There are plenty of people who remain calm behind the wheel of a car, even when others are acting a fool on the road (my husband is one of these sorts). And then there are some who lose it quickly, angering easily, and engage in petty, combative antics (this is me). I’m working on it. Really. Because I realize the utter stupidity (and potential danger) of letting oneself get dragged into some sort of imagined confrontation with aggressive and impatient drivers. But still, there are times I find it really challenging to ignore the bad driving and bad drivers on our roads.
I’m driving home from work today on a road very close to my house. The speed limit on the road is 25 miles per hour, but it’s the kind of road that makes you feel like you could and should be driving much faster than that. It’s rural and windy and runs as a perpendicular connector to two very busy roads. It’s a short-cut road, and as such, its travelers are often racing to wherever it is they’re going. And for the first stretch of the road I usually am too.
As I near my road, however, I begin to slow down to 30. There’s this little street up the way where two police cars like to hang out and catch unsuspecting drivers in their speed traps. The car behind me obviously is not aware of the possibility of cops, because it stays right on my ass like a Victoria’s Secret thong. I am used to this aggressive driver behavior at this point in the road. Up until just this moment I too have been speeding, driving what feels like the right, just speed of this road.
Geez, that car won’t back down. Give me some room to breathe, buddy. Of course now I’m getting pissed that this bastard doesn’t naturally realize that I’ve slowed for some practical reason. I find myself wishing I had a pre-made sign for the occasion to hang out the window and flash at the driver behind me as way of an explanation.
In my mind I imagine the sign is digitized and made of flashing neon bulbs. Totally blinged out. It reads, “There might be cops up ahead, so that’s why I’m slowing down. I live here, so I know. Now back up off me, asshole!” I don’t know why, but it’s important to me that the message end with the word asshole.
But, I don’t have a sign, and so I just slow down, annoyingly so I’ll admit (just to get my digs in where I can), to satisfy my inner road rage junkie. I put my blinker on, as I’ve now reached my road, and take my sweet ass time making the turn. Take that, jerk. He speeds off like he’s in the Indy 500.
Now that I think about it, cars should really be equipped with these kinds of digitized signs as a means of communicating with other drivers. Imagine the scenario when you are traveling down a highway and you notice that on the other side of the barrier there’s a huge car accident. You pass by unaffected and then you start to notice how many cars are slowing down and stacking up on the opposite side. You know when you finally get to that point, five miles down the road where the new cars are just slowing and stopping, probably wondering what the hell the holdup ahead is? Wouldn’t it be nice to be able to hang a sign out the window alerting the incoming drivers: Whoa there, buddy. You got five miles of this shit ahead of you. Exit the highway now! (Asshole). I mean, if you were a driver happening upon that situation, wouldn’t you want to know? I sure would.
Then there’s my favorite road rage-inciting incident. I’m at a red light waiting for it to change, and ahead, through the light, is a very short two-lane merge. I’ve got some guy, and it’s almost always a guy, that pulls to a stop to the right of me at the light. He’s inching his wheels closer to the light, just waiting for it to turn green. Then the light changes and bam he’s off like a shot. He passes me easily, despite my best efforts to race him, and then settles in ahead of me. Of course, there’s usually a huge line of traffic in front of us. I find myself wondering: was that really worth it, buddy?
And then I find myself wishing again I had a sign. In this case, the sign would have to somehow be projected in front of me for him to be able to read it in his rearview. Maybe the font could be backwards, like on the ambulances so he could read it in reverse. Or maybe with the help of the Kurzweil software we could get some text-to-speech bullhorn action going on. In this situation the sign would read/say: Happy now that you blew past me just to get stuck one space in front of me behind all those cars? Asshole.
I think maybe I should get a patent going on this sign idea. In the meantime, drive safely friends.