Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Witz DOESN'T Pick: Other Drivers

That's right, it's come to this. We all knew it was gonna happen sooner or later, but I was hoping it wouldn't happen just yet. After the last few days of driving, however, I have no choice. I can't handle other drivers anymore. You know how your parents always said, "It's not you we're worried about, it's OTHER DRIVERS." First of all, there's a pretty good chance that some of you ARE other drivers. My LA friend drives the way that techno sounds, zipping forward and around cars at 90mph like a rogue block in Tetris. It's terrifying-- but it's not really what I'm talking about. Another person I know is a speed limiter-- they always drive the speed limit, even when traffic demands a higher speed so as not to die or to switch lanes. This is equally terrifying, but again, not what I'm talking about. I'm talking about the OTHER drivers who endanger and enrage me when I'm on the road. I call them The Oblivious.

The Oblivious vary from state to state and driver to driver, but they all have one thing in common-- they have absolutely no idea why their car has a blinker. In fact, they might not know their car has a blinker, and everytime someone in front of them signals, they might say to themselves, "Oh my, that car's taillights are faltering-- they better get them replaced!" These people switch lanes in traffic without signalling or giving any sign they're going to-- that is, unless they are slowly drifting into the other lane without signalling, at which point I have to assume either a lazy eye or paralysis of the left hand. My swerving or beeping has no effect on them-- they don't know what they're doing wrong. These people also are the ones who slam on the brakes when we're going 40-50mph, THEN SIGNAL, then turn. Remember in my Comedy Belt article when my belt made it sound like I went, "flush, zip, FART!" getting the order all wrong? THIS IS WORSE THAN THAT. The absolute only reason your car has a blinker is to let me know you are going to turn before you brake and I slam into the back of your car. I honestly DO NOT CARE that you are TURNING. I CARE that you are SLOWING DOWN. This is a gigantic difference, and somehow people haven't figured it out.

In some states, like Washington and California, I've found that The Oblivious do a fun thing called "Driving the exact same speed in all three lanes of the highway." For the record, this speed isn't 85 like in CT and MA and NY. It's 65-70 and it only fluctuates by 1-3mph per lane. Oh the joys of being in the left hand lane cruising a respectable and safe 75 only to get stopped up against some d-bag driving 68 and juuuuuuuuuuuuuust baaaaaaaarely inching up on the car to the right. Switching lanes isn't gonna help me any, but staying here is worse. And what about the people who get PAST one car, but are really feeling it, and are so juiced up from their last "speed" adventure past car #1 that they decide to pull it again on cars 3-5 which happen to be separated by 50 feet each. A quick look in the rearview will show a crazed half-Jew shouting seemingly at nobody (spoiler: it's at you) waving his hands around and riding about 10 feet up your ass. These people need to learn to pull over and let cars go by, before returning to the left hand lane to pursue their Great Adventure.

Similarly, and my most recent discovery, is the funsanity of the boulevard driving. I live near a major boulevard (separated in the middle by divider, so you have to make left hand turns and pull U-Turns at designated places), and so daily, I brave the masses and I make my way from one place to another. The problem with boulevards is that people have no idea what to do. The slow and confused drivers, lacking confidence, ride the left hand lane all the way to their turn at 30mph, which is sometimes miles down the road. The drivers who drive slowly, but without the left hand concerns, drive in the middle or right hand lanes going about 30mph, too. The right lane always has trucks. I've taken to driving in the middle lane most of the time, and using the right hand lane as the passing lane so that I can sneak by the mediocre, but predictable middle and left lane drivers. BUT IT IS INFURIATING. If you don't know what the left hand lane is for by now, it's time to give up. Some people are no good at squash, or chess, or cooking-- you are no good at driving. Many cities have a fine bus system, and it's always fun to ride shotty with friends, unless their names are Ethel, Rose, or Seymour, in which case, rent a stretch limo and enjoy your last few years on the road in classy comfort. Nothing enrages me more than slow drivers in the left hand lane. And I don't mean slow like, I wanna go 80 and they're going 75. I mean, like, I wanna go 5-10 mph over the limit and they're going 0-5 below the limit. One of my friends once described his theory on why people did this. He said that people who drive the speed limit (his theory pertained to WA, but I imagine it extends beyond), assume that since they are going the speed limit, nobody could possibly be going faster than they are. They are in the left hand lane so they can pass people goin UNDER the speed limit. And he's probably right. Those people probably are totally oblivious to the world around them. He also made a point that one of the reasons Asians take such crap as bad drivers is because they are completely SAFE drivers who follow the rules. In places like China and Japan, the traffic laws are strictly enforced and are expected to be followed. Since we run amok on the roads most of the time, we make THEM look unsafe. Take that as what you will, and I'll just add that living in Seattle and NorCal, I haven't seen too many steretypes broken down yet.

