Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Road rage

Whoever keeps score of these things says that Miami is the epicenter of road rage in this country. That is two years in a row with the title. This is nonsense. Miami is full of more drug deals going bad than any town in the world. The fact that its citizens are reporting car to car gun battles as road rage ,instead of open gang warfare, actually makes Miami seem a safer city than it really is. That is why the Miami Chamber of Commerece does not get upset at the road rage award. They know that the news could be a lot worse.

I used to get a lot of road rage. Mostly when I lived in Houston and was a major league driver. I spent a lot of time time on Highway 59 screaming at people who cut me off, or drove too slowly, or looked at me the wrong way. When you are young, you are impatient.You could cut deeply into road rage by not allowing anyone who lives in a city with more than a million people to drive until they are 35. I don't get mad here in Austin. Who cares ? If you don't care what time you get somewhere, and you don't see every traffic incident as a direct challange to your manhood, there is no reason for road rage.I can't even recall the last time I honked my horn. I bet it's been two or three years.

All of this means that, while I no longer get road rage, I am an enabler of the same.People are much more likely to blare their horn at me, curse at me, give me the finger or an icy stare than they were when I was always driving 80 on the freeway. Even my wife and daughter get upset that I drive too slowly. They also get upset when I drive too swiftly so it is just better that I travel alone.Today, as I was driving down 12th street, getting ready to turn onto Lamar. a car was stopped at one of the three lights I have to go through every day. They hesitated too long, but I did not care, I was listening to a story about how the Taj Mahal is turning yellow.That was a lot more interesting than getting to work right on time.A yellow taj Mahal, who would have ever thought that would happen ? And if the Taj Mahal, why not the White House ? Well I never got to find out because a young man behind me blared his horn to try to get the poor woman in the car in front of me to move. She did. We all made the light. Then we got stopped the next one, which we would have anyway, I do every day. So all of that irritation made no difference in his life at all. He still got to work at the very same time we would have had he not honked his horn. He is more irritated, his blood pressure is a little higher, and his commute was just not as pleasant as if he had
just turned up his radio for a minute and listened to the story of a three hundred and fifty year old pure white marble building turning into nice, urine like, shade. Indeed, according to the story, if there were less of us on the road, polluting the skies and leaving our BigFoot sized carbon footprint, The Taj Mahal would still be white. Now THAT is something to get road rage about.

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