Thursday, March 3, 2011

Get the %*#@ out of my way...but have a nice day!

One of the reasons I don't live in New York anymore (please don't think I based my decision solely on this, though) is that I love driving. Love. It. Get me behind the wheel of a car at any time and I will promptly find a sunset to drive into, singing "Life is a Highway" with the windows down.

Sure, public transportation is awesome. It's great for the environment, prevents even more horrific traffic jams and you get to play "spot the crazy mofo" - a crowd favorite. But I'll be honest, when it comes to getting from Point A to Point B, I like my alone time. I can eat a burrito. I don't have to worry about sucking in. And, now this is important for someone musically challenged, I can have the rare opportunity to sing as loud as I want, to whatever music (Rhianna anyone? Sure! Who's there to judge?), until I'm hoarse - or I reach Chanhassen, whichever comes first.

Driving is fantastic. I prefer to use my three speeding tickets to illustrate one thing and one thing only - these ticket statistics prove that I'm in my car that much more than the average person. Not that I drive too fast and/or I'm unaware of my surroundings...such as posted speed way, get outta here.

But being the driving lover I am...there is something deep inside that is unleashed at particular moments on the road. This alter-ego was kept in the confines of my darkest depths until I turned 16 and was handed the keys to my grandpa's old Cadillac deVille. This disturbing maniac transcends the simple and common "road rage" - no, there's more to this lil' demon.

Did you just cut me off? Maybe you're swerving in two lanes, obviously drunk/texting or just really indecisive. Perhaps you never learned how to merge appropriately. More often than not, you incorrectly thought it would be acceptable to go 50 mph on the highway.

WRONG. Enter my scary and very unladylike car devil. I'm cursing like a sailor, threatening you under my breath, wrenching my little Scion out of your way and leaving you in my dust. I will say things about you, a stranger, that I would never say about my worst enemy.
I will find things to say, to myself, about your car, your bumper stickers and your head shape poking over the seat. I come just short of spewing pea soup.

But wait. I'm still a Minnesotan, right? Of course I am. So, the most this offender will ever see is a very calculated, very well-practiced, eye-locking death stare. I've been told it's quite terrifying. I do my best. You will also receive this look if you don't do the Minnesotan thing and wave back when I let you in. Because, come on, that's just polite.

Where does this rage come from? It's certainly not appropriate and not something I'm proud of. As soon as the passenger air bag is switched on, the demon is switched off. No one has heard this first-hand. I really do wish all of my fellow drivers well.

Is it repressed hardcore anger that is typically forced to emerge only in culturally appropriate ways, like passive aggression and backhanded compliments? Maybe. The manifestation of the thrill of feeling the steering wheel in my hands and the speedometer creep to 60? Dunno. But I'm afraid of it. And I sort of think others should be, too. Because if I can't control it, my Scion certainly can't contain it for long (I think my car weighs less than I do).

Maybe the solution is a trusty bike. Although, if such a similar alter-ego presents itself atop a Schwinn, passersby can play "spot the crazy mofo" with even more ease and accuracy. It will always be me.

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