Monday, June 2, 2014

Changing Lanes and Changing Minds

Changing lanes, sometimes, is like changing what check-out line you’re in at a store. If there is some sort of coupon drama or there is someone who can’t seem to remember the PIN of their debit card, or they’re really just dying to show the cashier photos of their grandchildren, yes, by all means, bail out and hope for the best. The same goes for changing lanes in traffic. If you can get around from someone doing fifteen miles under the speed limit or you can get away from someone whose exhaust makes them look like they’ve tangled with Tetsuzō Iwamoto then by all means, swing away.

But don’t weave in and out of traffic like you’ve about to pee in your pants and have some sort of sexually transmitted disease that causes urine to burn you harshly enough to make you scream aloud  curses at your parents for siring you. There are some compelling reasons not to do this, I mean, other than common sense. Common sense would tell you that one car length isn’t going to save you more than .0001 seconds even if you’re first in line for the traffic light, which you aren’t.

So what else? There is always that thing where you might actually cause a wreck. Cutting people off in traffic causes them to react to your stupidity with stupidity. The Dumano Effect, I call it, when everyone seems to lose their minds all together now. Then there is this thing where someone could call your tag in, and even if they didn’t get you right then, if you show up on the cops’ radar enough times, someone is going to start looking for you. Yeah, one of the benefits of living in a rural area is that everyone knows you and if you drive like you have your head permanently inserted up your colon so far you have to sneeze to fart, you will get some attention. You will not like it.

So this guy is weaving in and out of traffic today and when the light catches him I’m right behind him. When he cut me off I damn near had to lock the brakes up to keep from clipping him. This is on Gorto, where it intersects with Saint Augustine. There’s a left turn lane, a right turn lane, and a left turn/straight lane. Hot rod is trying to make a left, I think, at least that’s the lane he’s in.

So this really tall guy walks by my truck, on foot, while we’re waiting for the light to change and suddenly there’s another guy behind him and the guy in the back is carrying what looks like some sort of medieval weapon.  It’s got two chains and two blocky looking things connected together. Oh shit. They’re going to kill him. The first guy goes up and knocks on Hot Rod’s window and I can tell Hot Rod is freaked at someone messing with him. But seriously; the guy at the window looks six-seven and he looks pissed. I can hear him shouting at Hot Rod and really, the man looks like he put a fist through that window. Hot Rod isn’t making any moves to get rid of Tall Tim. Tall Tim is hoping for that, I think. The other guy is bent over, loading the medieval weapon and I’m thinking about being elsewhere. But traffic has me stuck. I stay put. The phone is in the gym bag. Damn, if shooting starts I get into the bag with the phone, okay? This is the part of human civilization I really hate; there’s about to be a shooting and I cannot get away from it. I’m willing to bet there are a dozen guns, loaded guns, in this line of cars behind Hot Rod. When that guy fires the trebuchet, which I spelled right the first time, please be impressed,  I feel like all hell is going to be broken loose.

The lights turn green and the confrontation ends. The two guys go back to their truck, three cars behind me and Hot Rod… doesn’t move. Traffic moves around us as people realize something is wrong, but Hot Rod stays put and the guys who were three cars behind me are now right behind me. I look back. They’re grinning. Really grinning. Tall Tim waves at me. I smile. I wave back.  I use all my fingers.

 Hot Rod gets out of his car and realizes it was not a medieval weapon. They’ve chained two chunks of wood to his back tire creating a block going forward and one backward. His car, for all its whipping in and out of traffic, can’t go over the blocks and if he did...they’re still chained to his tire. I have no idea how they’re affixed and I don’t care, but I do see a padlock.  I back up far enough to get around Hot Rod and away I go. The Two Dudes blow their horn and wave as they pass Hot Rod, who is getting out of his car and realizing he is screwed.

Out of his car, Hot Rod looks lost. He’s a smallish guy, really young, and he’s screwed. I look in the mirror as I go by and whatever they put on him isn’t moving. I slow down and get caught by the light. This is actually fun. Hot Rod can’t get the thing loose. Sure, the left lane is blocked but people seem to realize this and they’re beginning to accept his death as a part of the flow of traffic.

The light changes again and I’m on the road, with one less idiot out here with me.

Take Care,


  1. Dang! I do more googling (or is it googleing?) when I read your pieces!
    I wish there was something to be done like this for crotch-rocket lane zig zaggers and driving-between-vehicles motorcyclists. During my trip down south, I encountered multiple traffic jams and inevitably, there would be a motorcyclist driving BETWEEN the vehicles to advance in traffic or driving through traffic like dogs running through weave poles.

    1. What did you have to Google? And I agree, the people down here can't drive worth a damn!

    2. Iwamoto. I thought I knew who he was, but I needed to make sure.

    3. Odd things stick in the heads of writers. You will get used to it when it begins to happen to you, IF you ever write again.

    4. Yes, they do. So, besides being a writer, you're now working on your comedic chops?

  2. Tall Tim and short minion are playing a dangerous game unless they can catch a bullet in their teeth. Small young cornered and scared critters are dangerous.

    Kudos on trebuchet, better man than I.

    1. The Guns Everywhere would be enough to keep me seated, Bruce. That was what I thought would happen, really.