For so many years, I routinely skipped the driving threads in the Pit. “Why would I want to spend all that time visualizing how the cars are moving from sketchy descriptions? And then read about how someone is so angry despite the offense being fairly minor?”
But about a month ago I got my driver’s licence.
And now I understand.
I’m routinely baffled by how driving makes humans act in a completely inappropriate manner. I never noticed so many assholes until I started driving! Now they’re everywhere - bikers, drivers, even pedestrians. What is it about the roads that turns what I assume must be nice people (as I don’t notice that many assholes, you know, on the bus or in restaurants or whatever) into raging, malevolant, inconsiderate, self-centred pricks?
I will use my drive to and from a cafe tonight as an example. The drive is not more than 10 minutes each way. On the way there, I was driving up a street, trying to turn, when the light turned. I was already in a no-stopping zone (placed there because buses need to turn), and because I HATE people who stop there and impede buses, I looked behind me, saw that no cars were coming, and reversed for about two metres. Lo and behold, a pedestrian pops out on the other side of the car and yells at me while making rude motions. Yes, he was crossing BEHIND me, and must have begun at some point after I began reversing (as I checked my mirror first) and still, I was the bad guy for threatening him by going roughly 3 inches per second.
On my way back, I was driving along a road whose speed limit is 50 km/h, which has three lanes - a parking lane, a driving lane, and a bike lane, which is demarkated by upright poles at, say, 5 metre intervals. It’s pretty narrow between the cars and the poles, there are bikers and pedestrians around on a fairly regular basis, and it was pretty dark, so I wasn’t going much above 40 km/h. And I’m also anal about actually stopping at stop signs (see above re: getting my licence recently). The guy behind me clearly thought I was impeding his very important movement, but I figured I was going as fast as was safe. His solution? At a stop sign where there were no poles dividing the bike lane from the driving lane, he passed me! In a fucking bike lane at an intersection! And then roared off into the night. A second guy tried the same trick immediately after him, and upon being unsuccessful due to the fact that I was not parked, but stopping at a stop sign, proceeded to make exasperated hand motions.
Someone must explain this to me, for the world of driving is new and scary. It seems to be some kind of Dr. Jekyll/Mr. Hyde phenomenon with the concrete emitting asshole rays. I make mistakes, everybody does. But why does everyone need to be so angry about it?