Monday, September 15, 2008

Riding Along in My Artomobile

Don't you just hate it when some insane driver insists on driving so fast he's a menace to us all? What's he thinking? that he's the only car on the road? that his destination is more important than everyone else's?

And what about the driver who's so slow she's a danger? Dang! I don't really want to push someone who's clearly not comfortable doing the speed limit but jeeze! she's causing accidents left and right, and then just tooling along at her own non-speed, oblivious to all the havoc she's causing. This is especially annoying when she's using the merge lane at 40mph.

Bad as they are, consider the idiot who's driving exactly the same speed as you are. What a pain in the turbo he is! You can't get by him. He can't get by you. You're blocking everyone, just because he's dumb enough to be driving just like you are! Sheesh.

I was driving towards South Pasadena this morning when I saw a sign that said Left Lane Ends Soon. Having actually graduated from The Barbara Nicolazzo School of Perfect Driving, I eased into the right lane as soon as possible. Cars behind me were dashing into the left lane, whizzing by, ignoring the sign, so there was a jam at the point where the left lane actually did end, just like it promised it would. No way was I letting those non-sign-reading speed demons get ahead of me. I obeyed the warning. I'm not letting them in.

The more I sat in the still right lane, the hot breeze of the Left-Laners riffling through my hair, the more steamed I got. What? Rules are for people other than the Left-Laners? We who cooperate should sit silently while the Left-Laners cruise ahead of us, demanding more than their share -- demanding my share? Are they over there congratulating themselves on their savvy traffic moves?

Oh, I muttered and cursed! I jerked my hands around, although I confess that I did not use any recognized hand gestures because I'm simply not That Kind of Girl. Still, there were glares galore and snarls coming from my car.

My car. My art car. I've known since I started driving an art car that people expect me to be more generous in traffic. It's true. It even makes sense. Surely a car as cheerful as mine would be driven by someone who'd be happy to let the other driver in. Nothing wrong with generosity. In fact, there's plenty right with generosity. Courtesy on the road is just a good safety tool.

Not this morning, though. This morning I didn't want to be nice.

I'm a fan of Byron Katie ( ). I agree with her: The only time I feel bad is when I'm having a thought that disagrees with reality. It's when I'm shoulding instead of ising. The reality is that people do reach for more than their share, and I'm one of them. Not to mention -- who can know the size of a share anyhow?

I absolutely know that there's a grand principle involved in this whole story, but I'm still too indignant (and righteously so) to figure it out right now.


Mark said...

I think we just gotta be who we are... how could anyone be some other that who they are?

I thought my driving habits may change since you so dramatically changed the appearance of my car, that perhaps I would become more forgiving of erratic or presumptive driving patterns of other drivers; it simply has not happened... I'm still driving at a pace marginally accelerated above the speed limit and I have the same degree of impatience with driving habits which I consider to be obstructive, stupid or otherwise inappropriate. Truthfully, I'm not really surprised. People do notice me more. Maybe the ones who recognize me now are even taking a moment to get the hell out of my way... you know, like, "uh oh, watch out, here comes that overly aggressive bastard again; we'll if just let him through, he'll be gone in moment & I can then just continue along merrily"

skymetalsmith said...

Those leftlaners are probably on their cell phones.

I can see a parallel to your story and Wall Street now deciding to take more than their share.