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Road Rage

by John Turco

    I always get in the slowest lane. No matter what lane I switch to, I end up in the loser lane in traffic. I know it’s not just in my head either. I know for a fact that I’m always in the slowest lane, because I chart my progress during gridlock. Don’t laugh, because I know you all do it as well. I pick out a distinctive looking vehicle and then estimate how my lane is doing as compared to that vehicle. I always lose!!!!!!!
    That’s why to me, Road Rage is entirely understandable. What, with about 100,000 idiots on the road with me night after night, it’s a miracle I’m not already in jail.
    It’s so frustrating. After 8 glorious hours in my cubical, I get to spend two more in my car. At least my car is bigger. But people do the dandiest things on the road. My favorite has to be the old “70 mph to a dead stop for no apparent reason” move, which everybody seems to have down to perfection. However, it always catches me off guard. Then it’s right back up to 70 mph, until the next unnecessary dead stop that is. Now I know where the term “Mass-hole” comes from. We’re all Mass-holes. Well, I’m not. But you are!
    Okay, traffic is slowing down again. I wonder why? Oh, there it is, off in the distance. It’s a man changing his tire. Gee, it’s a damn good thing everyone slowed down to a crawl to take a good long look at that attraction. Who knows when we’ll see such an amazing sight again?
    Speed back up to a blistering 27 mph. Uh-oh, have to slow down again. Guess who? It’s the CVS Good Samaritan Van. Yaaaaay. It’s CVS to the rescue. I hate CVS. They’re the cause of most traffic. Besides, what do they know about cars anyway? That’s certainly who I want arriving first on the scene if I’m ever in an accident. I can just hear them yelling to me now, as I’m trapped upside down in my burning car. “Hang on buddy, we can’t get to you. But in the mean time, we’re going to try to pass you some marsh mellows to roast. They’re on special this week”.
    I’d yell back, “I need the Jaws of Life!”
    They’d reply, “Ah, we’ve got some Jaw-breakers.”
    I don’t find a real need for the CVS Good Samaritan Van. If you ask me, I’d just assume eliminate that service all together and have one less van on the road. Just trying to slim down traffic, one driver at a time.
    Now what the hell is this guy’s problem? For some reason, the overly cautious moron in front of me feels it necessary to leave 40 car lengths between him and the car in front of him. We’re going 6 mph! What could happen you jerk? MOVE!!! Now everyone else is cutting in front of him, while I foam from the mouth and meander helplessly behind him. I’d sure like to light that guy on fire.
    Now it’s all over. Parking lot time. Three lanes of hopeless grid lock and no sign of relief. This is when you switch lanes just because you’re sick of staring at the moroon mini-van that has been in front of you for a half hour. This is also when you seem to build up some sort of weird camaraderie with some of the other miserable drivers around you. You inch along and notice the guy next to you. Then you pull ahead, leaving him behind. Then ten minutes later, through some miracle of planet alignment and gridlock gravity, the same guy pulls up beside you. “Hey, I remember you,” you say to yourself. “Where ya been buddy? Haven’t seen you in a while.” The friendship really takes off if you both happen to be listening to the same radio station. But, sadly his lane speeds up and he pulls away. He’s gone forever and you wonder if he can see you in his rear view mirror. You wonder if he’s even giving you a second thought as he jets away.
    Then you snap out of it. “I’m not here to make friends. I need to get home!” And there’s the breakdown lane, free and clear. So tempting. It’s like that $20 hooker at the end of the bar at last call after long night of shots and beer. She is all alone and begging for company. “Come on”, she whispers to you. “Don’t worry, everything will be fine. Everybody does it. You’re gonna love it.” You know you shouldn’t do it. Then you start reasoning to yourself. “Why can’t I use that lane? I pay taxes. I paid for that lane. After all, it’s perfectly good functioning lane and nobody is using it. All those tax dollars are going to waste. Well, I’m certainly not one to waste the money of the hard-working taxpayer!”
    Finally, you make your move. You’re in and you’re loving it. You feel so alive. You’re a rebel without a cause. Screw all of those sheep in gridlock. You can’t be contained! You’re a free spirit! You’re flying high. You’re making great time. This is going to be a whole new way of life for you. That’s right. From now on, you’re the boss. You’re the master of your own destiny. You’re…... oh shit, there’s a cop! Okay, don’t worry. Just relax, be casual and simply slip back into traffic. But Nooo! It’s not that easy. Everyone whom you just gave the finger to as you sped by is now ganging up and forming the Great Wall of “Screw You Buddy” with their cars. They won’t let you back in. “Too bad, Mr. Free Spirit”, exclaim the masses. “Let’s see what the nice Police Officer thinks of your antics, Mr. Rebel without a cause.”
    We all know the real reason they won’t let you back in. They’re jealous, plain and simple. They’re jealous because they didn’t have the balls to make the move themselves and they can’t live with that fact. The only way for them to justify their unwarranted fear is to make sure you are punished for your actions so that they can go on living, telling themselves that they made the right choice to sit in traffic for three hours, in fear.
    Which brings me to another issue. If you are caught driving in the breakdown lane, pulled over and ticketed, shouldn’t you at least be able stay in the breakdown lane and to continue on your way. You’ve paid the fine. So why can’t you enjoy what you’ve paid for? I think you should at least get a pass for the rest of the day. I’d pay. And think of how much money the state would make. I think they should do that with the Zipper Lane as well. Just make a new policy. If you want to use the Zipper Lane, it’ll cost you 30 bucks. Who cares about those car pool people! They piss me off anyway (I don’t really know why, but they just do). I think it’s because I picture car pool people so happy. Happy and jolly to just be pooling along. I don’t particularly like happy people.
    One Sunday afternoon I was driving Southbound out of Boston on Route 93 and just as I passed one of the Quincy exits, I noticed an older man riding a bicycle in the southbound breakdown lane. He had just come up off of the on-ramp. He was just peddling along with one hand on the handle bars and flipping the bird with the other. He didn’t seem to be flipping off anybody in particular. It was more like an all-inclusive thing. I had to admire him for that. Then I bumped him over the guard rail and laughed my ass off. I figured he’d understand.




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