Monday, October 19, 2009

Didn`t we learn about staying in the lines in kindergarten?

posted Sat, 16 Oct 2004

There are a few crimes for which I think a citizen ought to be able to be judge, jury and executioner and no one should question her.

One of these crimes is driving on the shoulder to get around a traffic jam and then expecting the drivers who have been waiting their turn IN THE LANE to let them back in.

Who ARE these people? I never let them in and do not understand those people who do. If you deliberately get onto the shoulder, you know you are leaving the road. You know you are going to try to cut line. Why should anyone accommodate that?

A subset of this group is those people who wait until the last second to merge when there is construction and there are signs for miles ahead warning that the left lane will be closed. Being a Midwesterner by birth, I get out of the left lane as soon as I see the first sign. I don’t want to be trapped in a lane that no longer exists.

I used to think that was just a personal trait. But I was driving through Indiana one summer and discovered that every single car with Midwestern state plates moved into the open lane at the first announcement. The only cars that stayed in the closing lane were from – well, I don’t want to shame anyone from one of those states.

When I was getting my car inspected in Miami once, a process that the state uses to test to see if you really, really want to drive in Florida – how much are you willing to suffer? -- a man drove around all three lanes of waiting cars. We had all been in line for over an hour since the station had opened at 7:00 a.m. – and this car up front LET HIM IN!

I could not believe it. I was enraged. I started honking my horn and doing the Latin America “no way, no how” finger wave. You know, where you wave your index finger back and forth in a vertical plane parallel to your body? My protest had no effect, but when a second man tried the same trick, enough of my compadres were emboldened – or frightened of the gringa’s rage – that no one let him in.

I understand the temptation to cut line. What I do not understand is the enabling of it. By total strangers. Who have nothing to gain and who, in fact, lose. Perhaps there is a dissertation in this for someone.

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