4 hours ago
Thursday, September 3, 2009
At my old job, I had a wonderful fifteen to twenty minute drive to and from the office every day. I left my house, drove down the street, turned and drove the rest of the way down that one road. It was a road that went past lots of pastures, farms, corn, cows, horses, sheep, goats....you get the picture. Every day I saw the same houses, same herds of cattle, same little ponies growing up into horses. It was awesome and I did it for nine years.
But now I have a new job. I've been there for a little over seven months and the drive is killing me. On a good day it takes about half an hour. On a bad day....well, I think it once took me an hour and a half to get to work. I'm driving the southern Idaho version of the L.A. freeways. Okay, I admit it's only one freeway and a connector. But still, we have traffic jams, accidents, motorcycle cops and all the same things that make big city freeways suck. Now add to this the fact that our freeway has had construction going on for I don't know how many months now. Not a good combination.
I am normally a pretty passive driver, if I am in a nice passive environment like my sweet little road into my old work. (Worst I had to deal with was a farmer on a slow tractor or someone slid off the road in the snow.) But put me in this bumper to bumper defensive driving nightmare and I don't do so well. Today was just one example of the daily incidents I have to endure...
I had just gotten off the connector onto the regular freeway and got into the fast lane to get past the slow merging folks. I was going along at a good clip. Not speeding, mind you, just a healthy 70 in a 65--nothing to sniff at. I was at least going faster than the lane next to me, which is the whole idea of the fast lane. Soon I saw a fast approaching car zoom up behind me and start riding my bumper. Since I was already going faster than the lane next to me and was not only doing the speed limit, but going over it, I decided to stay put. Immediately the woman driving starting flailing her arms around, smacking her palm on the steering wheel and throwing her hands up in the universal gesture for "what the heck?" Although my lip reading isn't it's best, I'm pretty sure "heck" doesn't start with an F.
This continued on for a little bit, with her continuing to ride my bumper, all the while flailing about like she was about to take off into flight. At her first opportunity she darted out from behind me into the lane to our right and started maneuvering around like an Indy 500 driver jockeying for position. I continued on in my lane while watching her jump from lane to lane, gaining a few precious car lengths ahead of me but never making it back to the fast lane. This was about the time the lane she was in slowed down considerably because of the construction-induced merging further up the freeway. Since I drive this route at least five days out of every week, I knew this would be happening, hence the reason I stayed in my fast lane.
Now as I said before, I am a pretty passive driver. I try not to give in to road rage or the silly games that people play on the road to piss other drivers off. So I handled the situation with grace and class......okay.....maybe not. But I did feel a deep satisfaction down in my gut as I grinned from ear to ear and gave her a happy wave as I sailed right past her crawling car in the other lane.