Doesn’t everyone wish they had a platform like this to “educate” their fellow drivers? Today, I decided to abuse my platform in the name of all the frustrated people like me that can’t understand why there are so many insane people sharing the roads with us. So please indulge me and permit me my rant – I’ll keep it brief.
First of all – if you are one of those people who drive the speed limit in the left hand lane, I’m speaking to you now: STOP IT! Don’t you know that the left lane is strictly designed for those of us who are breaking the law? The left lane is for PASSING ONLY – not for those of you who are hanging out enjoying the scenery and aren’t important enough to have anywhere to be or any designated time to be there. The left lane was engineered, funded, paved and painted specifically for those of us who have LIVES. We are on a tight schedule, we forgot to take our anti-anxiety meds, our over-achieving children are over-scheduled, and we are perfectly willing to break the law and risk the lives of the people in our car in an effort to accomplish our challenging schedules. Stay out of our way because we have an intense, primal need to be in front. We are the people who understand that we are not going to get pulled over for doing five or seven miles over the speed limit, and are willing to take the chance that there isn’t a police car waiting around the next corner. We push the limit, all limits, and we’re willing to take our chances.
Now, as crazy as you may think we are, may I remind you that we are also NOT the people who slow down to look at the wrecks along the side of the road and back traffic up for miles just for a 2-second peek at someone else’s bad luck. Yes, I’m referring to you highly annoying offenders aptly named “rubberneckers.” And while I have your attention, can I just ask, “What are you looking at?” It’s really not that interesting and while you’re staring at the fender bender, do you ever happen to let your eyes wander to your rear view to notice that there are two miles of cars behind you that probably wouldn’t be there at all if people like you would just mind your own business and drive? Keep your eyes forward, and your foot on the accelerator and I promise you won’t miss anything. If staring at an accident is truly that entertaining to you, then please, by all means, drive to the nearest bar, order a stiff one and spend some time contemplating what you are going to do to add a little more fun into your miserable existence.
The next group of insane people I would like to address are those pedestrians who refuse to pick up their pace when you’ve invited them to walk across the street in front of you. You know the type, it always happens at the grocery store when you’re rushing to find a parking space and just as you spot one and are preparing to make your turn and get there before your competing drivers, someone appears on the sidewalk with their hands full of heavy grocery bags and they need to cross in front of you. A fleeting moment of humanity sparks through your body and you put on the brakes and allow the person to cross the street in front of you. And just when you’re feeling good about yourself, you realize that the person, to whom you’ve just granted a few precious seconds of your day, is barely moving. That’s right, he or she is not making any effort to hurry. The really infuriating ones are the teenagers that continue their highly practiced strut while their cell phone remains pressed to their ear. You KNOW they don’t have a schedule like yours. Can I just ask, “Who are you people and didn’t your mother teach you anything?” When you are crossing the street, and someone in a car is kind enough to let you walk in front of them, please understand that it is inconsiderate to continue at your normal snail’s pace. When someone is kind enough to stop and let you cross, then walk faster, people. It’s the considerate thing to do. And a little wave of thanks (or a nod if your hands are full) is a nice touch too. Remember, that person in the car has just put their life on hold for a perfect stranger. You have no idea what mental condition they are in on this particular day and if you walk too slowly there’s always the chance that they might change their mind and decide that they would prefer your body under their car as opposed to in front of it. The only people that are excused from this etiquette are old people with walkers (but chances are they’ll hurry just because they’re from a better generation) and mothers with small children because we fast and furious types do understand that little children have little legs and can only generate just so much speed, not to mention the fact that if the child is a male, he’s going to try to stop in the middle of the road and pick up rocks and/or bugs (it’s what they do).
If you are not part of the fast and the furious, I hope that you will commit to spend more time in the right lane, be more courteous to the drivers around you, and spend less time staring at accidents. For those of you who fall in the fast and the furious category, I hope that my little rant has granted you some much needed relief, but if you’ve felt the need to raise your fist over your head and yell, “Hell yeah!” at any point during this rant, I feel it is my civil responsibility to point out that you may actually be the one suffering from insanity. A little perspective might add a little happiness to your life and the life of your over-scheduled children. You know who you are.
Next time, I’d like to address the people in the drive-thru lane at McDonald’s that leave 2 car lengths in front of them, thereby preventing the driver behind them from reaching the window, and the car behind them from reaching the speaker so they can’t place their order. For cryin’ out loud people, look around – you’re not alone on the planet!
Stephanie Triplett is the author of The Mommy Chronicles: Conversations Sharing the Comedy and Drama of Pregnancy and New Motherhood (Hay House, 2005) and The Must-Have Mom Manual (Ballantine/Random House, April 2009)