Road Rage, Invisible Groundhogs and Hypocrisy

I am a self-professed tailgater. And I’m not referring to the tailgating that occurs before football games around here. I am referring to the riding-other-drivers-asses variety of tailgater.

My dad and Lee both get after me about this A LOT. As well they should. Tailgating is rude and obnoxious, not to mention dangerous. But being the extremely impatient narcissist that I am… I just can’t seem to help myself. I can start out on a trip with the best of intentions and before I know it, I’ve memorized every scratch, dent and ding on the bumper in front of me… and I’ve probably fantasized about ramming into it too.

Yesterday on the way to work I got “brake-checked” by the guy in front of me (YES, an individual I happened to be tailgating at the time) and I had to slam on my brakes because he literally STOPPED in the middle of the road. He didn’t just tap his breaks to warn me that I was beginning to annoy him… He STOPPED… In the middle of a 55 MPH zone! Now, unless he was stopping for a squirrel, cat or groundhog—that I for one did not see—he was clearly sending me the “get-off-my-ass-NOW!” message.

I am well acquainted with this form of non-verbal, vehicular communication because I am not just your garden-variety tailgater. I am what you might call a “hypocritical tailgater.” I WILL tailgate you… but don’t you DARE tailgate me… or I WILL brake-check you until you get the message.

I feel it also worth mentioning that the guy who brake-checked me today was also a hypocritical tailgater because after he slammed on his brakes for me and resumed his speed… he practically crawled up the tailpipe of the guy in front of him. I must have been in a fairly decent mood because after re-securing all of my belongings back into the passenger seat from the floor to which they had fallen at the time of the aforementioned brake-check incident… I laughed. HARD.

I just laughed and laughed and backed the hell off. I got his message LOUD AND CLEAR. And maybe, just maybe, I secretly hoped that the driver whose tailpipe the break-checking-hypocritical-tailgater was currently sucking on would also stop suddenly in the middle of the road for an invisible squirrel, cat or groundhog… and well, you know the rest.

Mornin’ Sunshine

Yesterday morning I got stuck behind this ridiculously-slow-moving truck on the way to work and was so frustrated I could spit nails. I HATE slow-moving traffic. I LOATHE slow-moving traffic. I have no patience and no tolerance for it. In fact, one day it is probably going to cause me to stroke out behind the wheel. OK, that is a bit of an exaggeration, but you get my point.

I know I’ve said it before, but I firmly believe that anyone who is going to drive under the legally posted speed limit should restrict their travel to between midnight and 4 a.m. That way they are less likely to interfere with people who ACTUALLY HAVE TO BE SOMEWHERE… And quite frankly they will annoy fewer people. If they cannot adhere to the midnight and 4 a.m. rule, then the absolute least they could do is not travel between the hours of 5 a.m.- 9 a.m. Is this too much to ask?

However, since these restrictions are not yet LAWS… there is little I can do about it except complain, fume, roll my eyes, slam my hands against the steering wheel and call the driver of said slow-moving vehicle all sorts of nasty names while performing obscene hand gestures beneath the dashboard 1. so as not to incite road rage and/or get myself killed and 2. because I haven’t got the balls to do this above the dashboard where the offending motorist might actually see and identify me. But yesterday morning was a little bit of a different story.

Because of the aforementioned ridiculously-slow-moving-truck, I had the opportunity to meet the sunrise. While trapped behind the giant snail, I began to notice the tops of the brightly-lit, green trees and golden-tassled corn. My surroundings on the road down below were all a greenish-grey… but higher up on the horizon everything was brilliant blue, green and gold. And since I now had the time to watch this lovely scene unfold in front of me… thanks to Pokey-The-Passive-Pick-Up-Driver (jerk)… I decided to enjoy it.

Gradually, as the sun rose higher and higher in the East, the color spread down through the trees, illuminating more and more of the landscape. It was like being on the inside of a blank canvas while it was being washed with color. At one point it felt like I was driving through a glowing green tunnel as tall, mature maples guarded both sides of the highway. It was stunning. Little by little everything sprang to life as a promising new day began!

And before I knew it, I had stopped screaming, put both hands back on the wheel and forgotten ALL about the sluggish vehicle in front of me—probably because by now I had run it off the road and it was lying upside down in a ditch, wheels still spinning—but that’s another story for another day.

So, I would just like to close by saying: I guess there really IS some validity to the statement: “Take time to enjoy the scenery.” I would just prefer to enjoy the scenery… while traveling at least 65 miles per hour.

The Woman Inside My Phone

I hate the woman who lives in my phone. You most likely know her, as she is probably the same one that lives in YOUR phone. She tells you what to do and often her instructions are wrong. She misunderstands your voice and touch commands constantly and sometimes cuts you off when you’re in the middle of leaving a message. Like she thinks she knows when I’m done talking? Who the hell does she think she is?

She is also an easy target for the role of scapegoat whenever my phone pisses me off for any reason. If I have a bad signal, no signal, bad reception (whether on my end or the other person’s), a low battery or God forbid—a dropped call—it is all her fault. And I tell her so. Usually really loudly. And my hatred for her grows.

My drive home from work is riddled with shitty and spotty cell reception. I’ll be in the middle of a conversation and… GONE. The call has ended. Abruptly. And usually at a really crucial or pivotal point too. There are at least 4 places that I KNOW a call will drop. I can predict with almost 95% accuracy when this will happen but for some reason that doesn’t stop me from trying to communicate with people. If I have something to say, dammit, I am going to say it! Even if it means calling back 50 times and getting dropped 49 of those times.

While I am driving—for safety sake—I do not wish to use the keypad (I’m such a good and conscientious driver) so I utilize the voice-command feature. Well, I should say that it is a safety measure for myself and the other drivers maybe… but for HER… not so much. She never gets the commands right. For example, I will clearly say: “Call Jan.” And she will reply: “Did you say: Call Ham?” <pause> “Did you say: Call Jam?” <pause> … my anger is building … “Did you say: Call Spam?” <pause> … I’m gonna lose it … “Did you say: Call Dan?”  And I snap. First of all bitch, I don’t have any friends named after food and I don’t even know anyone named Dan. To which she sweetly replies: “Please try again.”  Then she hangs up on me.

That’s when I let loose with a blue streak that could rival any sailor.

As a result of the terrible reception combined by her pure inability to UNDERSTAND ANYTHING THAT I SAAAAY… I cannot even impart to you the abuse this woman inside my phone has had to endure. Let me put it this way… If she were a real person, I’d be in prison by now.

I have been known to scream until I’ve lost my voice while raging at her. I have repeatedly smacked and poked her so HARD that her touch screen flashes all kinds of wild colors. I have thrown her. Also repeatedly. It is a miracle I have not tossed her out the sunroof and into a cornfield by now. Sometimes, after I have exhausted myself from violently cursing at her, I just leave her lying on the floorboard of my car—wherever she last landed—while the blind spots caused by my stroke-level blood pressure clear from my field of vision. I take a few deep breaths, loosen my white-knuckle grip on the steering wheel, crank up the radio and yell at her: We’ll try again later. After I no longer want to rip out your circuitry!”