Friday, February 1, 2008

Instant Idiots

People are instant idiots, just add water. Freeze that water and drop it from the sky, to pile up on the roadways, and a very special kind of hell takes place. It never ceases to amaze me how something as simple as frozen water crystals can make an already dumb population, exponentially dumber.

From the guy in the Monte Carlo SS, with rear wheel drive who thought that by pressing hard and harder on the gas, he’d somehow gain control over his fishtailing car, to the little old bitty who decided it was in her right to drive down the very center of a two lane street, refusing to allow anyone to pass, at a steady and ridiculous 15 miles per hour, they were out in all shapes and sizes this morning.

Of course, after having been a driver in the Chicagoland area for 17 years now, this behavior really shouldn’t shock, surprise or mystify me, and I suppose it doesn’t, but it sure does have a way of aggravating me.

You’ll have your drivers of 4x4’s who decide that the they shall not be deterred by inclement weather and wish to plow on at speeds that should be reserved for fairer weather. You can see them behind the wheel’s of their trucks, SUV’s and Jeeps, smug and inconvenienced by those mere mortals who dare drive the roads while getting power to only two wheels! They tend to be reckless and dangerous as they weave in and out of traffic, oblivious to the fact that increased traction does not equate to invulnerability. They pass, sneering, offended that Mother Nature and drivers of lesser vehicles have conspired against them to add precious minutes to their commute.

And of course, you’ll also have those drivers who fail to understand that over cautiousness is as reckless and dangerous as not being cautious enough. These people make two lane traffic into one lane traffic, they drive at speeds that infuriate the people behind them, refusing to yield or allow passage. They sanctimoniously drive, white knuckled and cursing at everyone else, because these people alone respect life enough to drive safely. Everyone else on the road is a fool.

The true fun, if you find comedy in tragedy, is when these people are introduced to one another on a snowy day when the roads are in bad shape. Like racers at the Indy 500, the over cautious hold their precarious leads from the hard coming challenge of those behind them. They expertly fend off parry after parry from their challengers, not allowing themselves to be passed to the chorus of horns and a barrage of middle fingers, poking out windows and waving in unison, like lighters during a power ballad.

Very few are they who reduce their speed to an appropriate pace, who temper their caution with a realization that they are not alone on the roads. Those who find the proper balance and drive in a manner that both respects the elements and those around them. In fact, sadly, I am the only one. Although, the guy who honked at me and flicked me off this morning may disagree, but then again, he was an instant idiot.

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