January 18, 2005

Exasperating Drivers

(* = only found outside New York City ** = diagnostic of the “Texas driver”)

They have to swing out to the left before they can make a right turn.*

They never occupy fewer than two parking spaces at a time.**

The four–door pickup truck is parked in the “Compact Cars Only” row.** (*Noncommercial pickups illegal in NYNY.)

The famous middle–American six–second delay before starting up from a green light.* (Time enough to tell oneself, “Oh, the light just turned green. That means I can go.”)

The excessively polite driver who stops at an intersection where he has no stop sign, to yield to someone who does. Never suspecting that there might be drivers behind him.*

She makes an illegal turn that would have totaled your car if you didn’t have the reflexes of a fly—and gives you an “Oops!” grin and a wave as she drives off to her next encounter. (I leave it to your imagination what communication devices, grooming implements, comestibles, reading materials, etc., share the cockpit with her.)

I’ve outmaneuvered Mr. Musclecar all through downtown, but when traffic clears he storms past me—bullying through a red light—to show that he can do 45.

He’s bought the latest high–profile box, but it’s so tall and narrow that it’s obviously going to roll over in the first stiff wind, and when you’re behind him you can’t see anything ahead.

The NASCAR wannabe who not only won’t move into the middle lane to let you onto the freeway, but speeds up alongside the entry lane to block you.**

Bad enough that someone’s going only 60 mph in the left lane of the interstate, but the guy behind him tailgates rather than commit the indiscretion of passing on the right.

Waiting to enter the thoroughfare from a driveway, she looks cautiously this way and that when you’re a hundred yards away—hesitates, doesn’t know if she has time to enter in front of you—tries to remember what she learned at driving school—until, flustered but still slowed by caution, she creeps into your path ten yards in front of you.

Drivers who, when stopped at a long light, never look around at other cars. Can we possibly share the same Linnaean nomenclature?

Instinctively they flock to the longest line at the toolbooth, the traffic light, or the driveup bank window.* That’s okay, they keep the short line short for me.