I drive a lot. As in most of my work day is spent behind the wheel of my adorable Saturn Ion, dancing to my iPod and judging the way other people drive. It’s very peaceful, very mind clearing, and at times, very curse word inducing.
If I were to describe my driving attitude, I would say, “sassy and upbeat, with waves of selective road rage.”
Unlike most people in the valley, traffic doesn’t bother me. I submitted to its brake light walls of doom a long time ago, and found a way to slip into a happy state of delirium when I find myself in a cluster of honks and middle fingers.
For me, it’s something much simpler than rush hour that will morph my clapping hands into fists, raised in the air, waving at the ignorance and bad choices, and that is unfathomable stupidity. Essentially, a bad driver changes me from the upbeat, awkward high school dance chaperon, bobbing my head in the corner to a current pop hit that I’m trying to understand, into the gym teacher who finds a kid with a now broken leg, stuck in a basketball hoop, because he and his friends thought it would be cool to dunk a human.
Becoming a licensed driver requires the passing of a series of tests. 2 written, 1 driven. Now, you can study for the written, and practice for the driven for as long as you need to ensure that thumbs up from the grumpy tie behind the counter, but you never have to prove that you are in fact competent in making at least decent decisions in your everyday life behind the wheel.
Chances are, if tested, the answer to “What do you do when you’re passing an off-ramp on the freeway and you realize that you were supposed to take it?” would not be “Slam on my brakes to get over, causing utter chaos behind me, and then decide that I waited too long and retain a speed of 30 miles per hour as I approach the next off-ramp, to guarantee that I don’t miss it.”
Bad drivers might also have difficulty answering questions like:
“You’re waiting to turn left and you believe you have an adequate amount of time to turn before the oncoming car arrives at the intersection, you:
a) Double check the crosswalk for pedestrians and turn
b)Turn really fast to ensure that you make it and swerve around the pedestrian you didn’t see
c)Check the crosswalk and inexplicably wait 15 more seconds before turning, barely escape a collision, and send the oncoming driver into a full blown panic attack.
“What do you use blinkers for?”
a) To signify that I am turning, changing lanes, or calling dibs on a parking spot
b) Not sure, I turn whenever I want. Maybe I’ll change lanes out of the blue and cause you to slam on your brakes, or maybe I’ll approach an intersection in which you’re checking for clearance to turn right and you’ll see me and think that you need to wait, but really I’m going to slow down at the last minute and have the light change to green, so you get to sit and watch 15 pedestrians crawl across the crosswalk before you turn.
“When is it appropriate to honk?”
a) To make my presence known to another driver who clearly does not see me
b) When I’m in traffic and no one, including me is moving and I’m angry about it
c) To let my friend know, every few seconds, that I have arrived at his house.
d) To curse at the universe whenever I see a Prius.
e) To ensure the person in front of me is aware that the light has been green for .0001 milliseconds.
(The answer to this one is D)
“How should you park your car in a parking space?”
a) Between the lines
b) All the way to one side of the spot with two of my wheels resting on top of a line
c) Straddling one of the lines
d) With my eyes closed, until it feels like I must be somewhere in the vicinity of the lines
e) Within centimeters of my neighbor’s door to make them regret eating their Cinnabon.
“If the speed limit on a city street is 40, what speed should you go?”
a) 40 (plus a little bit over because I’m not perfect)
b) 20, because I hate timeliness and want to ruin the schedule of everyone else’s day
c) 60, because rules don’t define me and I want everyone to know how important I am
d) I don’t know, I’m lost and I keep speeding up and slowing down
Yes, these drivers will always exist. No, there is nothing we can do about it. Except for wave your first and make your angry vocabulary more colorful.
Finally, a quick note to every driver, ever. Always, ALWAYS, give the thank you wave, you animals.