I don't always drive like that though. Sometimes I'm all relaxed and content to slow down and wave people in front of me. Sometimes I'll get over into the right lane on the highway well before my exit and patiently cruise along in a line of slow moving cars until I reach the turnoff. Sometimes, I even use my blinkers! Just kidding, I never use my blinkers. (KIDDING, kidding. I'm actually a big fan of the turn signal). However, I fully believe that sometimes driving like an asshole is completely necessary. Take tonight for example, on my drive home from work.
I was in one of my "content being patient" driving moods tonight. A little more than 1/2 mile from my exit I ignored my initial instinct to speed up and pass as many cars as possible before moving into the right lane to get off the exit, and just moved into the exit lane then and there without looking at the car I would be behind. Mistake. I ended up behind a Mercury Sable. TOTAL old man car. (Like a 90's edition Lincoln Town Car or an old beat up piece of shit Ford Taurus.)
ASIDE: I've gotten quite good at immediately identifying which drivers suck based on the kind of car they drive or the condition the car is in. I can do it with a glance! It's one of my best talents, which is both sad and awesomely helpful.
Actually though, this makes me think about a few years back when I used to drive a Toyota Rav4. (Definitely not my type of car since I am neither Asian nor a frumpy middle aged Susan Boyle lookalike with board games and my latest half-finished crochet project in the backseat.)
Back then, I used to drive back and forth between Boston and NYC all the time and and I think people would always make assumptions about my driving based on my car and probably also the fact that I had Mass plates in NYC (always either racing to try to get in front of me or giving me hugely wide berths because they expect I will do something stupid). However, that car was like a freakin go-cart since it had a V-6 engine, and I was not afraid to test it's power. Often. Also, even though I lived in Mass, I always knew where I was going since I was in the city so often and even if I didn't, most of the streets are like a grid anyway so it's kind of hard to get lost. It probably also didn't hurt that I was used to driving in Boston where the roads make zero sense to someone who doesn't live here and you routinely have to do things like merge onto a highway then immediately have to cross 4 lanes of crazy traffic in the span of just a couple hundred feet, in order to get off the next exit on the opposites side of the highway. Great planning.
Behold exhibit A which is hilariously accurate:
Wow, sorry, that was quite the tangent.
Anywho, back to my fabulous drive home tonight.
So I get stuck behind an old man car that is doing about 40 mph for no apparent reason (speed limit is 65). Sort of annoying but whatever, I am in patient mode. The upcoming exit is the kind where cars are merging into your lane to come onto the highway just as you are moving over into their lane to get off your exit. When drivers aren't stupid and are all going the same speed it's like a perfectly choreographed little dance (I'm so poetic). However, when a dumb old man in a beat up Mercury Sable is trying to get over, he apparently prefers to slam on the breaks in order to let the never ending stream of oncoming cars merge in ahead of him, fucking up the flow, causing back up, and almost getting the car behind him (ME) simultaneously rear-ended and smashed into by another car coming over from the left who didn't anticipate going from 65 mph to a dead stop, right into the middle of an immediate clusterfuck.
Eventually the old man figured it out, we all maneuvered our way through the tangle of cars to the exit and as we're starting onto the off ramp, Sable hits the breaks again making me almost rearend him, and tries to go left, back onto the highway! Once he's about an inch from the guard rail he finally realizes he's too far onto the exit ramp to turn off and instead, PUTS HIS CAR IN REVERSE!!! I could not fucking believe it. I had an immediate sense of panic since a quick look in my rearview confirmed that there was nowhere for me to go if I had to back up and I had to honk HARD, multiple times while praying he'd hear me and come to his senses in time before I ended up in his trunk. Thankfully he did just in time, and I proceeded to scream obscenities at him most of the rest of the way up the off ramp.
Patient mode gone.
After all this, I should have known that he'd have big problems now merging ONTO the next highway. Either the word "merge" does not exist in Old Man Sable's vocabulary or he does not know that it has a different meaning than the word "stop". [Same situation with this highway merge - a line of cars are merging into our lane in order to exit the highway while we are merging into theirs to get onto it.] When Sable gets to the top of the ramp he just comes to a complete stop and puts on his blinker. Doesn't merge in at the same speed, doesn't even inch forward to TRY to merge, he just sits there. There was copious amounts of honking on my part but he didn't move which of course meant that I, and everyone behind me, couldn't move, so I took matters into my own hands and tried to pull out
and go around him on the right. Kind of dicky I know but WTF?! Were we just going to sit there all night and wait for someone pulling off the highway at about 60 mph to just come to a deadstop so Sable can cut in at approximately zero mph?! Well, Sable got pissed at me, honked and yelled whatever old men yell at other drivers (I like to think it was something to the effect of: "You gawram whippersnapper!" or something like that), and jolted forward, yanking his steering wheel to the right and almost hitting me so he could stop me from going around him. Awesome. I was PISSED. I just laid on the horn then and did not let up until he moved his ass and merged onto the highway.
Once on the highway I could not WAIT to get away from this moron but since we were at a complete stop and going uphill, I couldn't get up to speed fast enough to pull out around him without causing a Mack truck to slam into me so I was stuck for a bit with dipshit in front of me, the semi next to me boxing me in, and we were coming up on another on-ramp with cars merging into our lane. You already know how good Sable is at merging so I don't think I need to elaborate.
|For my next trick, I'll be crashing into your local 7-11|
And so the moral of this story is that driving like an asshole is sometimes necessary. If I had just cut him off originally, as was my initial instinct, all of this could have been avoided and I would still have those extra few years this ride home likely shaved off of my life.
Okay, deeeeep breath.
(Wow, if you made it all the way through this, I'm sorry for all the swears and f-bombs in this post/novel. I feel better now. Do you see why I thank my lucky stars that I only have to make this drive twice a week? Ahh, telecommuting, how I love you.)