Tuesday, September 14, 2010

The Land of Bad Drivers

I live in the land of inept drivers. I know there are other far off lands where drivers pilot their vehicles with skill and grace because I have seen pictures have seen them on television, but I do not live in one of these places. I reside where drivers either do not ever bother to read and understand the driving manual or these drivers simply do not care about anyone else on the road but themselves.  The truth regarding these drivers may be something completely different.

Bad drivers will strike where you least expect them.
My drive to work is a 30 minute commute that consists mainly of freeway travel with a small fraction of surface streets thrown in.  Needless to say, I see my share of drivers.  Today, moments after I entered the freeway, I encountered one of these drivers that I will call the Pace Car. The Pace Car drives the speed limit in the left lane and will never, I repeat, never drive in the right lane. Now, where I live, all vehicles are to drive in the right lane unless passing. It is the law. This particular person entered the freeway and immediately changed lanes into the left lane, set the cruise control to the speed limit and ignored the approximate half mile traffic jam of people waiting to get by.

I have plans to install these this fall.
Is the Pace Car somehow unaware of the law and so oblivious that they missed the two signs they drove by stating said law or do they just not care about anyone else on the road, thus requiring anyone traveling at a higher speed to go around them in the right lane? I believe the answer to this question is none of the above. The answer lies in the second driver I encountered today.

A woman I came across the other day.
After I honked and yelled out the window she finally moved over.
Halfway through my commute I came upon some construction that required traffic to merge into one lane. Where I live the vast majority of people start to merge as soon as they see the “Left Lane Ends” sign. These people will start to merge into the other lane upwards to a mile ahead of the actual lane ending. In California, where I have spent most of my adult life, cars merged when the lanes merged. These two ideologies create conflict among some drivers. These drivers I will call “Hall Monitors.”

I will have no merry-making in this hallway. None!
The self-appointed position of the Hall Monitor makes it their duty to ensure everyone merges a mile up the road as they did. This driver will steer his car so it straddles both lanes of traffic so that no one will be able to pass him unless they drive off the road and therefore they will be forced to merge behind the Hall Monitor. I have seen variations of the Hall Monitor strategy by different drivers over the years. At times I will witness the Pace Car strategy being implemented by the Hall Monitor who will pull out into the lane that is to merge over and drive at the same pace as the other cars thus cutting off the entire lane forcing a "virtual merge". The most dangerous of the strategies used by the Hall Monitors is to swerve into passing cars to scare any other vehicle into not passing him. This is what I call the “I’m going to show my dominance by humping your lane” strategy.  These drivers would rather put the safety of every driver around them in jeopardy in order to make others submit.

Yes, I AM the self appointed ruler of everyone.  Why?
I believe that these two drivers, the Pace Car and the Hall Monitor, feel such a need to follow the laws that they suppose it's their duty to make sure everyone else follows them as well.  Now don’t get me wrong I am always a fan of following the rules, I drive the speed limit and in the right lane, but I do not feel the need to force everyone else to submit to the same rules I follow as if I was Kruschev ruling over the fast lane with an iron fist.

Of course some rule with a tiny iron fist.
These are not the kind of people you want in any kind of authoritative position. Let’s imagine a leader that feels an overwhelming conviction and forces everyone submit to them. Nazis anyone? Both the Christians and the Muslims felt the need to do this very thing between the 600s and the 1200s.  Well, the Muslims leaders still feel the need to make their subjects submit in the Middle Eastern countries.

...said the woman who will be stoned if she says otherwise.
Telling others about your convictions is a great thing. Forcing your convictions on others is a great tragedy. Today's lesson:  Do not be a Hall Monitor and cram your convictions down other's throats as if you are trying to force feed medication to a dog.  No matter how much ground beef you put it in people are still going to spit it out.

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