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The Column

Drive Unto Others
10/17/04

The next time someone cuts me off without a turn signal, I will punch them so hard their neck snaps back like a Pez dispenser.

I have only been driving for a few months, but I have already put 6,000 miles on my car. And in those miles, I have learned why there are some people who want to blow up the world.

I have a fairly Zen approach to driving. I believe in driving karma (car-ma! Badum!), where people who drive poorly will get what's coming to them. Sometimes, I even believe I'm the one who should give it to them. For instance, I cut off empty cabs whenever I can. But I don't cut them off without a turn signal. That's just wrong.

I do not have, and don't think I will ever get, road rage. I become annoyed, I talk to myself, I even scream aloud sometimes. But it's all in good fun. The only thing that came close to giving me actual road rage was when someone nailed my car from behind. But the insurance company gave me full price for the car and I can still drive it, so really that gave me road exuberance. No, not THAT kind of road exuberance. That'd be dangerous.

And though I do not get road rage, I'm writing this column in an effort to be less road-annoyed. Perhaps people will read it and say, "he's right! I should stop driving like a decapitated monkey!" I don't know exactly what a decapitated monkey drives like, but I think I was stuck behind one on I-95.

Certain practices, I can understand. If you don't let us merge, well, we've all been late for something. If you demand merging, well, someone didn't let us merge once, so we understand. But if you cut me off without your turn signal, prepare to be Pezzed.

That's the worst thing you can do because you're risking killing both of us. If you put your signal on, at least I'll know you're a jackass ahead of time and thus be warned when you decide to take my lane while going slower than I am. If you do so without a signal, I'll have to jam on the breaks as hard as I can, risking death and sending my fries everywhere. And my fries don't belong everywhere. (I am still finding some from the last time).

The second worst thing you can do is to drive ahead of me in the fast lane going 10 under the speed limit. I am SHOCKED at how often this happens. Why would anyone drive that far under the speed limit? And why in the fast lane? And why while a truck is next to them in the slow lane, blocking me from passing them? All these questions and more are answered in Time Life's "Mysteries of the Unknown Pez Dispenser Heads," which is yours for just three easy payments of GET OUT OF MY WAY I HAVE THINGS TO DO!!!!

When I first started driving, my father told me that it wasn't me he worried about, rather it was the other drivers. And he's right. Other drivers are terrible. I failed my road test roughly 37 times, and I am a better driver than a lot of the people I'm driving next to. Or behind. MOVE ALREADY!!!!

Sometimes a car lets me merge or moves to the right when they see me coming or puts their turn signal on, even in a (gasp) turning lane. Once, there was even a driver who, seeing I was trying to move over to the cash toll lane, stopped to block the guy behind him so I could slow down and cut in front of him. Now that's a courteous guy. Of course, the car he was in front of probably wanted to Pez him.

Dave Barry wrote that everyone thinks they're an above average driver. That is mostly true. I think I will be an above average driver once I finish making rookie mistakes. But I know I am trying, which is more than I can say for the black Sentra THAT IS TAKING FOREVER TO GET OUT OF MY WAY!!!!

Want some Pez?

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