Saturday, April 2, 2011

Freaks On The Roads

They is some freaks out on the roads, y'all!!!

Seriously, I took my daughter to her Dad today for his weekend visit, and once again I see how many horribly bad drivers there are out there. Today is a beautiful Saturday, and we all know the crazies come out of the woodwork on pretty days. There was this one guy in a white van that had me praying for safety...for me and my kid as well as everyone else on the road...including his stupid self. This guy was straddling the center line. He would weave over to the right lane and then drift back into the left lane. Then he would just drive for awhile right down the center.

Finally, he got over and I was able to pass him. I tried to get around him quickly because I knew he would just drift back over anytime. As I passed him I took a good look. The dude's just chillin'. He's got one hand on the wheel and his left arm is resting next to the window. He doesn't look like he has a care in the world. Also, keep in mind that he is doing between 60 and 65 mph on the freeway. The speed limit is 70 and most on the road are doing 10 or 20 over that.

He had gotten into the right-hand lane right behind a truck pulling an empty trailer. As soon as I was almost parallel to the trailer, this cat veers back into my lane. At this point he is right on my tail. I thought he was going to clip me for a moment. I sped up and he slowed down. Way down. I looked back every few seconds in my rear view mirror and he was getting further and further behind me...still straddling the center line or drifting back and forth between lanes. I even saw him weave in between a few cars in his drifting. Of course, I thought how there is never a cop around when you need there should just be thousands of police officers on patrol of that highway. I was praying for everyone he might come in contact with...I was also praying that he would get pulled over and checked out.

It's amazing to me how driver's licenses are handed out all willy nilly. I want to address some very bad driving habits that a lot of people have. Of course, please keep in mind that most of the following is written a bit smart alecky and tongue in cheek. It's not exactly the raving vent it seems...though I do tend to believe what I say. I have a destination in mind.

First off, there is a breed I like to call "Road Bullies." These are the people who don't believe speed limits apply to them. That is just a stupid law they should not have to obey. I confess I tend to drive about 5 miles over the speed limit. I've been known to up that to 10 over if there is someone behind me tailgating. I get so annoyed by the people who will blow by going 85 to 95 mph (or FASTER) on the freeway. They weave in and out of traffic and shoot the gaps. They think everyone should get out of their way because they own the road.

They are the ones who will drive right up on your butt and glare because you dare to be in their lane. Well, guess what, Buddy? I am not getting over for you. I find these people to be arrogant jerks. These are the creeps who will see a sign that plainly states that the left lane ends in 1/2 a mile and to merge right, but they don't think that means them. So they speed along until the lane ends then they turn on their signals and force their way in front of some poor sap who actually obeyed the traffic signs. I am convinced these are the people who will cut in line at the grocery store or in the lunch line at school. People who just think they are special and should be allowed to do as they please. Rude. Arrogant. Jerks.

As you can probably tell, I can't stand people who drive that way. They make me very very angry. I've been known to slow down to a ridiculous speed just to tick them off. Well, in fairness I did that once when I was in my early 20's. I'm a bit more mature than that now. Now I try to keep my temper and ignore them.

Then at the other end of the spectrum, there are those people who will pull out in front of you, causing you to hit your brakes so you don't hit them...then they will proceed to drive 10 or 15 mph under the speed limit. These people are pure frustration Nothing like getting behind a crawler for 10 miles.

I figure most of us will fall into one of the above categories at some point. I guess we can all be stupid at times. I think my problem is that I hate to drive. It's not really driving I hate, but I despise traffic. My husband tells me that traffic is a hot button for me. I get so irritated so fast. I don't do stupid things...except the above confession of slowing down on purpose. I don't make a habit of that. One person caught me on a day when I was very young and not in the mood to take any mess. I don't advise being petty and immature like that. I sure don't recommend it to a Christian who ought to act better. I made a mistake and feel pretty silly about it.

I think God has grown me a lot in that area. Though, I still get pretty annoyed. I still get impatient. However, I don't shout and cuss...and I've been known to do both. One time when I was backslidden and not living for the Lord like I should, I got so mad merging on the freeway one day that I dropped the F-bomb right in front of my Grandma!!!

Oh, I was ashamed. I giggled at first. Not because I thought it was funny but because I was embarrassed. I said, "I said a bad word."

Grandma said, "Yep. You did."

I said, "I'm sorry, Grandma." She replied, "Well, you ought not to talk that way."

That was all that was said. She didn't lecture me or yell at me. But I knew she was disappointed in me. That hurt.

I'm not sitting here saying that I am a perfect driver. But I do think that I am a good driver. I will tell you though, when I first got my license I was a mess. First off, I am shocked I passed the driving test.

I ran a stop sign with the police officer in the car with me! He says, "There was a stop sign back there."
I said, "Didn't I stop?" He goes, "Nope. You rolled through." Oops. He got on to me a couple of times telling me to stay in my lane. I said, "But we're in a parking lot." He said, "Go to Wal-Mart and see if you don't have a right lane and a wrong lane." Yet, he passed me.

That first week of driving was a doozy. One day I was driving down a narrow street and another car dared to come toward me in the opposite lane. I was afraid I was too far over, so I went to the right. I hit a big rock and went airborn. I landed on someone's mailbox...just crushed it. Oops. That first week my rear view mirror fell off. I managed to back into not one but two cars in that same week.

Well, I am a much better driver now. I follow the law (although I do confess to driving about 5 mph over the husband actually drives the limit. I think he is the only person I know who does). I've never been in another accident outside that first week with a license, and I am considerate of other people. I teased earlier that I won't get over for a road bully. I won't either if they are acting ugly or if the traffic on the other lane is too heavy, but I was just teasing. I usually will get over and let them pass. I don't believe in antagonizing someone and deliberately making them mad. I try not to do that. I do obey the traffic signs. I would never drive up to the end of a lane and force my way and cut in line. That is rude.

The bottom line is that the roads are dangerous. There are bad drivers and good drivers having bad days. After all, the ones driving those cars and trucks and vans and SUVs are a bunch of human beings. We all know that when you get those human beings involved things won't always go smoothly or good. We are just imperfect. So, be careful on the roads and try to be considerate of others, and please obey the laws. They are in place for very good reasons.

All that being said, I have been thinking for awhile about a road bully who cuts off one of those frustrating slow drivers in traffic. The story is called Facing Dawn and it will be part of a short story collection this spring. The collection is called Swagger and will be up on Kindle toward the end of May.

Facing Dawn is the story of a lady with a lot on her mind. She cuts off the wrong guy. A guy who is sick and tired of being passive and kicked around. She doesn't give the incident a second thought. She has no idea that she has set off a reaction in him that will be violent and dogged. Look for it this spring. I hope you will enjoy the story.

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