Thursday, April 19, 2007

Driving Me up the Bloody Pole

After driving Crabtot to daycare today, someone almost went into me by cutting in front of me at the 4-way stop. And then, don’t you love it when there is no reaction, no mouthed “sorry” or hands up in apology. As we say in South Africa, that really sends me up the pole, man.

And what I really love is the classic ECA – Eye-Contact Avoidance – when you then pull up next to them at the traffic light. There you are, side by side, bad driver totally ignoring you, staring straight ahead, as though something very interesting has landed on the windshield that bears intense scrutiny. This sort of thing happens quite a bit out here. I adore it when ginormous diesel-truck-wankers cut me off and practically mash me below their towering, roof-like bumpers, only to behave as if nothing has passed between us when we arrive shoulder to shoulder at a light. Crabmommy no like.

What does it take for people in cars to admit when a mistake is made? Me, I do this mega mea culpa if I accidentally run a red or get too far out into the road at a stop sign. I practically crucify myself over the steering wheel in my bid to show that I KNOW I AM WRONG AND IT IS MY FAULT. If the person looks peppery or my mistake was grotesquely dangerous, I amp up the mime tenfold and enact all manner of deferential poses and cringes in penance. Witness the change in someone’s sour, ticked-off expression if you admit that you know you just made a stupid driving move. And when you do, the offended party will likely nod and crack a feeble smile of acceptance and a frisson of goodwill will float between your cars on this road of life that we share.

A frisson of goodwill. So much better than that brush-off at the stop – where you see me, I see you, and we all know that you just pulled in front of me when you shouldn’t have and by God you'd rather eat a vat of maggots than say you did. But you know you did. And you know I know. And now here we are engaged in coordinated hate-vibery. Super!!! You are a super person!!!! Have a super day!

3 comments:

MommyKnows said...

Haahaa ... I have to admit, I have done the avaoidance thing before. I know I do it because I am afraid to look! If they give me the finger or something, I won't be sorry anymore ... just mad.

What drives me up the bloody pole it when the person in the wrong gets angry. Yesterday, I am driving home ... I have my signal light on, and I put it on early because the car behind me was following really close. I start to break, to make the turn and she nearly runs into us. She slams on the breaks and swerves (oh yeah, she is ON THE BLEEDIN" BLOODY PHONE). She came sooooo close to rear-ending us. Then get this ... she flips me the bird.

Of all the bloody CHEEK!

This is when I lapse into Trucker Lingo 101. Sorry kids :(

Crabmommy said...

Mommyknows, as always you raise a good point: maybe the big diesel cowboy truckers are AFRAID to look at the Crabmommy at the stop light! And indeed the ABSOLUTE worst is when the person in the wrong becomes enraged. Sometimes I really miss the subway of my old NYC life...

Inky Ink Inc. said...

What sends Mr. Ink up the bloody pole is not so much the honestly stupid traffic moves, but rather those of the 'I know there are these rules, but of course they don't actually apply to ME' variety. It seems to me that this scofflaw noblese oblige is frequently exercised by drivers of the 'luxury' variety of vehicle, suggesting the notion that the cut-off point for observation of traffic laws is appoximately $50,000. For the drivers of Mercedes, BMWs, Range Rovers and other such noble breeds bothersome regulations become strictly optional. Suggested—perhaps even recommended—but never mandatory. Eye contact? Forget it! You're driving a TOYOTA!!