inspiration from the drive to work this morning

Fire dances down road;
Launched from the window ahead,
A cigarette butt.

Sparks tumble and spin,
The light flares and fades away;
The litter endures.

My anger rises.
I spew forth obscenities.
They fade like the fire.

How can they do that,
Trash our state without a care?
Road rage justified.

Just when I was beginning to think things had changed

It’s been awhile.  I had begun to hope that maybe it had fallen off on its own.  I had begun to believe that I didn’t need to worry about it as much anymore.  But, in a return to a subject I first covered here and then touched upon again here, I have to say I really do need to spend some time looking over my truck in the next few days, find the sign and take it down.

You know the sign I’m talking about, right?

The one that says, “Sure, come on over to my lane, there’s plenty of room for us to share it.”

Yep.  A car tried to merge into me again this morning on my way to work.  On a hill.  In the rain.  The driver wasn’t talking on his cell phone.  He didn’t seem to be fiddling with his radio or otherwise distracted by something within his car.  His hands were at 10 and 2.

He didn’t have his blinker on though. 

Luckily, based on prior experiences with my sign and vehicles on the southern California highways and freeways, streets and roads, avenues and boulevards, I pretty much suspect everyone of wanting to cut me off or share my lane with me.  So, when his car crossed the line and edged ever so slightly into my lane I was well prepared to engage in evasive maneuvers.  On a hill.  In the rain.  (Oh, yeah, we already covered that.)

I knew there was nobody to my left, so I veered that direction and gave my truck a bit of extra gas.  The car that had just tried to hit me noticed what he was doing after I had already moved out of the way and jerked back into his lane.  I pressed down on the accelerator a little bit more and put enough distance between us so I could see him in my review mirror.  Then he signaled and changed lanes to get behind me.

Even though there was no one in front of him in his lane.  Even though he was going slower than the flow of traffic in the lane he merged into.

I don’t get it…

But, yeah, I really need to find that sign.

help! help!

The sky is falling, the sky is falling, the sky is falling!  Seek shelter, go underground, escape, run away, hide!  The sky is falling!

Oh…  Wait, are you sure?  Really?

I guess sometimes living in Southern California we forget what rain is…

Nevermind, no need to panic (I’ve got my towel*), everything is going to be okay**.

Now, if we could all just remember how to drive in the rain, then everything truly would be okay.  Not holding my breath on that though.


*Sorry, couldn’t resist the Hitchhiker’s Guide reference.
**Always remember, the answer is 42.

I don’t want this sign anymore

In truth, I never wanted it to begin with.

But I don’t know how to get rid of it because I can’t seem to find it.  I’ve looked for that pesky sign everywhere.  And somehow it must be invisible to me while others have no problem seeing it.  That part makes this whole situation extra annoying.

You know what sign I’m talking about, right?  The one on my truck that says, “Hey, go ahead and cut me off.  That’d be swell.”

Well, it’s not swell.  Not at all.

So goes life in beautiful southern California I guess.  The drivers come with the territory and the commuter lifestyle.  I’m used to it… up to a point.  I can handle the wild speed fluctuations.  I can handle the bumper to bumper traffic.  I can handle the fact that it is going to take me 30 minutes to get anywhere: the grocery store five blocks away and the Target 10 miles away.  Those are all unavoidable conditions of so many people living in close proximity to one another.

However, I can’t handle the lack of respect and the sheer obliviousness of some drivers.  This week in particular has been very bad in that regard.  On the freeway, on surface streets, in parking lots, and stop lights, I’ve been cut off every single day at least once.  At least two of those situations if I hadn’t been paying attention and anticipating that they other driver wasn’t going to stop or had no clue I was next to them they would have side swiped me.

Before you jump to conclusions, no, none of the drivers in question were talking on their cell phone at the time they tried to hit me.  So, what then is the problem?  Why am I seeing (and experiencing) this rash of people not paying attention to their surroundings while out and about in their vehicles?

Perhaps we as individuals are becoming more and more self-centric?  We are so focussed on our own problems, lives, destinations, etc… that we have stopped worrying (thinking) about the rest of the people out on the roads with us.  We are all the centers of the world, right?  And, therefore, everyone else should be watching out for us and getting out of our way.

Perhaps, on a less cynical note, it is just that the quality of driving has dropped as we built machines that are smarter and smarter.  From back up cameras, to road contouring headlights, and step by step navigation are we becoming too reliant on technology and in the process our driving skills are suffering?  That could be a very real possibility and could be placing on a slippery slope until we’ve perfected and widely distributed cars that can drive themselves.

Or… maybe I just need to look for that sign again and get it off of my truck!