October 11, 2005

road rage

i used to get teased a lot for being all naive and rosy-cheeked and pollyana-ish. i came to college, wide-eyed and chipper, with very little worldly experience - i'd never imbibed alcohol (it was ILLEGAL!! gasp!) and I'd only kissed my very first boy that summer. (i was a bit of a late bloomer. to put it kindly.) 4 years, a lot of kissing, and a whole lot of alcohol later, i arrived in dc.... still fresh-faced and cheerful, and eager to start a new job in a new city with new friends.

now? i am jaded. and cynical. and no longer naive.* possibly even ornery. and i blame it all on dc-area traffic.

when i was at william and mary, where approximately 130% of the student body hails from northern virginia, my friends used to explain how this area has straight up too many people, too many roads, too many strip malls, and above all, too many cars. i laughed at them. I was from NEW JERSEY. PLEASE. i think i know a little something about CROWDED STATES, yes? with too many people? and bad drivers? i cut my driving teeth on the garden state parkway... don't tell ME it's a pain to drive in virginia. amateurs.

boy, was i wrong.

whereas i used to like people, and assume everyone was a decent and trustworthy individual until proven otherwise, and see the good in people instead of the bad... i now detest everyone who owns, rents, or borrows a car in the dc metro region. all of them should be drawn and quartered, while i look on appraisingly. or at the very least, have their cars impounded. and licenses revoked. i have actual hatred for other people on the road. while not yet at the level where i experience or condone true road rage, i actually understand it. i've even cut down on the frequency with which i give people the finger while driving, because i assume there are people angrier than me who may very well shoot me if i express anger at them cutting me off while doing 95 on the beltway.

that was the first sign, really. the finger. i had never once given someone the finger while driving in nj, yet all of a sudden, down here, i felt the need to. drivers here are just evil. so i started venting my frustration at nearly being involved in fatal car crashes caused by their need to be one car further up a busy highway by flipping them the bird. then, it got to the point where i wouldn't really feel better unless i KNEW the other person actually SAW me give them the finger, so i'd try to actually catch their eye in the rearview mirror before slowly and deliberately letting them know what i think. or actually pull up next to them, and give them the bird while passing by.

now, i'm kind of hesitant to do it, because i don't want to get shot.

i also honk. and curse in my car. and lawdy help you if you "miss your exit" and try to sneak into the front of a line of 40 cars that have been (im)patiently merging because i WILL NOT let you in. no way in hell.

i realized that this was, perhaps, not the nicest or most normal way of behaving behind the wheel when i was driving home from a family visit in NJ this past weekend. i stopped in a small town in southern nj to grab some snacks for the ride, and ended up leaving the parking lot of the store, intending to make a right turn on a road that had a traffic light a few hundred feet up. the cars were backed up at the red light, with the last car pulling up right in front of my car right before i got there. i didn't think anything of it.. when the light turned green, the cars would all pull up, and i'd turn. no big deal. except the car that had just arrived, the one perpendicular to my car as i sat waiting to make the turn onto the road? it saw me waiting to get out of the parking lot, and backed up.

i sat there, confused. i literally didn't realize what he did that for until he motioned for me to pull out in front of him so i wasn't trapped in the parking lot.

my complete confusion at - and sincere inability to recognize - a nice, generous gesture by another driver made me sort of sad. and made me realize what an ornery old hag i am behind the wheel. i got all warm and fuzzy, and thoughts of turning over new leaves and performing random acts of kindness danced in my head.

then i got back to dc. and had to drive to work on monday morning. tell you what, people... you are STILL not getting in front of me. merge when you're supposed to, jackass. and don't cut me off. i have to get to work, same as you. i still hate you. i hope your car gets impounded.


*there are some who would still dispute the categorical nature of this statement. i'm a lot LESS naive, though! i think we can all agree there?

28 comments:

  1. I'm totally cracking up over here. I am that exact same driver. I will flip you off (because in the Colorado burbs, I don't fear being shot). I will not let you in, because you are that jackass who blazed past everyone in the lane that will be closed off up ahead instead of getting over in a timely fashion like POLITE DRIVERS DO.You will wait. And you will look over at me as if to say "hello? I need to get in here??" And I will either not make eye contact with you or I will look at you like "Bitch, please" and continue to not let you in.

    I drive a lot and clearly? I don't like it. Get the hell off my roads people.

    I could seriously go on about this for a lot longer.

    ReplyDelete
  2. I was kind of like that too...from innocent to jaded. I kind of miss the innocent days....

