With the Internet on endless hiatus at Casa de Crazy, phone service on permanent vacation, and the satellite service gone the way of the Dodo bird, we're on the road a little more, visiting friends, visiting Mum, visiting anyone or anywhere that may have wifi I can hunker down on and use for a few minutes.
On the road means dealing with other motorists and their...erm...foibles.
I am fascinated by the habits of the modern motorist - it's like this vast, diverse tribe wherein the only commonality is a propensity for rudeness and inattention.
A motor vehicle is a ton or more of metal, plastic, fuel, and trouble. Why don't people drive as if they know that??
There's the fellow who never uses the blinker. Never. Ever. It's like he was bitten by the blinker wand as a child and now bears severe emotional scarring from the incident. He just changes lanes without letting anyone know he's going to, but we should all be tolerant because he's got that blinker-trauma going on. The rest of us, however, better not try the same thing on him, or there will be hell to pay. Hell, I tell you!!
There's the gal who can't let anyone pass her. She's going ten under the limit until someone tries to get by her - then she's Mrs. Mario Andretti, Jr. Try to ease past just a few MPH faster than she? No way, pal - she'll edge up and block you. Try to kick it up a little more? Sorry, buster, not gonna happen today! Slow down and she'll pace you. If you think you'll get ahead of her because she's approaching slower traffic, think again - she'll hit the gas, jump in front of you, and then slow down again. Life's a race, and if she can keep you from finishing before her, so much the better.
There's the woman who's texting, reading a catalog, and eating at the same time. No, really - I saw her. Luckily, I made it past without incident, but it was a near thing. She doesn't much care about the safety of the people around her - her car is like her house, she can do what she likes and no one has any say in it because this is a free country and fuck you if you think she's not allowed to swing wildly from lane to lane because she's trying to find the umlaut on her Blackberry.
There's the kid who only wants to drive fast, faster, fastest. He'll run right up your tailpipe, honk his horn, flash his lights, drop back and run up on you again. He thinks you're a Water Buffalo in the Cheetah lane, and nothing pisses him off like not being able to go Mach seven at will - never mind that you're in the left lane because you're going fifteen over the limit and passing right-laners like they're parked over there. Junior thinks you're a tortoise and he's about to run you down.
Let's not forget the motorcycles. Crotch rockets. Death on two wheels. Lest you get your knickers in a bind, I know many responsible riders who don't countenance shenanigans on the highway. I'm not talking about that kind of rider. I'm talking about the short-sleeved, short-pantsed, weaving-in-and-out-of-traffic, riding between the lanes, no-turn-signal-using, engine revving, helmet-scorning, no-mirror-using, speed-limits-are-for-chumps, let's race through rush hour traffic kind of rider. The kind of rider who bitches because people in cars don't make way for them or anticipate their every move, who wind up with head injuries and extensive road-rash scarring and mended bones (if they survive), the kind who cause others to have accidents and keep right on their merry way without concern for the mayhem they've wrought.
And finally (for now), the big trucks. Tractor trailers. Usually, I adore these guys. If I'm on a long haul, I'll tuck in with one going my speed and draft a little, let him clear the way for me. If I am in gnarly traffic, maybe four lanes going down to one because of construction or an incident, I will make a truck-sized space for them to get over - especially if they are using their considerable bulk to block the closing lanes and keep assholes from running all the way up to the head of the line and jumping over. Still, there are a few out there who need a bit of...help. Swaying from lane to lane is bad enough in a Nissan - that Peterbilt scares the crap out of me when it starts rocking over into the space my Astro is trying to occupy. Sudden lane jumps are not fun, either. It is especially frustrating when a truck leaps into the left lane like the driver was bitten, only to slow down to a crawl while attempting to pass the truck in the right lane that's moving only slightly faster than Congress passing a tax cut.
Share the road, people. We all want to get there as quickly as possible. We all want to get there alive. Driving is not, contrary to what people seem to believe, is not a right. It's a privilege. Act like you give a damn about that privilege before you kill someone. Or at least, before I finally go entirely off the deep end and decide to defend my piece of road with vigor and possibly a 12 gauge Mossberg. Fair warning.
Quote of the day...er...week...umm...hey, look, a quote!!
"...besides love, independence of thought is the greatest gift an adult can give a child." - Bryce Courtenay, The Power of One
For old quotes, look here.
For old quotes, look here.