Thursday, August 4, 2011

The New License to Kill

It’s one of the rites of passage to adulthood, right up there with graduating high school, securing your first job and getting laid.
Snagging a license to drive is a big deal because of what it means – mobility, freedom, a world beyond your own neighborhood.
I just wish the primary focus would be on learning to drive instead of getting the license.
Let’s face it, a kid wants to drive, to get from point A to point B without resorting to the Shoeleather Express. The actual rules, things like road etiquette, the do’s and don’ts and the right of way are just the buns they have to chew through to get to the hot dog.
So in typical Entitlement Generation fashion, the most recent additions to the driving world learn what they need to learn to get through the oral examination for their permits, forget immediately upon passing and then spend the remainder of their driving lives turning every road, street and thoroughfare they happen upon into Lucifer’s Playground.
Ever turn down a narrow street that allows parking on either side of the road? Do you then, seconds later, find yourself careening toward the fat lady in the muumuu standing at her mailbox because the sweet little darling in the car coming in the other direction decides it’s OK to pull around the parked car on her side of the street?
Welcome to Ignition ’11, where the rules of the road are either unknown, ignored or play second fiddle to the hot stuff on display on the cell phone/texting/internet device in their hand(s).
Now, inconsiderate, bad, ignorant (pick one) drivers are as old as Model-Ts. But the latest incarnation is equipped with modifications not previously available to the veteran brainless boobs behind the wheel.
Take the aforementioned, newfangled devices used to talk, text, spit, chew or decipher the Pythagorean Theorem while accessing the information superhighway.
Logically, the only superhighway anyone should be interested in when they’ve got a steering wheel in their hands is the one they’re driving on. But then, these are the Entitled Ones, so any call, text or buzzing noise that sounds like it might possibly be a communication from anyone takes precedence over anything that wanders, motors, walks, strolls or sashays into their self-determined path.
And if that means changing lanes indiscriminately in order to accept that communication, you better get out of their way because you should know better than to occupy their motoring space.
The same goes for such trivialities as red lights. These days one of my great joys is counting just how many cars get through after the signals changes to red. Sure, these wunderkinds of the road may be the third or fourth car from the front when the light turns. But, hey, they have somewhere to go and they’re running late and the rules of the road really don’t apply to them. Just don’t you dare stop at the red when they’re behind you. All manner of horn blowing, profanity-laced shouting and uni-digited finger gesturing are certain to follow.
My solution to the budget problem? Park a cop at any traffic light and have him/her write tickets to all of those who go through the red. We may be able to abolish taxes.
My all-time favorite auto-adventure, however, is the death-defying, two-lanes-becoming-one gambit. Folks, it just doesn’t get any more Indiana Jones than this.
There you are, driving along in the right lane when a self-explanatory sign appears: “Lane Ends, Merge Right.” There are no implications, nothing left to the imagination. Simply stated, if you’re in the left lane, it’s imperative you get into the one on the right. If someone is occupying that space, they have the right of way and you must yield, sliding over safely only when the opportunity presents itself.
I believe you know what really happens.
Entitled One in the left lane jams the accelerator into the floorboard faster than any Kardashian says “Yes” to an NBA forward and flies into the right lane with no regard for safety, right of way or potential fatalities.
You, the poor schmuck, following the proper procedure in the proper lane, have three options. Either 1) Continue on your path and wind up in the nearest ditch with a heavily damaged side panel and a possibly fractured vertebra, 2) Try and turn the situation into a Sprint Car event, beat him to the spot and wind up in the nearest ditch with a heavily damaged side panel and possibly fractured vertebrae, or 3) Yield to the jerk-off who, by the letter of the law, is supposed to be yielding to you.
The all-timer was the wet turd in the blue pickup that ran me off the road, then blew his horn and proclaimed himself No. 1 by means of his middle finger.
I guess he was attempting to demonstrate to me what happens to those who have the audacity to abide by the rules of the road.
I only wish I could have thanked this licensed driver for his concern.


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