade when I was unfortunate enough to pull up behind that old man--too old, the stereotypes are generally true--who was doing 65 km/hour on the highway. By the way, it's illegal to drive less than 80 on arterials. Yeah, look it up.

Back when I was driving my parents' cars, when I wasn't paying the insurance or gas or anything, when my livelihood didn't depend on having a functional vehicle, I didn't notice how nonchalant some people are on the road. For instance, when turning left at an intersection, why do some people find it so hard to stay in their lane? Why is it necessary to cut through opposing traffic stop lines? Furthermore, why do some people swerve into other lanes on rural roads? Do they assume that because our population here is less dense than urban areas that no one will be there when they round a corner?

And what about the Seinfeldian parallel parkers, driving as far as two spaces ahead of where they wish to leave their vehicles, tardily turning on the signal light as they crane their slanted foreheads to shoot me some cannibalistic stare? Seriously, dude, if you can Casper your way through the car that's behind you to the right, which is the spot you've chosen based on your position, be my guest.

And I see people passing others in the stupidest, most suicidal places. For them I have zero sympathy; I hope they take no innocent lives, and if anyone has to suffer, let it be them and them alone. When dangerous and/or drunk drivers die, I consider it a slight increase in road safety. I find it so ironic that we delude ourselves into thinking Muslim extremists are the only terrorists, because there are people among us under the guise of professional careers and Gap khakis who are a much greater threat to our security. Examine the statistics and you'll see that cars are much more dangerous than guns.

So, coming to the event that actually prompted me to post this, I have an apology for a driver out there who was legally at fault. On the road, I've learned to make one and only one distinction: pedestrian or car. I will always stop for pedestrians, including the idiots who jaywalk in the middle of nowhere or appear from the shadows on those sneaker rollerskate things. For them, I will always make an effort to stop because I don't want to hurt anyone. As for vehicles, I only try to avoid the irresponsible ones because I don't want any damage incurred to my person or property. If they're being idiots, let them deal with any of the repercussions. So, on the subject of vehicles, and with the purpose of my own defensive driving abilities, I trust absolutely none of them. People in vehicles are either too aggressive, too hesitant when they should be assertive, or good drivers, the latter being subject to mistakes just as those who are prone to them. And today as I approached the intersection at Main and Forest, as the light turned green for me, where to my right was a vehicle that slowed to a stop, I scanned my surroundings, making semi-eye contact with that other driver, and as I proceeded through the intersection, so did he. I'm certain baby Jesus cried at the words that tore through my mouth, and as I pointed to the light, gesturing in such a manner as to hopefully embarass the shit out of this faceless idiot in the-- oh hell, it was a hearse in the midst of a funeral procession.

Now, most places you go, he would have to stop. One of the great things about small communities like mine: we try to respect these people. It would have been a no-brainer on a longer stretch of road, especially in a spot where I could have seen the heavy-hearted caravan behind them. Then, perhaps, my mind would have examined the shape of the sardine can on wheels, instead of just assuming it was a potential collision to be avoided. Fortunately, neither this driver or I really laid on the gas, else we might have bent a fender or two, but even though the law would side with me on this one, I can't help but feel I may need to start thinking of people in cars as human again. Not that I give the benefit of the doubt to half the people I encounter on the road, but since I have a job that allows me a good deal of scheduling freedom, maybe I ought to start leaving 15 minutes sooner and moseying a bit.


Post a Comment

<< Home