Thursday, August 06, 2009

Commuters and Regular Drivers

While driving to Philadelphia to see Billy Joel/Elton John last week with two friends, it occurred to me that I am no longer a regular driver. Actually, re-occurred or maybe just verbalized by me, because I have thought about it before.

When I was a child, we would go on family vacations and spent days in the station wagon on the road - to Florida or to Canada. Often we would go with another family and would follow that family in our car. Mr B was a traveling salesman. He flashed his lights at people who didn't drive fast enough or stayed in the left lane too long. He gestured a lot and was impatient. We tried to keep up with him, often times driving too quickly or switching lanes too often for my parents' liking.

Since I have become a long-distance commuter, I have become Mr. B. I don't flash my lights or gesture, but I am increasingly impatient and angry at drivers who drive the speed limit or slightly above the speed limit in the left hand lane. How dare someone go into the EZPass lane and slow down or God forbid, stop in the EZPass lane?!? My carpool members are also the same way. We take an evil pleasure in blocking someone from passing us on the right when we see them weave in and out of the lanes behind us. We mutter under our breaths when someone is driving too slowly in the left hand lane and refuses to move over to let us on our way. We glare at other drivers who cut us off and then later end up beside us.

Some of us react more strongly than others. One man in my carpool is by most appearances, very mild-mannered, and old-fashioned. He doesn't drink, doesn't swear and doesn't like to talk about 'questionable' topics. But behind the wheel of the car, he demonstrates a very strong road rage. Flash your lights at him and he is going to block your way in the left lane and refuse to let you pass. Cut him off by passing on the right and he is going to ride as close to the back of your car as he can.

I'd like to rig up my video camera as a dashboard cam so I could show some of the horrible driving we encounter. And, as we joked yesterday morning, our carpool stories and banter could make for a very successful comedy sitcom. A dashboard cam could pick up those stories as well!