Thursday, November 1, 2007


As I have now joined the proud ranks of road-raging California commuters, I would like to add my horn to the noise. Here are a few tips on driving on the California highways, byways (hat tip to Steven Moore) and side streets and on being a good driver/pedestrian/commuter, or at least not a completely comatose one, as so many apparently are.

The likelihood that anybody who shares the roads with me will ever read this is incredibly slim. I know this. But writing out my woes is cathartic, and you are stuck at work, blog-surfing, and thus a captive audience - so you will read this, no matter how dull the story of my commute may be.

  1. It appears to be a law that if there is one large, weighed-down, slow-moving, repair-man-type truck on the road, there will be another, taking up the other lane and slowing everybody down. Repair men of the world, listen to me. WE LOVE YOU. We do. You fix our plugged drains, unrattle our rattling doors, and fearlessly stare down the bad circuitry demons. However, our love fades every time you go 35 in a 55... and especially when you team up to make passing you impossible. We respect that your trucks are big and weighed down and you get paid by the hour. Just let the rest of us by... and our love will remain untarnished.
  2. Same goes for moms. I salute you, moms. You guys work hard and have some of the toughest jobs in the universe. However, I also know that when I am behind a mini-van with "Honor-Roll Student" stickers on the bumper and shades in the windows, I am in for a slow drive. Unless, of course, Junior spits up in a big way. In which case we must always be prepared for the quick exit to the nearest parking lot/bathroom/wherever moms go to make do. Not really having much experience with the whole kid scene, I can't really hold a grudge here though. Just... good job, moms. Keep it up, and... well, you could move into the slow lane now and then. If you think about it.
  3. Nobody in California waves. EVER. Megan and I perfected the art of "Dallas Driving" (one hand on the steering wheel, one hand waving frantically out the back window at everybody whom you're cutting off as you cross several lanes of traffic for an exit that you should have noticed a lot earlier, but were too busy jamming out to the sweet lovin' sounds of Plus One...) So I wave. I think as I get into somebody's lane and give a cheery wave, they must think "Aw, how quaint. She waved with her whole hand! She must be from the South." This, I assume, makes their day better because they start thinking about Grandma Hazel's Sweet Potato Pie and not the thousands of dollars in debt they racked up last night in South Coast Plaza. At least I hope so. They're probably just wondering what the heck I'm doing.
  4. STEREOTYPE ALERT. When someone is driving incredibly poorly, if I finally get up next to them, I always look to see what kind of person has been so blissfully wrecking my morning. 99% of the time they are women, and 80% of the time they are on cell phones - typically very bling-y ones with large jewels stuck in conspicuous places. Girls, girls. Throw woman-kind a bone here. Silence is golden. Or the radio. Or maybe just watching the road instead of discussing your eyeliner application with your girlfriends. Or maybe you could talk about driving, and that would keep you focused. Something has to change, though. Please.
  5. Pedestrians. Walking is good for both body and soul. I am completely in support of walking, and think everybody should walk and use cross-walks and all that good stuff. I would also just like to remind the foot-traveling population that crosswalks are kind of a favor on the car-bound people's part. Really. We have agreed that while you're walking in-between the white lines from sidewalk to sidewalk, we will not run you over. However, that does not mean that you can abuse the privilege. The cross-walk is not the place to begin deep discussions, check out your manicure, or drink in the scenery. I join your ranks almost every evening, and I KNOW that the street can be crossed before the light changes. Please endeavor to do so, and we will gladly continue not running you over.
  6. Honking. Really, guys? Honking is to driving what "How to Save a Life" is to music. Overdone. Overplayed. Worn out. Please stop.
  7. When people think they're being sneaky, they're really just being rude. There's a place right by work where you can get onto the 55 going either North or South. The southbound lanes are always clear, Northbound are always packed. So certain sneaky people think they can blaze up the Southbound end until just before it splits, then gracefully merge, with no one the wiser and their own selfish tushes a few hundred yards further down the freeway. It doesn't work. For reals. All that happens is the Southbounders get slowed down and annoyed by the unsuccessful merging attempts, the Northbounders get righteously indignant at "sneakers" lack of courtesy, and everybody is honking and tailgating and nobody is better off... and it happens EVERY DAY. Oh, dumb Californians.
  8. If you're a guy and you pull up next to me, this does not mean that the Freeway Gods have ordained that we are destined to be together. It does not mean that I think you're cute. It does not mean that my window is down in order to talk to random guys, including you. It does not mean anything. Go away and learn to not be creepy.
  9. If you tailgate me, I want to slam on my brakes. I have not done it yet, but be warned. No bueno.
  10. Finally, be NICE. I seriously believe that people get in their cars and assume their mean driving alter ego. Wave. Smile. Take a sip of your $10 latte. Commuters are people too!

1 comment:

~lady j said...

to me, you are perfect!
and so funny. i love this.
you are really magnificent. :)