I Hate The Whole F*@#!n& World

Any of you who know me, know that I’m hardly what you would call a man of explosive temperament. Quite the opposite, in fact: I’m kind of hard to piss off.

If you had been in the car with me on the way home from work this evening, however, you would have seen a different side of me altogether. I was the Incredible Hulk. I was Mr. Hyde. I was the evil Jim Carrey from Me, Myself and Irene. Not that I saw that movie, but I can tell from the poster that there was an evil one. If you had been sitting next to me, you would have been in serious danger of me puncturing your skull with MIND BULLETS! (that’s telekinesis, Kyle.)

Nothing causes my reactor to melt down quite like being stuck in traffic, especially traffic that’s obviously been caused by an accident. I ended up taking forty minutes to go two and a half miles, all thanks to some dumb careless bastard whose vehicular wreckage I did not even get the small satisfaction of seeing. There is nothing more stressful to me than that feeling of:

  • Being kind of low on gas, but not that low, and all of the sudden having to worry about running out because it’s taking you over twice as long to get home and you’re stuck between freeway exits.
  • Smelling that awful smell of burning rubber? plastic? oil? coolant? and having to wonder whether it’s your car or the car of the poor sonofabitch in front of you.
  • Seeing police cars stuck on the shoulder 200 yards behind you, unable to get to the accident because of all the assholes who are already on the shoulder, trying to sneak by the traffic jam.
  • Hearing horns honk behind you, as if you’re the reason traffic is stopped for the next two miles solid. This one made me wish I had a nice cordless drill handy, so that I could get out of my car, walk over to the honk artist, and start drilling holes in his driver’s side door. And maybe his left leg.

So there I sat, barely moving, in the pouring rain, windows all fogged up because I turned off the A/C to conserve gas, thankful that I don’t have access to any nuclear missile launch codes, because in my rage I could have seen myself launching an unprovoked first strike against, oh, Honduras. (Why Honduras? I don’t know. Just be glad I don’t know the coordinates of *your * house.)

And I found myself reflecting that there is no situation that sums up the futility, frustration, impotence and general angst of the modern world more than being stuck in traffic. I’m serious. 6000 years of human civilization, of putting our collective genius into the pursuit of biggerfastercheapermoreefficient, for what? It took the human race 5000 years to progress from the wheel to the automobile, yet only 50 years to progress from the automobile to the spaceship, for what? So that a thousand people can have their whole fucking evenings derailed by one popped tire. I sat there, thinking of the cost: I saw two police cruisers and an ambulance, with the accompanying salaries and equipment and all the other overhead. I thought of all the wasted time for me and the other people in the traffic jam. How many of them were going to be late for work? How many late getting home? How many cars were going to overheat or run out of gas? All from one dumb collision.

When you think of it that way, driving negligently or recklessly (or intoxicated) is an extremely antisocial act, with potential consquences beyond even the risk of directly causing death, injury or property damage. Granted, given the rain and all the other factors, this may have been an “unavoidable collision,” but in my experience, “unavoidable” collisions happen more often to worse drivers.

Shameful as it is to admit, I found myself thinking *aarrrggh, I hope you died * about the person or people who caused the accident. As I zipped by the accident site in the clearing traffic, I amended that to I hope you lived, and they wrote you a huge ass ticket. Motherfucker.

Were you aiming this at the Pit, but missed in your righteous fury?

Still an entertaining rant. I give it a 7 rating.

In 2004, when it appeared that Hurricane Ivan was heading straight for New Orleans, we took to the roads to evacuate, along with about a million and a half other people. Hearing about the clusterfuck that was the interstate, we opted to take U.S. 90 instead, which was conveniently located near our house in any case.

One small problem: In a small town about 75 miles down the road, one single cop decided to “control” the flow of traffic. Which basically meant stopping it as often as possible for no apparent reason.

It took us over 17 hours to get from New Orleans to Lafayette. That’s a distance of 123 miles. It took nine hours to go the first eight miles, and we were trapped on the only elevated stretch of road with no way to get off. We spent, on at least two occasions that night, a solid hour parked without moving so much as an inch. And at one point, even though traffic was moving in a slow stop-and-go pattern, I put my car in park, got out, walked my dogs, and got back in; traffic had moved about 50 feet in that whole time.

On the radio station where people were calling in to give reports of their traffic problems, I heard multiple threats against that cop that were more heartfelt than any I have ever heard before or since. And in the privacy of my car, I was adding to them.

So I feel your pain. Oh yes, do I feel your pain. I could have walked out of New Orleans as fast as I drove that night.** The more we invent ways to do things faster/better/smoother/etc., the more new ways to drive us crazy arrive along with the new inventions.

**(The only good part was that as a result of that mess, they changed the traffic patterns the following year, so during the Katrina evacuation things were, if you can believe it, much improved, by all accounts.)

Those are very sticky words you speak, OneCentStamp.

Someday, maybe on the one day you feel like everything has gone wrong and even though you are normally a very careful and responsible driver (much the same way as you are normally “kind of hard to piss off”), you forget to check your mirrors when changing lanes and the semi-truck that was there smears your guts all over the pavement, somebody else will be saying the same thing. (maybe someone in traffic, or maybe the person who has to clean them up and put them in plastic bags)

Not to be grim or anything. Just saying you may want to consider hedging your judgement.

