I got stuck in traffic the other day. Sitting there at a complete standstill, and at a loss for anything better to do, I started counting carpool lane cheater. At one point six singly-occupied vehicles in a row zoomed past me.
Apparently they’ve just given up on HOV lane enforcement. I don’t really blame them, considering the number of violators. And, in a way, it’s kind of nice that all the aggressive drivers self-select themselves out of traffic and into the HOV lane. But, still, the Department of Transportation ought to do something.
That’s why I propose they simply rename the HOV lane the “Asshole Lane.” That more accurately describes its contents now anyway. Furthermore, drivers should have to apply a bumper sticker reading “I AM AN ASSHOLE” to their SUVs to indicate that they are an authorized user of the lane.
It will be nice to have all the assholes clearly labelled. And hey: if we can get them all into a single lane, those of us in regular traffic will only have to contend with, like, a dozen cars on our morning commute.
Speaking of which …
Last week on the freeway I got stuck behind one of the few idiots not in the asshole lane. Indeed, he was in the far right lane, and since I intended to take the next exit I had no choice but to follow him. The guy was in a pickup, travelling about 15 miles per hour under the speed limit, and completely preoccupied with something other than driving. He kept leaning way over to the right, so far down that I couldn’t even see his head anymore, as if he were reading fine print off of a clipboard lying on the seat next to him, or giving a blowjob to his imaginary passenger. During these periods he would drift wildly, and when he occasionally popped his head back up he would abruptly wrestle the vehicle back into his lane before disappearing again.
As we reached the off-ramp he again began to drift rightward, well out his lane. In fact, he was heading straight for the median between the freeway and the exit. In my mind’s eye I could see him slamming into the barrier at his oh-so-pokey 40 MPH and I was thrilled at the image.
Then I snapped out of my reverie and reached for my horn to warn him, just as his head popped up and he frantically jerked the truck to the left, missing the median by a couple of feet.
But, still: totally wishing death on some guy because he’d added forty seconds to my commute.
Dude, what’s up with that? And I know that’s not the first time I’ve felt The Evil creeping up on me in the middle of rush hour.
What is it about traffic turns us into rageaholic bastards? Or does it just trick us into revealing our true selves? Suzanne Necker once said “fortune does not change men; it unmasks them.” Maybe the same is true of Interstate 90.