March 2009

Idiots all around me

I’m back. Moved to Vancouver and goofing off between jobs. Which means I’m not driving much, so I didn’t think I would have much to say here. WRONG. Almost every time I do drive, someone does something around me that is just retarded. I’m posting this because today I was driving home after doing some shopping, and witnessed something so ridiculous that I could hold my tongue no longer.

Here’s the setup: I was approaching an intersection between two major roads (four lanes all ’round) and wanted to turn left. To get to the left turn lane, I had to first change from the curb lane to the center lane, so I signaled and slid in behind Mr. I. OwnTheRoad and his wife. I sized up Mr. O. immediately: slow-moving, hesitant; yes – elderly. He was driving significantly slower than the limit, but I wasn’t concerned, since the turn lane started in a few car lengths and he would no longer be able to annoy me (hopefully forever). Still, I sensed something in his wobbly movements that caused me to wonder if he intended to turn left as well.

The entrance to the left turn lane arrived, but no signal and no positive movement to the left by Mr. O. For safety, I allowed a couple more car lengths of the left turn lane to pass, then concluded I had been wrong (it does happen) and Mr. O was not planning to turn after all.

I signaled left, moved into the left turn lane, and – hoping to get to the intersection soon enough to trigger the advanced left turn signal, I moved promptly past Mr. O. to the sensors before the light changed. I patted myself on the back: nice job!

But what’s this? I hear a loud honk. I look around, trying to determine its source. I check the rear view mirror. Could it be? Yes! It’s Mr. O! He’s vigourously wagging his head and pointing at me, clearly indicating “yes, it was me that honked, and I honked at you!”

Lately, when something idiotic happens on the road, I try not to get enraged and instead work on figuring out what, exactly, the idiot involved was thinking that led to the event. But in this case, I’m stumped. What did Mr. O. think I had done wrong? The only way my actions could have led to any danger would be if Mr. O. had failed to notice my signal or my movement into the turn lane and crashed into me when he moved left. By the way, he never signaled, at least not in my view. I can only assume that Mr. O. feels that he should be able to do anything he wants on the road, no matter how stupid, but that this right does not apply to anyone else.

As the advance turn light flashed, I pulled away from Mr. O., shaking my head slowly in disbelief. I glanced back to see him gesticulating to his wife, apparently explaining why he was so upset. I can understand her confusion.

P.S. My sister wants me to mount a camera in my car to record these idiotic events. She says every time she’s with me, someone does something idiotic in front of me (indeed they do) but that she’s never seen anyone do these things in her previous experience on the road. I guess she’s saying I’m somehow cursed. Oh joy. Well, at least I’ll have something to blog about.

P.P.S. It just occurred to me that perhaps Mr. O.’s rear left turn light may be burned out, which still wouldn’t exactly make him look like a great driver, but at least it could explain his anger. Ah, but I doubt it, since he also failed to use his signal at the intersection. The mystery remains.

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