Parking Lot Problems

I realize the pedestrian has the right of way. That being said however, is there any point at all when a car is actually moving that the pedestrian should just look at it and say, yeah, umm…I think I won’t walk out in front of it, or behind it. I mean really, is there no responsibility (or common sense) on the part of the pedestrian at all!? Good grief.

Needless to say, I went to the pharmacy today. It ended well. But only because I’m a better driver and quicker on the uptake than some people are at being pedestrians.

The Best Thing Ever

It is of Uber that I would like to speak to you today. Have you ever heard about Uber? It’s a relatively new, and revolutionary, type of car service where average people with cars offer to be chauffeurs to perfect strangers – all for about the cost of gas (unless there’s a rate surge and then you get screwed, but this is a dog eat dog money making world, so what can you expect). But in general, it’s a relatively cheap way to get around. Can you imagine how much that saves on taxi fares? Or on the cost of renting a car, not to mention the stress of dealing with mass transit or the wear and tear on your mind of driving in the city?

Unknown traffic patterns that change seemingly at random, weird one-way streets, exits five lanes over from where you need to be with a gazillion cars in between you with no time to get over there and certainly no-one willing to let you over may not prey on your mind, but they certainly do mine! Big time.

I used Uber for the first time just recently, when my daughter and I went into the city. And it’s a big city. You may have heard of it. We’ve sort of been on the news lately. And not in a good way.

I have a difficult time driving in crowded cities, especially when the road system seems to have been designed by someone with a sadistic desire to torture drivers.  It’s especially nerve-wracking when you have to make split second decisions to get into the correct lane to get to the correct exit if you’re not sure where you’re going.  And if you miss your exist…how the heck do you get back to it? Even with GPS, it drives my anxiety wild.

Because of this anxiety of mine, I usually either re-route our way thru a scenic area (which is never a bad thing, admittedly) or I have to find an alternate way of transport to get there (like the light rail train if it’s the city, but I have to say that that’s not always safe if it’s at night and it’s just the two of us.  And of course they don’t run everywhere a person wants to go).

My other alternative is to rely on people – friends or family – to get wherever it is I need to go, if it’s an anxiety inducing location, and sometimes that involves people I’d really rather not have to rely on.

Well, enter Uber. This is the greatest invention since sliced bread. It’s like having a friend with a car on call willing to take you anywhere for the price of gas and maybe a pizza. Did I mention that it’s way cheaper than a taxi? And they’re only like 3 minutes away at all times. It’s, quite simply put, perfect.

I tell you what, there is just no holding us back now! On our trip back from the city, Sarah and I were conspiring on just where we were going next! We plan on using the hell out of Uber now that we’ve tried it the one time! And with promo codes galore online, my frugal little heart is in heaven.

Sure, I suppose I have some gung-ho readers who think I should just bite the bullet and work my way through my anxiety of driving in hectic, jam-packed cities, but to you I say…well…no, I won’t say it. Unless you want to pay my insurance when it skyrockets due to an accident caused by either my road rage (just barely under control at the best of times!) or bad split-second decision-making skills while being harassed by hundreds of other drivers who’ve never heard of the “courtesy of the road” and expect everyone to know where they’re going at all times.  Believe it or not, road rage notwithstanding, my driving record is pristine.  I’d like to keep it that way.

Uber – you are my hero!

Road Rage Redux

My regular readers may recall a blog post I did last month. I was talking about Road Rage and I’d made a New Year’s Resolution to try and get mine under control.

Well, we all know about New Year’s Resolutions, don’t we? Most of them don’t last more than 24 hours.

Of course most people make New Year’s Resolutions that are hard to keep, like going on a diet or stopping the ol’ cigarette habit. Now, those are really hard, aren’t they?  It’s difficult to resist the siren call of chocolate cake or even a double helping of some delicious entrée like alfredo pasta with lots of breadsticks.

And as for smoking…well, that’s an addiction, isn’t it? It’s incredibly difficult for the strongest person even on their best day to kick that habit.

But not giving in to road rage? Making a pledge to be a better person while behind the wheel? You’d think that would be pretty easy. Alas, I have discovered that it is not. I am trying. I am trying. I think I deserve some points for that, anyway. Right!?

But it’s really hard when I can’t go a single day driving on the roads – to and from school with the kid, to and from the grocery store – and encounter lousy drivers practically every single time!  Actually it’s kind of scary, that there are so many bad drivers on the road that I encounter them every single day, in the space of a half an hour here or half an hour there.  I mean good grief, where the hell did all of these people learn to drive!?  Off the back of a Cracker Jack box??

Is it me? Do I just attract them?  Is there some kind of alert service out there? Someone with binoculars watches me leave my house and sends out a broadcast to all and sundry, “Hey, Wendy’s on the road. Drive-her-into-a-tizzy-Plan A, go! Go! Go! GO!”  It sure seems like it!

