Writing is like being able to put life into a snow globe. It takes the things that are too big and scary and reduces them into a form that I can put away when I want and look at from a distance. It also takes all that’s good in life and captures it into something I can take out when I want and look at close up and keep forever. It makes the bad things into something I can hold…and the good things into something I can hold onto. Both help so much that I need that little souvenir of life.

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Improper Poll: Driven to Distraction

I’ve been feeling somewhat peevish, so I’ve decided to cover peeves in the next few weeks. Is that exciting, or what? So allow me to begin with Traffic Peeves. Sad to say I have only too many of those, but this one is inspired by something that happened Friday on my way home from work. Then in the next couple of weeks, I’ll be moving on to General Public Peeves and possibly Grammatical Peeves. So prepare your peeves!

This Traffic Peeve actually has three parts. No, wait—four. Part I is that the sirens on police cars in my area really are not audible until the cruiser is right next to you. Ambulance and fire trucks are audible, but police cars seem not to be. However, those redblueredblue lights are visible, and that’s how I first detected this one, flashing in my rear-view mirror in the other lane several cars behind me.

So I pulled over to allow him to pass. By the way, this was at the start of rush hour, since rush hour seems to start so early these days. But here’s Part II of the peeve: no one else pulled over even when he was right there and they could obviously hear the siren. In fact, it looked like no one was even willing to pull into the slow lane to let him pass. And there were a lot of cars.

I’m not being holier-than-anyone, either. Honestly, I almost didn’t pull over myself just because no one else did. I hate to admit that, but for a second it actually crossed my mind that maybe someone had changed the rule and I’d missed it.

But here is Part III of the peeve. When I did pull to the side of the road, the woman behind me honked. At me. And she kept it up until after the cop car had passed, so it couldn’t have been that she didn’t see him. This was no little honk, either. This was a what-the-heck-are-you-doing-you-idiot honk, accompanied by flailing arms. To which I flailed back even more angrily. I pointed to the police car. I pointed to the side of the road. I shook my head sadly (which has been my favorite traffic gesture ever since someone used it on me when I was a teenager, but which once almost got me attacked in a genuine instance of road rage; but that’s for another time).

I have to wonder if her own mistake finally hit her, because I noticed she abruptly stopped gesturing and honking. Then she actually stopped riding my bumper after that.

Or maybe she was afraid I’d come after her. Part IV of my peeve is me. I should have ignored her or maybe just done the Sad Head Shake. I don’t like it when I allow other people’s stupidity to have any effect on me.

What’s your worst traffic peeve?


  1. I've noticed that myself, the failure of other people to look around and notice what's coming up behind them. Was pulling over for flashing lights not taught to people in Drivers Ed? Can you imagine how furious you'd be if that ambulance/cop/firetruck was for someone you loved and they couldn't arrive in time because some jerk in traffic couldn't be bothered to pull over?!

    This is why I now take the bus to work. :-)


  2. I am torn between tailgaters and line-crossers. The latter are more dangerous, but the former tick me off more. No matter how fast I'm going, some speed-racer wants to go faster. So I do the only logical thing. I slow down.

    Since speeding up does not deter a tailgater, I reason that at least I will be comfortable with the speed. So I slow down to EXACTLY the speed limit. Too bad, so sad that I force the car behind me to obey the laws of the land.

  3. I hate people who pass on a double line. A couple of days ago, 7 people were killed here in Alberta, by someone doing exactly that. It was the day after my husband had driven that same route on a business trip.
    As for your pull-over peeve, I've often noticed I'm the only one doing it, too.
    I don't like tailgaters, either.
    Fortunately, I have learned not to indulge in road rage. I do, however, pull over and call the police when I see someone execute a dangerous maneuver.

  4. I hate when everyone can see that a lane is blocked by an accident or construction, and instead of merging early and waiting like everyone else, there are some people who insist on sailing right up to the blockage and slipping in THEN.

    However, those aren't the people that tick me off the most. The people that aggravate me are the drivers who LET those "special" people merge in, while the rest of us did what we were supposed to do.

  5. Sneaks! Those creeps without out-of-town plates who try tp sneak in at the alst minute for the Illinois exit whent he line is a mile long! Also, those jerks who wouldn't dare change lanes for a second when I am at the end of the merge lane. People are unaware and self-centered. My s-i-l is a paramedic, and says it's bad here, but they are ignored in NY whent he lights are flashing and the sirens wailing. PEOPLE!

  6. Don't get me started. Tailgating, not using turn signals, sliding into the merge lane at the last minute.
    Most annoying. Talking on the phone while driving and not paying attention to what is going on.

  7. I agree with everyone - they are ALL annoying. The sad head shake, love it. You're funny.

  8. Funny thing...I've noticed the most meek and mild people can become raving lunatics when behind the wheel...complete with clenched fists, pointing finger (not the index one), and mouthed obscenities.

    What is it about driving that makes us all a little crazy?

    Critter Alley

  9. Oh, my friend, you have opened the flood gates with that question! I have so many...and I've encountered ALL of them in the past week - what IS it with drivers right now? The missing turn signal is the absolute worst. Or better yet, when the person slows down, comes to a stop in the middle of the road, and THEN puts on their turn signal. uh, thanks lady, but I think you've missed the point of the little flashing light...

    And this one, that I encounter weekly. I was trying to turn into my subdivision yesterday. It requires a left turn across a busy four lane street. So, I pull into the turn lane, blinker blinking, and there is a long line of stopped cards...completely blocking the street. Then, when a few of the cars begin moving for me, the woman in the lane next to me who is completely blocking my turn is so busy talking on her cell phone that she doesn't move. So I honked my horn and yelled "Hey!" She looked at me, honked back and then waited a few more seconds before moving just to make a point. Thanks lady. Really appreciate it. GRRRR. Can you tell I have some road rage? I think I'll write a blog...or a book!


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