Holy crap, get some audio books and calm the hell down! Or some Valium. Something. When you find yourself wishing people in an accident dead because you had to sit for a few extra minutes, you’re seriously off kilter. Get help- you’re a scary, scary person whether you think so or not.

I hate the whole world, too. I sorta wish I didn’t, because it’s not a good feeling, but I can’t seem to help myself. The older I get, the less patience I have with humanity and its rampant idiocy.

It’s hard watching George Carlin these days-- his bitter acidic rants against stupid, apathetic people sound like they were written by me. I have this bitchy internal monologue (though I’m always careful to remain outwardly polite). To wit:

So, yeah, I know where the OP is coming from.

You’re not a very careful and responsible driver, at all, if the one time you forget to check your mirrors, that you your guts end up all over the pavement. An accident is not an accident if it was avoidable.

I don’t honestly think the OP really wished death on the person, and if he did, he did say he was ashamed of it. I think everyone, at one point or another, wished everyone else was dead so traffic wouldn’t be bad.

Or that could just be me 'cuz I’m screwed up. Whichever.

<Jack Black>From now on, we will travel in Tubes!
Get the scientists working on the tube technology immediately

tuuube tech-nol-o-gy!

So, if we get angry and vent, we should be drugged? :confused: You’ve never flown off the handle about that proverbial last straw? Your life is nothing but serenity and audio books? I’m impressed.

As for the OP, love the rant. It reminds me of the first trek I made on I95 South on the Sunday after Thanksgiving. (Yeah, I know - good planning on my part…) There were three, count 'em, three separate times we sat on the interstate. No one moving, no evidence of movement as far ahead as we could see. Yet once we got moving, there was also no evidence of any accident or a tree across a travel lane or a cute widdle puppy wif big sad eyes in the median… Three separate times! My usually 12-hour trip took 17 hours that day. With a middle-schooler in the car. Oh yes, I know whereof you speak.

Although I do have to ask - how is it you know the coordinates for Honduras off the top of your head? Most people couldn’t tell you which continent it’s on… :smiley:

Once got stuck in traffic because a motorcycle got munched in a tunnel. No one going forward, no way to turn around, no back roads to get off on. Just 200 of us sitting looking at eachother’s license plates, patiently waiting in the afternoon sun. After about 10 minutes, when it was clear we were going to be there a while, a kid from further up the line came by selling fundraiser food coupons for his school. Lemons=lemonaid. I love Hawaii.

When I used to work in Manhattan a person would occasionally commit suicide by jumping in front of a subway train. This stopped all the trains on that line for about an hour and a half until the transit workers could pick up all the pieces and bring them in to us (see: How much does a human head weigh).

The subway people tried to keep the reason for the stoppage quiet, since the less publicized, the fewer copycats. If any word leaked out, there was invariably a huge rant about how someone could be so inconsiderate…

Jump off a fricking building, moron, but don’t stop the subways when you wanna die!

I really think, in NYC, there is no greater sin than holding up traffic.

OMG! Whenever I see a horrific accident on the freeway I say a little prayer in my head hoping that those involved were not hurt or killed.


I have heard that in Japan when somebody kills themselves by throwing themselves in front of a train, if trains are delayed then you get a note to show your boss. Also your family gets a huge fine.

OK, thanks to those who’ve read and commented.

To those who commented to the effect that I’m bloodthirsty or off-kilter, I can see how you might have come to that conclusion: by skipping or failing to comprehend the last three paragraphs. If you had read them, you would see from the third to last paragraph that the rant isn’t really about bad drivers at all, hence the thread title. And from the last paragraph you would see that I did, in fact, repent of my bloodthirsty wish.

I think you’re right on the money here. The traffic jam is like the vitiation of everything we strive for and believe in.

But what gets me is that there is a technological solution, using today’s technology. If planes can fly on autopilot, why can’t cars drive this way? Vast computers networks could direct cars to the best and most efficient route and keep them from smashing into each other. It would just the require spending of billions of dollars that are unfortunately committed elsewhere. But imagine – no more traffic fatalities, no more traffic jams, no more drunk driving, no more searching for a parking spot, no more getting lost. Wouldn’t it be worth it?

No more pleasure driving, for those times (a majority, I think) when you’re not in traffic, and don’t forget, having all of your movements possibly logged.

I don’t think we’re ready to have that; the fatalities might be reason, but for most they’re a rarity, something that (duh!) happens to someone else.

Is that the wind I hear?

(Parental, that was kind of the point, in light of the OP)

Wow, seems like somebody needs a hug. Maybe a lotta’ somebodies.

I wanna’ invite **Lissa ** to my Thursday night poker parties. I figure anybody who can swear like that has to be a ton o’fun at Texas hold 'em. If you can guzzle cheap beer and belch in four-part harmony, girlfriend, you’re invited!

I don’t drink beer, and I don’t belch. I’m perfectly ladylike on the outside even while I’m swearing like a sailor in my head. (My husband works in a prison, so that’s how I learned to swear so inventively. I certainly don’t swear like that in company.)

Actually, I apologize for my former post. I forgot this wasn’t in the Pit.