The last of The Oblivious (oh, I'm sure there are so many more, but let's be positive here) are the Light Blockers. I don't mean people who are tall or the giant SUV's and trucks that block all view of the road and cause major accidents when they brake suddenly, no, I mean the people who are the first in line at a light and then just out. I don't know what they do, but when that light turns green, they are ELSEWHERE. I find this totally unacceptable. When I'm at a light, I know it is my responsibility to look at the light. At most, it's going to be a couple minutes before it turns green, and I can even think about other things and listen to my music while I wait. I can look to the left and the right as the cars going the other direction keep driving because I know that if they have the green, I don't. But I need to keep checking back in, because in the next few seconds, the light WILL CHANGE-- it always does. And when it does, I'm gonna be the one who has to start driving first. So I do, and when it changes, I start driving-- and I'm already in gear-- none of this, "NOW I'll shift into first" business. Don't be an idiot. Even worse than the regular Light Blockers are the Left Hand Turn Signal Blockers. Even Hitler paid attention to left turn signals and if you are sitting there while I am five cars back needing to make this turn, you are worse than the terrorists. Left Hand Turn Signals are like tiny windows into a room full of dreams. And in the time that light is green, you can jump into that room and get all the dreams you want. But when it turns red, the window slams shut, and you can only stare in whimpering until it opens again, and nobody is truly certain that will happen again.

So don't make me honk at you. Don't make me do the little "tweep" on my horn, because a) that sounds lame b) my horn sounds angry even when I'm being helpful and c) you're probably gonna flick me off regardless, and then I'm gonna get pissed and point at the light, and then you're not gonna be paying attention, and I'm gonna drive up next to you and wave my arms and eventually mouth things that you don't want your child passenger hearing, especially when the child is in the front seat, when clearly kids go in the backseat and you are a bad parent as well as a Light Blocker and I should run you off the road, killing you immediately and setting your child free for foster parents who might actually raise a respectable human being.

I've had it. I'm tired of the horn "tweep," I'm tired of the useless "honk" which only results in people getting mad at you or not reacting AT ALL which is even worse. Plus, let's be honest, 90% of the time, I forget to hit the horn or am so shocked by The Oblivious actions that I forget I have a horn. Most of the time, I can't even find my horn in time, and it ends up coming out late. Not to mention, we need a "Leap Frog Horn". Something I can press that says, "Not you, but the car in front of you is The Queen of the Assholes." And we need a horn that says, "Well done, thank you." Because the wave is getting old and used for too many different statements, and I learned recently that giving someone the thumb's up looks a whole lot like giving them the middle finger. Unlike Witz Pickz which has been giving the world the OTHER finger. That's a catchy slogan, somebody should put it on a t-shirt or thong.

So I've decided to give up on the horn as a sole describer and become one of the insane people in the world who take things a little too far for social conventions, but also are happier with the world for it. I'm gonna make signs. I'm gonna make a "GET OUT OF THE LEFT LANE" sign so when I honk at and pass the asshole king, I can also let them know what they're doing wrong, so they aren't baffled. "SIGNAL, DIPSHIT" will be a big hit and I'm right now copyrighting that as a t-shirt. "PAY ATTENTION TO THE LIGHT" will be useful if I can find a way to have them see it afterwards and "KILL YOURSELF IMMEDIATELY" will be a reserve in case things get bad in traffic. The one clear problem with this strategy is that no matter who sees me and reads the signs, I am still The Guy Who Had The Signs (Ready). Just like the professor doesn't take criticism seriously when you write, "Worst Professor Ever" and variations of it in every box, The Oblivious probably won't take me seriously when I have pointed, specific signs ready for their gaze. But it's the only option I have left, and I'm willing to give it a shot. Maybe I can get sponsorship, like "SIGNAL, DIPSHIT: Vote Barack Obama '08" or "DRIVE FASTER: brought to you by Dick's Sporting Goods." That's not such a bad idea. I wonder if Jack Keruoac got this worked up about shit...

See You On the Road,


JAT said...

After reading your clever post, I'd be surprised if you and your readers don't find our grassroots campaign to be worth supporting: Left Lane Drivers of America (see is trying to raise the awareness level nationwide to get left lane slowpokes to MOVE OVER! This is a pro-active effort to reduce traffic congestion and lower the "emotional temperatures" on our freeways.

Thanks in advance for helping us pass the word...

JKow said...

I knew video games weren't to blame for this country's problems!

And Witz, you need one of these on steroids/HGH/EPO:

Witz said...

THAT'S AMAZING. Forty dollars is just in the range of a possibility as a late night, on the brink of suicide type purchase.