February 4, 2009

Angry Driver

Posted in *cringe*, The Angry at 12:32 pm by Dagny Taggart

I couldn’t think of something gripping to write about today.  Which is ironic, since I spent the morning train ride perusing a book on plot construction.

Prior to the train ride, I drove to the metro.  Which is unusual, since my commute usually involves cursing WMATA’s 16 bus line, which seems incapable of spacing buses, so that they all clump up and show up at the same time, and then not again for another half hour or so.  Today, I was spared that fate.

But today, I was reminded why I’d rather sit in the wintry chill and wait 20 minutes for a bus that should have come around minute 3 or 6.  Today, I was nearly in a head-on collision in a parking garage, with a woman in an SUV who was on a cell phone.

Some of you may have heard that I went to court over a reckless driving ticket a few months ago.  I got a great lawyer, miracles happened, and I’m in good shape (email me if you need his name, I’m happy to share).  The point is, I got a reckless driving ticket. 

This would never have happened in the Land of Milk and Honey.  Not just because those state troopers have better things to do than set up speed traps at toll plazas, but because I was a better driver, there.  I was a better driver in Williamsburg, VA.  I would say that at least fifty percent of the time I’m on the road here?  I get angry.

Angry because it shouldn’t take 40 minutes to go 2 miles (I’m looking at you, Tyson’s Corner).  Angry because people insist on leaving one and a half car lengths in front of them at intersections, thereby either not triggering a light change or making it impossible for people to get into a turn lane because traffic is backed up too far.  Common sense and courtesy seem to have completely abandoned the roads of the DC metro area.

And before you start in on Jersey drivers, I would point out that while yes, common courtesy isn’t exactly one of the state’s hallmarks, common sense more or less has to be.  Because New Jersey has more people per square mile.  And therefore more crazy people per square mile.  And more angry people per square mile.  And therefore, there is a tacit agreement amongst all the drivers who are NOT in these categories, to try not to do things that would piss off any of the people who ARE in these categories.

For now, I’m trying to give myself extra time, meditate, have happy music at the ready, and remind myself that sometimes people have bad days.

But that’s not going to help me the next time an SUV comes at me with its lights off and driver clearly engaged in a riveting conversation about how she can’t wait to see HJNTIY otherwise occupied , headed straight into my front bumper.

Then again, neither will giving her the finger.  Though that certainly made me feel better emotionally.



  1. I-66 said,

    Gahhhh!!! I thought I could escape from the ugly HJNTIY acronym here. Sigh.

  2. The last time I had both a job which required my appearance at a particular location and a car, I always left the latter at home. The few days I was forced to drive (after work commitments, or something else) it may have saved five minutes in commute time but when I arrived at the office I was not my normal calm, cheery, I-can-handle-anything-because-I-have-read-my-newspaper-and-had-my-Americano self. Driving in rush hour is bad for my health.

  3. freckledk said,

    Just reading this stressed me out. Curse words you can’t even imagine have escaped my mouth during my morning commute.

  4. Lisa said,

    Incredibly stressful and terrible and anger-provoking. I don’t drive a lot, but every time I do, it reminds me how fucking stupid most people are. I have all kinds of faith in humanity until I’m behind the wheel. People are idiots.

  5. vvk said,

    The DC metro area don’t have a critical mass of common-sense-I’m-not-going-to-put-up-with-‘it’-any-more drivers… and it has more stupid non-drivers on the road than other large cities I’ve driven in. Once you reach that critical mass, we can dictate the terms of the road to other drivers. Lacking the numbers, we have to put up with so much more shit.

    It is quite annoying some times. :-\

  6. Beach Bum said,

    I HATE drivers here! They have NO common sense and even forget the basics like looking to see if there’s any cars on their way before merging or u-turning, and putting on their left turn signal PRIOR to stopping at the intersection.

    When I go to NJ I feel free, and drive with no worries again.

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