Commuting to and from work is fun. Said no one, ever. We share the road with many drivers, each one completely unique and apparently, as I have come to find out, following their own set of traffic laws. As a frequent traveler on a major highway system in my state, I am amazed at how my mere presence on an entrance ramp has a magical effect on the flow of traffic. A car that was previously more than half a mile away in the middle lane spots me and speeds up, moving over to the lane I need, and cuts me off…or worse, keeps time with me so that I can’t get over. This dastardly deed is known as “Don’t Let Him Over” and the game begins as soon as a trailing car sees your turn signal, indicating politely that you’d like to be somewhere else, anywhere else, really, as long as it is away from the grandmother doing 25 mph in the fast lane.
There was obviously a law passed about this, requiring you to speed up no matter how far away the car wishing to slide over and merge actually is. The memo never reached me, though, and I continue to think there are nice drivers left out there. Somewhere. Obviously far, far away. It could be that my language in traffic is too brutal for the delicate souls driving around me, so they purposefully excluded me from the mass mailings. Sadly, this only increases my tirades and antics; not knowing the rules of the game, I’m run up onto the shoulder of the entrance ramp. My oversized sunglasses hide my identity, though, and in my car I’m free to call you whatever I want. Sort of like those extreme-right trolls on Facebook.
Karma is sweet though, when I am cut off by someone speeding towards the light, only to be caught next to me in its web of eternal redness…that just makes my day. Yes, I know, obviously I live a pathetic existence for this to humor me as much as it does, but I try to get amusement when and where I can. These people will always find a reason to fiddle with their radio, adjust their visors, or do anything that allows them to not make eye contact with my triumphant face as we sit in what, for them, has become the world’s longest light.
My personal favorite are the ones sitting, waiting to make a turn into my lane, seeing my lone car coming with no one else behind me or around me, only to turn directly in front of me …sometimes waiting — no, usually waiting, until I’m right up on them to do so. The unwritten law here is that they must go no faster than 20 mph when they accomplish their feat.
Motorcyclists have laws all of their own. I do love being on the back of a motorcycle, though I have never learned to drive one myself. There is definitely something exhilarating about the freedom of being precariously perched on a motorized bicycle without the added security of metal surrounding you. Every wheeled mode of transportation is supposed to adhere to the written laws of the road, from horse and buggy to tractor trailers. Except, evidently, motorcyclists (okay fine, most some not all). I have heard the announcements and I’ve seen the multitude of signs posted about looking twice and sharing the road with motorcycles, and I am saddened by accidents that are usually pretty brutal when a motorcyclist is involved. That said, motorcyclists need to remember that they are not superheroes, impervious to the laws of nature, God, and man. I see them riding down the white lines of the road, hurtling through time and space at the speed of sound, barely missing the mirrors on the sides of the cars they squeeze between as they seek to show off avoid the traffic jam the rest of us are just so deliriously happy to be sitting in. I am not sure it was ever made clear to them that white lines are not designated motorcycle paths. All joking aside, despite the immediate frustration that arises when I see these insane antics, I can’t help but cringe thinking of what might await them…and those they’re cutting off, down the road, and I keep my fingers crossed they make it home in one piece.
I hate driving … it’s a necessary evil. If I ever when I win the mega-million jackpot, the first thing I will do is get a driver on retainer. I mean, honestly, I have enough to worry about every day without trying to understand the unwritten games and laws that apparently govern our roads. Most days, I am damned lucky I found the keys to my car to begin with.