Your average American experiences a number of day-to-day frustrations. People with the mistaken impression they are exempt from common courtesy and sense cause most of them. Sometimes the frustrations spill over into unacceptable responses like road rage, but there are times when we all question whether a running gun battle down the freeway isn’t the most reasonable response to the indignity of rolling out of bed each day.
Herewith, 5 simple things that piss me off:
1. Blocking Grocery Aisles with a Shopping Cart– It’s a simple rule of physics that two grocery carts can’t occupy the same space at the same time. One would think this should be self-evident to anyone living on Planet Earth, but apparently not.
When spending 15 minutes comparing the prices of a 12 oz. and 10 oz. can of Spaghetti-Os, pull your cart to the side. It’s the same principle as a breakdown lane. Your brain is broken so you pull over. Don’t compound this rudeness bycalling your Lifeline to name the 12 oz. can as your final answer.
I staunchly believe in the Second Amendment when this happens. Rocket launchers with TOW missiles installed on your cart really do constitute a reasonable interpretation of the law.
2. On-Ramp Line Jumpers– You are No. 16 in line to merge with a long line of traffic. Even though you see the line, you think it’s okay to drive at breakneck speeds, swerving down the shoulder, to bypass all 16 people in front of you along with 27 more cars already on the jammed road.
This is not dangerous because you are driving like a selfish idiot, but because someone waiting patiently in line may succumb to the impulse to throw their passenger door open in front of your sorry ass.
This may ruin your fellow driver’s door, but the sense of general mirth and satisfying sight of your car upside down in a ditch is well worth the sacrifice.
3. Lane Weavers– It’s almost impossible to get a traffic ticket in California. Driving 110 mph is perfectly acceptable if you’re travelling the same speed as the rest of traffic. I suspect the CHP is overjoyed traffic is actually moving and are loathe to stop anyone for fear of causing a traffic jam stretching from San Francisco to LA.
However it’s not always speed, but recklessness, that is a problem. Souped up rice burners do the Tokyo drift at transonic speeds through traffic already going 75 in a 55 zone. They zip between cars tipped onto 2 wheels and leave a space the thickness of a coat of paint between them and your bumper. If you blink, you will miss their taillights disappearing over the horizon.
Their driving shows a shocking dependence on other drivers who can barely keep their cars upright on Nevada’s Loneliest Road in America – or to avoid a driver deciding to ram you as you pass. I’m always amazed I don’t see flaming piles of aluminum, plastic, and rubber blocking the center, southbound lane of I-880 more often than I do.
In the 20 years I’ve lived in California, I’ve never seen a cop stop one of these drivers. I assume either their Police Interceptor, with the power of a Saturn II rocket, can’t catch them. Or, the cops assume they will soon die in a fiery crash, making a high-speed chase moot. Or, there are donuts.
4. Motorcycles Passing Between Cars– Inexplicably, California allows motorcycles to drive between lanes of traffic. They also let them use HOV lanes at will. I always warn out of state visitors of this law so they don’t die in a flaming ball of Yamaha death.
Although the top allowable speed is 45 mph, I’ve never seen it done lower than 95 mph. One would think driving a rocket through the 3 ft. gap between high-speed cars or semis while dodging lane-marking bumps would be prohibitively dicey for even the most experienced riders. One would be wrong.
I’ve never heard a motorcycle rider who didn’t complain that all car drivers are out to kill them. Aside from the occasional ‘68 VW microbus driver enraged by losing a mirror to a custom-built Ducati, this isn’t true.
Motorcyclists’ tirades assume you aren’t on the lookout for them. However, I think they over-estimate the ability of a driver to pick out a single light weaving through 110,000 other lights while travelling the speed of an armor-piercing projectile.
Cyclists could avoid much of this mayhem by simply using the near-empty HOV lanes to which they’re entitled. Instead, they prefer to ride the centerline, even when the HOV lane is completely empty.
5. Parking Cock Lot Blockers– Everyone likes to park close to the store. Some people will even bum-rush a legless veteran out of his handicapped space to do so. Others, usually driving a vehicle the size of Minnesota, will idle in the optimal spot to block traffic in all directions while waiting for a space 12 paces closer to the Cheesecake Factory. I blame the poor state of American physical fitness for this.
I assume drivers who do this often need hearing aids. It’s difficult to ignore 16 cars honking at you to move your fat ass. Even those with normal hearing are annoying if they can’t hear the honking over the sound of their idling D-8 Caterpillar tractor.
They sometimes imagine that performing a public service in return for blocking traffic is the civil thing to do. They stick their ham-like, fat- jiggling arms out the window and motion everyone through a space too tight for the Motorcycles Passing Between Cars crowd. See Item 4.
They never block the aisle longer than an hour or two. When they find a spot, they effortlessly pull their behemoth in, cleverly blocking the driver-side door on the right and crushing the car on the left.
Next post: Does the Postal Service intentionally design post office parking lots as death traps?
- Life in the HOV lane (theglobeandmail.com)
- Most hybrids to lose CA HOV access, electric vehicles can stay (reviews.cnet.com)
- Blog Post: Future Friday: A traffic-free world (e2e.ti.com)
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