So, my 16 year old daughter just got her temporary driver’s license and she is over the moon with excitement. Why wouldn’t she be? When I was a kid, having the privilege of driving a car was a big deal. Even running errands for my parents was an excuse to get in the car, crank the music, roll the windows down and experience the exhilaration of commanding a hunk of metal down the road at a safe speed. It meant going out with friends on a Saturday night, driving anywhere in the city we wanted (making sure that the car was filled up with gas for my parents). It meant going on a date and not using public transportation to get there.
It meant freedom.
I used to absolutely love to drive. Didn’t matter what the reason was, but getting in the car, ideally on my own, was solitude; it was peaceful. When I was younger and didn’t have any obligations, I would often times head far out of the city and look for bi-ways and quieter roads that had a backdrop of the beautiful landscape. It was even better in the fall when the leaves were changing color.
These days, driving absolutely sucks. I don’t think the kind of car you own has anything to do with it. Luxury, exotic, functional or a sardine-tin – driving is not a pleasant experience for anyone. How can it be? Construction, congestion…it’s brutal! I leave my house in a good mood and arrive at work in a miserable mood. Its even worse leaving work to come home. Last December, there was an ice storm (didn’t turn out to be as bad as the media warned us it would be). What would normally take me 60-75 minutes to get home, took me three and a half hours! My ass was numb from sitting in the car for that long!
I am writing this on the heels of an exceptionally stressful drive to work (yes, I am doing something personal while on the clock at work – but I need to vent).
It started with road and sidewalk construction in my very own neighborhood. I wasn’t aware that our sidewalks were in need of replacing but the doorknobs at City Hall feel differently. It took me forever to get out my neighborhood – navigating traffic pylons, holes in the road, front-hoes, back-hoes, cement trucks, dump trucks…human beings!!
Then it was sheer volume of traffic (I even left earlier than I normally do) and drivers not paying attention to the flow of traffic. Then it was pedestrians in their own little worlds, faces buried in their smartphones while crossing the street. Pedestrians entering into a cross-walk with 4 seconds left on the timer (idiots), forcing drivers to have to wait and not kill them even though the light had changed, thereby holding up traffic.
Then it was trucks. God bless trucks. When I was a kid, truck drivers were known as the “gentlemen of the road”. They would let you into traffic, were courteous – “gentle-men”. Now they are assholes, driving aggressively, hogging the fast lane – but going slow.
Then it was drivers failing to use their turn indicators to change lanes or turn. Didn’t realize that turn indicators were optional.
Then it was morons who are trying to enter the flow of traffic, see me coming, see that there is absolutely no one behind me, but decide that they have to get in front of me anyway (these guys really piss me off).
I sometimes think, on days like today, that there might be a full moon and people’s behaviour changes on days when there is a full moon. I don’t know why. Someone told me this urban myth many years ago. While it might not be true, I do believe that there are some days when people, in general, act really weird. Its noticeable. Today was one of those days.
I hope the drive home is better.