Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Road Rage

High-Res Stock Photography: ANGRY MAN YELLING FROM VOLKSWAGEN BEETLE
photo credit
For the past eleven and a half years I've been trying to rehabilitate my husband's approach to driving. It's the strangest Jekyll and Hyde phenomenon. He is completely gentle and easy going in real life, but in a car he morphs into this impatient, overly aggressive maniac. I believe Jeremy feels justified in his driving since a) he grew up in the D.C. area where evidently everyone drives like they are on their way to save a small child from a burning building and b) he comes from a long line of maniac drivers and "it was the way he was raised." (Side note: my in-laws are not permitted to take issue with this last comment since every single one of you knows this to be true).

When Jeremy is driving like a wild man my passenger seat commentary usually goes something like this: "While it is so special that you were raised to try to run down every other car on the road like this is Death Race 2000, I would prefer that we didn't kill our entire family on the way to church." Road rage is one of those mine field topics in which we have agreed to disagree, although I sometimes find it humorous that after a decade of marriage all our biggest arguments still happen in the car. And I'm not just giving Jeremy a hard time. In the last few months I've seen multiple examples of the way normal human beings transform into the absolute worst version of themselves because of road rage. I saw an old man shake his fist and scream obscenities at someone who had paused for eight seconds to mail a letter. It was clear the person didn't realize they were blocking the old man's car. A few days later I was sitting in line at a drive-thru when a car tried to pull into the middle of the line and cut off the other eight cars waiting in line behind. That altercation almost ended in a fist fight.

I'm not saying that everyone need embrace a Prozac approach to driving. And when we're in a hurry I can even appreciate my husband's ability to drive us where we need to go really, really fast. But I strongly feel that way too many people are wasting their energy on grievances that just aren't a big deal. Let's gnash our teeth about the injustice of pedophilia or world hunger. Let's get up in arms about terrorism and shake our fists about dishonest politicians. But people forgetting to use a turn signal? A woman trying to hurry and mail a letter and accidentally blocking an old man's car? Someone who is lost in thought and monopolizes the passing lane? Come on folks? Chill out. Take a deep breath. And salvage your dignity by finding a better way to channel that righteous indignation!


3 comments:

  1. Mom's road rage diminished significantly when we stopped listening to Rage Against the Machine in the car. And she hit 46. So...one or the other

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    Replies
    1. I have fond childhood memories of riding in your mom's car rocking out!

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  2. I remember riding in the car with Jeremy's dad in DC. 'Nuff said.

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