Monday, February 18, 2013

Highway Harassment

The white van.  That motherfucking, annoying, asshole, douchenozzle white van.  It refused-- absolutely refused-- to move over into the right lane.  For 20 miles-- at least the 20 miles it cruised in and out of my site on the highway-- it clogged up traffic in the left lane as cars would line up behind it.  Eventually the car behind it would realize the asshole was never going to move over and pass it on the right.  Then the next car would do the same.  This wasn't easy, though, because occasionally a slower car would be blocking the right lane.  Also, the sonofobitch white van would vary its speed, sometimes speeding up just as people would try to pass it.

The fate I fantasized for the white van

That passage about the white van has been sitting in my drafts folder since last year.  I decided to dust it off and post it in honor of February, which appears to be Annoying Highway Drivers Month.  Twice in the past two weeks I've encountered drivers like the white van.  Last week I actually got into an altercation with one.

As I was driving home from work on the highway, this SUV from TX would not leave me alone.  They’d drive along in my blind spot, not passing or slowing down. I’d speed up, they’d speed up. I’d slow down, they’d slow down. Finally I jerked my car as if I was going into their lane, just so they’d see how dangerous it is to drive in my blind spot. They drove up next to me and gave me nasty hand signals.  I motioned for them to pass me, but instead they intentionally messed with me for miles and miles, staying with me and not letting me pass slow vehicles. They thought it was a game. I almost called 911 to report highway harassment, but I don’t know if that’s a thing. Finally I just took an exit off the highway and let them drive on by. I got back on the highway a minute later. I don’t know what else I could have done, but the whole experience put me in a foul mood.

I hate it when there's a rhinoceros in my blind spot

The thing is, I think those cars like the TX SUV and the white van-- ahem, the motherfucking white van-- are the exception.  For the most part, people are competent drivers.  Which actually astounds me.  I'm amazed at how few accidents there are, considering what clumsy, selfish, dumb, inefficient animals we can be.  How often do you spill your coffee, stub your toe, or bump into someone?  How often do I miss an easy shot in tennis?  And yet each of us gets to be in charge of a 2,000-pound piece of machinery moving at 70 miles per hour?  And we're supposed to operate these things in conjunction with each other?  How is it possible that we're NOT constantly crashing into each other on the road?  How do we ever reach our destination?

Why don't our highways look like this all the time?

Clearly we have a pretty good system in place.  We have rules designed for courtesy, efficiency, and safety, and most people make a good faith effort to follow those.  When I'm away from the moment, out of the hellish experience of sharing the road with someone who refuses to obey those rules, I understand that for the most part, people are good drivers.  If we weren't, the system wouldn't work.    

There are lots of other cars on the road that frustrate me, usually because we have different levels of urgency, space, anticipation, courtesy, or what the speed limit actually means.  I can logically and objectively understand this, even after I've just cursed them out for being in my way.

The incident last week made me realize that I need to take a step back from the road rage and be more patient on the highway.  You can't control other people, even when (or maybe because) they're being asshats.  I just need to lower my expectations and avoid such situations as much as possible. 

1 comment:

asplenia said...

It's not just me! People have been HORRIBLE lately. I don't understand. I was just thinking the same thing last night, stuck behind someone going 15 in a 25. My new philosophy (because I've been seeing a lot of ridiculously slow drivers hogging up the road lately) is that they're "riding dirty" hoping being slow will mean no one will pull them over. ANNOYING. I loved the pictures you used in this post.