    ReplyDelete
  3. Ummm, I ride a bicycle wherever I go.

    ReplyDelete
  4. HA! I am SO with you. I used to be such a nice driver too... until Seattle. Ugh, what a bunch of MORONS. Nothing like being 2 hours late to work because traffic was backed up due to an accident... on the OTHER side of the freeway.

    ReplyDelete
  5. HA! I am SO with you. I used to be such a nice driver too... until Seattle. Ugh, what a bunch of MORONS. Nothing like being 2 hours late to work because traffic was backed up due to an accident... on the OTHER side of the freeway.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Thankfully, we drive on the right side of the road which is the left of course! :)

    ReplyDelete
  7. I just close my eyes and put the hammer down.. kidding!

    ReplyDelete
  8. I've gotten swearing while driving down to a science, really. I don't even notice that I'm doing it anymore. I'll be singing along with a song and someone pisses me off - boom, right into a string of profanities that would make the average person's hair curl. When I'm done I slip right back into the song, right where I left off, like nothing happened. But it sure feels good.

    ReplyDelete
  9. See? This is why I take the Metro during my monthly trips down to DC.

    ReplyDelete
  10. My girlfriend is like that when she drives, shouting at people that cut her off and stuff. I don't get it myself; there's no point in getting mad and yelling or flipping the bird, they can't see/hear you most of the time anyway.

    Instead, you follow them until they stop, then pull them out of their car and beat the shit out of them. Then, you KNOW they know.

    ReplyDelete
  11. Alice, for a wider range of messages (and to make your point crystal clear) you might want to purchase this flip-book.

    Can't let Zombie Lama's comment pass w/o agreeing. Seattle drivers apparently download their children's IQ prior to clicking and clacking.

    And for a place where it rains *a lot* you'd think they'd be used to rain+road. My cats could drive more rationally.

    Wombat

    ReplyDelete
  12. well I'll be dayum, you and I are traffic soul mates!

    I am always wishing I had missile launchers on my car, so I could jack someone up when they pull out in front of me.

    ReplyDelete
  13. alice- i am going to get my license soon!
    are you going to hate me?

    ReplyDelete
  14. People in NJ are nice? You are going to give NJ a bad name. ;)

    ReplyDelete
  15. Miss Alice...

    Try a little something I learned about a year ago. Instead of flipping the bird, blow them a kiss. Trust me, it pisses them off twice as much, and you've "technically" been nice :)

    ReplyDelete
  16. people who exude road rage need to be very careful. These days, a lot of drivers, including myself, are packing guns while driving, and would not hesitate to shoot at someone who gave them a middle finger or even a dirty look.
    Ask yourself "is it worth it?"

    ReplyDelete
  17. Its amazing to me how rude people are. I mean does it take all that time to let a person out of a parking lot. Must we all be in such a big assed hurry.

    ReplyDelete
  18. Well, you can always come to Michigan and deal with 365 days of Construction traffic hell! That really adds to everything you were speaking of! I wish I were rich and had someone chauffer me around!

    ReplyDelete
  19. anon e mouse14/10/05 2:26 PM

    POST OF THE YEAR FOR ALL BLOGS EVERYWHERE!!!! Stop the presses! "DC Resident Decries Traffic"!!!! It's groundbreaking stuff! But even better than that? That this lame-azz post has 19 idiots agreeing with it. "I Hate Traffic Too LOL!!"

    ReplyDelete
  20. yeah... about the only thing lamer is not only reading a blog you hate so much every day, but actually taking the time out of your day to post comments as well. my god, you are, like SO COOL! you made fun of people! anonymously! wow!

    ReplyDelete
  21. DC ranks up there with Boston, LA and Newark as the WORST CITIES in which I've ever driven.

    ReplyDelete
  22. You never gave the finger in New Jersey? I thought it was invented there.

    ReplyDelete
  23. I couldn't agree with you more about people trying to fly by a line of cars and then merge. I never let it happen.

    My boyfriend thinks it's funny because not only do I get road rage when I'm driving I get it when he's driving too. I get so worked up.

    ReplyDelete
  24. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    ReplyDelete
  25. I like that you used the word ornery! That is such an under used word these days, don't you think?

    ReplyDelete
  26. Learn how to quickly create an RSS feeds with our RSS feeder, for high link popularity and ultimately better search engine rankings.

    ReplyDelete
  27. What a great site
    » »

    ReplyDelete