I wrote this while stopped in traffic, so it’s probably longer than it needs to be — just like my wait at 34th street. Today it took me four cycles of the traffic light to make it across, which gave me plenty of time to feed my road rage.
This intersection at University and 34th Street is made for cheaters. Head east on University, and you find the two lane road shrinks to one lane with a left turn lane and a right turn lane.
The “right turn only” lane is the reason for my road rage. It tempts cheaters to use it to bypass the long line of good citizens waiting (sometimes four cycles!) for their turn to pass under a green traffic light.
I’m know I’m only overstating the obvious, but I am a good citizen.
Daily I sit in that line of traffic, waiting my turn, getting angrier and angrier as cheaters fly down the right turn lane, “pretending” they don’t see the “Right turn only” signs, and then easing their way into my lane when the idiots in front of me aren’t paying attention.
(I even get mad at the idiots behind me when I see them allow a cheater to get in front of them.)
As I always do, I hug the butt of the car in front of me but also edge as far right as possible. In that way, I prevent cheaters from cutting in front of me and I can see every driver who cheats, thus feeding my inner road rage.
I hug the car in front of me even tighter if I see someone even think about scooting in front of me.
It’s a hair’s breadth between safety and keeping my place in line. I sometimes have to look through the windshield of the car in front of me to see the traffic light.
When driving a car, all I have is body language to communicate. My car’s body.
“Don’t even think about it!” I yell at would-be cheaters, as I aggressively scoot even closer to the car in front of me.
(That romantic sentence “I couldn’t tell where he began and I ended” isn’t romantic. It’s my car in traffic. Road rage.)
“You idiot! Hug the butt!” I yell at the drivers in front of me in line when I see they’ve allowed a cheater in front of them.
But they can’t hear me and pay me no mind.
I could use my horn to express my rage — except it doesn’t work.
Yes, I’ve seen that bumper sticker too. Despite my Christian values, I’ve considered purchasing it, except now my driver’s side window doesn’t work, so I can’t even use sign language to express myself.
(True story: I worked with a school teacher who didn’t shoot people birds while we traveled on the bus. Instead, he’d wave his whole hand and smile while saying, “Take the whole flock!”)
One of my colleagues, who knows this intersection well, drives a big Ford F150. We often commiserate about our commute, but he does something about his road rage. He simply weaves his truck about the lane and “accidentally” keeps enough of the vehicle in the right-hand turn-only lane that he blocks that lane of traffic.
And causes rage in the cheaters.
I’m impotent. I feed my inner road rage because I can look but can’t touch. Shout but can’t be heard. Pound on my soundless horn, wave my hand in frustration and otherwise express my anger to people who pay me no mind.
And still I watch intently for the cheaters.
Ah! Rage. It does a body good.
Finally! Green light. Gotta go!