Monday, September 1, 2008

The Not-So-Fast and the Furious

There I was at the end of a long workday; sitting in my Toyota Rav4, crawling five miles per hour in that bottleneck stretch of freeway voted the sixth worst commute in the Bay Area, the infamous Highway 92 eastbound. But bad as it is, accidents are rare because traffic moves so slowly, there is usually plenty of time to react and prevent a fender bender.

Unless, that is, you happen to be the woman who was too busy yapping on her cell phone to notice that traffic had come to a dead halt; subsequently, she tapped the back fender of the car in front of her. Not hard, mind you. But enough to trigger her air bag,which exploded in her surprised face and imbedded her cell phone as a permanent earpiece.

I confess, it made me snort. Oh c’mon, who doesn’t like to see an inattentive driver get their comeuppance?

And that was me, trying to be attentive when I noticed a black Ford SUV to my right, slightly ahead, sloooowly drifting into my lane. Maybe I was in the driver’s blind spot. Maybe the driver hadn’t looked over his shoulder, maybe he hadn’t notice there wasn’t space to squeeze his behemoth vehicle into or hey, maybe he had just been discharged from a nearby clinic and was still under heavy sedation from his ice pick lobotomy.

Whatever. Said driver was about to clip the right corner of my car. Even if I braked, he would still hit me because honestly, there was NO room.

So I gave a few frantic taps on my horn. Not a loud, rude, “YouAreSuchAnIdiot” foghorn kind of blast, but a “Hey hey hey, you’re about to cause us both a pain in the neck” type of warning. Said driver heeded the horn and moved back into his lane.

Crisis averted. Or so I thought.

Because just seconds later I pulled up alongside the driver, prepared to give a little "no hard feelings" wave, and was greeted with an unexpected sight: a sweet-looking, professionally-dressed young woman, sticking her head out the window and shooting bullets with her eyes while flipping me the bird with both hands. My passenger window was rolled up so I was spared her screaming words. However, if my lip-reading skills are as good as I think they are, I’m pretty sure she wasn’t wishing me “luck.”

What the hey? She performed a careless maneuver, she almost hit me and I’m the bad guy here? And I was reminded of
an article I read that mourned the death of driver’s training as part of the high school curriculum. Most schools discontinued the program in the mid-eighties due to budget cutbacks. As a result, drivers are now getting their version of driver’s ed through games like Grand Theft Auto and movies like The Fast and the Furious. Sure, they're learning the logistics of operating a car, but is anyone teaching the importance of simple courtesies, like turn signals, hand waves, and the zipper method for merging? 900-pound vehicals are being propelled by hot-headed Road Warriors and it’s every man for himself.

And, so it seems, every woman. Even sweet-looking, professional ones.

1 comment:

Gabrielle said...

Gosh Eileen, you leave me breathless! No wonder I haven't heard from you!! Yes, I am yet another person you are supposed to be seeing, but I do feel your pain -- sometimes there are just too many demands and too little time -- actually, that is the case almost all of the time so we need to prioritize!!

So sorry to hear about your mother's fall but at least there are no broken bones. That reminds me of the time when I was very little and my brother & I were taking our German Shepherd for a walk in the park (in Germany). I was holding the leash, the dog spotted a cat and away we went. Next thing I could remember was that my dog and I were alone, wandering through the park, lost. Luckily, this was before the predator age when young children weren't immediately at risk but could rely on adults to protect them (such a long time ago). Anyhoo, a policeman picked me up, put me on his shoulders, brought me to the station, fed me an ice cream cone and eventually I met up with my brother and mother. We were never permitted to walk in the park by ourselves again but that didn't prevent us from getting into other mischief -- but that is another story.

But, back to things to do on your priority list, now would be a really good time to schedule an appointment to see me since your financial health really should be high on that list, alongside your personal health-- just remember, your can even bring Elvis!

Gabrielle Comfoltey

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