Brazil is almost a one year old memory. Time flies fast. One of my fondest memories is the walkable city that was. All my needs be it gym, groceries or beach were all minutes away. All too often as I sit in miserable mind numbing traffic I can’t help but miss not having to fill up gas, or stop and go on the interstate. I live in a city ranked one of the worst traffic cities in the country. People from LA pity me people! So do I have traffic peeves? You bet I do! Here are my top ten peeves, part II, in no particular order.
1. Stay within the line: I know there’s a lot of emphasis these days to think outside the box and to not color within the lines. Here’s my recommendation: With your coloring books take creative liberty, with your boxes, stand upon them while pondering wondrous things. But on the road please drive within those white striped dotted line thingies. There should be one on either side of you.
2. Your car may make you feel like its just you and the road, but I’m here too: Ever played Mario Brothers as he flees mushrooms and green turtles? Say hi to Maria (minus the cool Nintendo soundtrack) as people shift lanes without signaling, merge without checking, and so on until you get the feeling they’re the green turtles in Mario 1, 2, and 3 with the sole mission to take you out. Unlike Mario blessed with three of them, this chica only got one life minus flower power!
3. Cell Phones: Most other peeves can be linked to this culprit. Studies show people driving with cell phones as bad as drunk drivers. My city is full of drunk drivers of the cell phone variety. Without fail those who weave through traffic as though knitting an imaginary quilt and they its needle, are on a phone. I dont know if headsets are safer but if you want to drive while chatting (which I dont blame you in our messy traffic) how about a blue tooth or other hands free thingie? Both hands on the wheels surely is a good idea? Unless you’re talking about your brand new book deal or how you saw a penguin speak Yiddish for the first time….. I really have no patience for you driving and giggling as you swerve in and out of traffic one hand on the wheel, putting my life in jeopardy.
4. The Car is not your closet: I have seen people on the highway, THE HIGHWAY, changing their clothes, struggling with stockings, applying mascara, clipping their nails WHILE eating sandwiches, all while driving over 80 miles per hour! I suppose in many ways a car is like a closet what with the wall like structure enclosed around you and such, but here’s a key difference: Unlike (most) closets, there are windows in a car so I can see you, and unlike (most) closets, cars ARE MOVING!!
5. Novels, magazines, newspapers, and other fine literature are best read in bed or other non moving positions: Moby Dick albeit absorbing, is better left at your nightstand. Word to the wise: If your eyes are on the words in the book, they’re not on the road you are travelling on.
6. 4 way stop sign drama. My neighborhood is apparently filled with extremely polite drivers who don’t wish to be the first to go. I will often be the last one to arrive at our four way suaree and yet no one moves. In an effort to be neighborly I usually fight off my intense grumpiness due to caffeine deprivation and cheerfully wave “no no, go ahead” to which they return the smile and wave back urging someone else to go instead. The first two times it was incredibly cute… three years later… not so much. The worst? When you decide to go and nudge your car forward just a tad as the other three all do the same at the same time which prompts everyone to quickly jerk their car backs and then start the process all over again.
7. Yellow Light Hesitators: Stop. Or go. Make a choice. Inevitably I’ll be driving with the car ahead of me zooming merrily along. We approach a green light barely turning yellow. The car could go, or the car could stay, either would be okay at this point. Yet it drives and drives and then at the last minute slams the brakes so you have to slam YOUR brakes hoping not to hit it or get hit by the other cars driving behind you.
8. Traveling Disco Cars: Ever drive around the city at night to suddenly see two cars next to you each with bright pink, blue and yellow lights positioned all over the car? Glowing disco cars. It’s not as distracting as it is frightening for sometimes you wonder if a cop with a flair for color is trailing you. Is that legal?
9. You parked there, you don’t own it. Its a busy day, you find a guy walking to his car, his parking space is closest to the store. Eagerly you allow enough distance for him to leave and put the blinker on. You wait. And wait. And wait. Nothing. If you have seven children to buckle in I understand. I can be patient. But five minutes to back out of a parking space as a single guy with no bags? Seriously? I know you’re parked there, but you don’t pay rent there. Get in, get out.
10. Rubber Neckers: My city is absolutely befuddling in this aspect. I mean, we will slow down to watch a guy on the side of the road talk on his cell phone. We will screech to a halt if we see a cop giving a ticket on the other side of the road. Traffic here is congested half the time not because there is something in the road, but because we all have to stop and stare at what is happening on the side of the road. Voyeurism. it explains why Reality TV is so very popular. A friend once said never to look at a traffic accident as you drive because you might see something you’ll never be able to erase from your mind’s eye. Don’t be a voyeur, keep on truckin!
Disclaimer: If you fit any of these criterion and feel a strange desire to blush or send me angry hate mail, before you do, please know its all in good fun. I’ve probably violated some of these peeves myself from time to time (though I assure you I have never struggled with stockings while behind the wheel). So please- don’t be offended. As Nacho from Nacho Libre says so eloquently, “Sometimes I wear stretchy pants-Its for fun!” Sometimes when studying for exams I vent about peeves, Its for fun! No offense intended.