I mean…turn signals. Is it so hard to remember to flip on your turn signal when you’re going to make a turn? And then actually turn the way the turn signal is indicating?

These are the same kinds of drivers who aren’t sure if the business they’re looking for is going to be on the left side of the road or the right side of the road…so they just straddle both lanes.  I mean…get a GPS! The little lady with the sexy voice will tell you which lane you need to be in and how far you’ve got to go before you need to turn. Problem bloody solved!

Then there are the folks who apparently think that a stop sign is just sort of a suggestion.

I mean really, it’s almost as if after I made that stupid resolution, all of a sudden the worst drivers came out from whatever rocks they were living under just to test my resolve. And test it and test it!

My son says I should just strive to be a better person and not strive for actual perfection. And maybe he’s right. That might be the better tack to take.

But good grief, when I’m even getting flashes of road rage just touring down the Walmart aisles with my buggy…well, is there really any hope for me and my resolution at all?

walmart

Road Rage Resolutions

Every good superhero has a compelling origin story. No good guy worth his or her salt lacks a detailed and gripping road they traveled down that can explain why they are the way they are. Sometimes the origin story makes the hero the sympathetic or noble or frightening or admirable character he or she is. Same goes for villains.

I have my own origin story that can explain the “super power” I’ve come to harness with great responsibility today. And it is this power that I am hoping to banish (or at least use much less of) come the New Year. Twenty-seven years ago I was involved in the only car accident I’ve ever been in, and it wasn’t my fault. It was my first taste of someone else’s stupidity, and while I emerged from the accident alive (I won’t say unharmed), I soon realized I had become empowered with a scorching new ability: Road Rage.

I’m not talking about the road rage where I carry a weapon, jump out of my car at red lights, and bludgeon people for their traffic faux pas (although I do know that I am in danger of having that happen to me if I continue on the way I am). The road rage I harbor comes in the form of scathing obscenities, mean looks, and fingers wagging furiously in the direction of whoever provokes my ire. I see some idiot  jerk  ***hole fellow driver in front of me who turns on their blinker half a second before deciding to make a sharp right turn and the power unleashes itself, bursting forth from my throat like a harpy’s cry. A Cadillac going 25 in a 45 weaving across the lane with no clue where it’s going drives me freakin’ insane.

Sure the cathartic release I have in the moment is relieving, but I’m getting to the point in my life where I’m thinking further than those initial five seconds. What is this road rage really accomplishing? Is anyone becoming a better driver because of it? Certainly not me. And really, isn’t it actually only raising my overall stress level? More importantly, given my own questionable traffic behavior, do I even have a right to complain about what other people do?

I’m not what you might call the best driver. I know this all too well about myself. So the road rage is sort of hypocritical on my part. Still, I can’t control the evil thoughts that spring up when someone else on the road does something that makes absolutely zero sense.

I do feel a bit of remorse when—after cursing at a car that has wronged me—I see that the driver is an itty-bitty elderly person or a teen with a fresh face and an equally fresh driver’s license… and I’m thankful that they haven’t burst into flames (my wicked thoughts materializing into a reality).

So. I’m starting to think that maybe it would be good idea, spiritually speaking, if I tried to become a better person by reining in my road rage. At least a little. (Well, maybe a lot.) The first step of course would be to assume that maybe the person in the other car is simply having a bad day or a bad moment and made a little mental error, not to make me upset, but because their mind is temporarily preoccupied by something more important.

Case in point: Just the other day I was on my way to the movies. I approached a traffic circle where you’re supposed to yield before entering when there are other cars going round (so as to oh, I don’t know, avoid a collision). Well, a car happened to be going round so I slowed down to wait my turn. The person behind me immediately — and I mean immediately — starting honking at me and of course I started to yell and curse something about needing to yield at a traffic circle when there are other cars going round and how stupid did you have to be not to know that. Unfortunately, the person I was yielding to thought I was directing my rage at them and gave me this look of utter confusion that said “What do I do wrong?”

I felt horrible because they were only doing the right thing but got caught in my rage crossfire. To make matters worse, the idiot behind me went on their merry way not knowing or maybe just not caring that I was simply following the traffic rules… because that’s what idiots do. Had I taken a more calm mentality, or Zen approach, let’s say, I would have let the idiot’s (damn!) person’s rudeness roll off me and the innocent victim wouldn’t have been accidentally berated.

So this New Year’s I’m resolving to be more patient on the road. Is it achievable? We’ll see. I’m going in optimistic, but there are a lot of fools out there and I don’t know if I can bite my tongue for all of them. Fingers crossed. And mouth shut.

 

road rage stress