Posted by: canthold | April 8, 2006

Retiring My Birds

Long ago, in a place far from here, I used to work outside the home and commute to an office. I drove a lot and was quite the uber-asshole because of it. I never let anyone merge in front of me and I liberally used my “bird” if anyone cut me off or committed a similar offense.

Fast forward to the present: I am a zen driver. I let people in and I don’t speed (all that much – and that is only on the freeway). I am a nice person when I drive.

It’s perplexing to me how, in light of this model behavior, I draw such crazy reactions from other drivers. I must have some sort of jerk-magnet perched atop my car like a pizza delivery sign.

Just today I was on the freeway when a fellow driver and I both decided we wanted to merge into the same lane. He (and it just has to be a he) wanted to change lanes to his right and I wanted to change lanes to my left. Fortunately for him, he noticed my action and yielded the lane to me. I say fortunately because I did not see him and we certainly would have gotten into an accident. This driver was so angry that he did not get the lane, however, that he laid on the horn at me for a while, got in front of me, then moved one more lane – now to my right – then laid on the horn as I sped up past him. Why would he be mad at me? He didn’t have more of a right to the lane than I did. I was just thankful we didn’t crash. Until he laid on his horn the second time, then I got steamed up.

There was also the time when a giant white truck with a trailer carrying another giant white truck almost ran me off the road when I tried to merge onto the freeway. I was running out of space to get on and he insisted on speeding up to try to cut me off. When I actually got on, I flipped the guy off (yes, it was a guy). The guy proceeded to chase me all over the freeway, changing lanes (and he was towing a trailer!!) over and over until he pulled in front of me in the lane to my left so that his passenger could throw something out the window at my car. What in the world did he have to be mad at me for? Because I flipped him off for almost causing an accident?

But the worst experience I had was with a Cadillac. By my old house, there was an intersection that had two left turn lanes and a “keep going straight” lane. Some old guy in a Caddy was in the straight lane, stopped at a green light, with his left blinker on. I didn’t want to wait for him to do something entirely illegal, so I honked that he needed to go. I may have honked a little too long, but I’m not sure because my music was very loud. So Caddy-man pulls forward and then to the right (at the curb) and stops. When I pass him, he pulls up behind me and follows me for about three miles, honking the whole time. The guy was clearly wrong. Whether I honked a quick beep or a long beep is irrelevant. He was wrong!

About six months later, I go through the same intersection and end up with a Cadillac of a different color behind me. This Caddy follows me and honks at me all the way until I get to my school and park (on the street). He pulls a u-turn right in front of where I parked. He looked like he was looking for a way to get out of his car. I quickly pulled away and he didn’t follow me any longer. I developed a phobia towards Cadillacs after that one and told everyone I knew about the two incidents – just in case something happened to me.

After being chased by the giant white truck, I no longer use my “bird” and thanks to Caddy-man, I rarely honk at people. I will sit at a green light for a very long time now, just waiting for the idiot in front of me to realize that they’re in their car still and they need to drive it.

What’s with these people?

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