Thursday, October 1, 2009

On the Road to Hell

This is the conversation I’m going to have with the guy struggling lip-deep next to me as we dog paddle in the flaming cesspools of Hell:

GUY: What … are you … in here … f…
ME: I was too damned impatient.
GUY: Didn’t … know that … was a si..
ME: S’not. But it’s why.

Street repair had a two-lane road cut down to one lane in a section about a mile from my house. A quarter mile before the right lane blockage, I came up on the single line of cars waiting to go through in the left lane. There were still two open lanes, but people would only use the one because … because … because WHY, goddam it?! Why does the herd mentality hold that we have to merge together when there is still a perfectly good lane the state has provided, right there before us?

I am normally one of the people who pulls into the unused lane and cruises up to cut into the space in front of the farthest timid dweeb - someone who has faith in the early merge doctrine but won’t fight to defend it. Sure, sometimes there’s the self-proclaimed traffic cop who pulls out to partially block my open lane. I love to whip out onto the shoulder around him, blatantly flouting the law to thwart him.

As you pass the mindless sheep waiting pointlessly in the line, the hatred radiates out of their cars like heat shimmering on a Texas highway. The drivers are righteously hopped up on Glenn Beck or whatever AM talk radio madness they listen to as they simmer in their idling cars. Some jolt forward to hug the bumper of the car ahead of them like a West Virginian clinging bitterly to his gun and his Bible. But I can always find the dweeb to slide in front of.

The random road repair is bad enough; then there’s the two-lane road that goes down to one near the Kroger and there’s the lane that just ends on the freeway I use to get home. I pass the idiots every day on one or the other of these. How far back are you supposed to merge anyway? A hundred yards? A half-mile? If there's a lane closed on I-75 in Cincinnati, should people driving back to Michigan from Florida get over somewhere around Atlanta? And if they don’t, should the people they pass in Tennessee be angry?

But the other day, when I came up to the end of the line for the road repair gauntlet, I just didn’t have the patience. Obviously I didn’t have the patience to sit in line. That day I didn’t even have the patience to pull out and deal with the line-jumping trauma. So I made a u-turn and went home a different way – a way that probably took me longer than waiting, but prevented my having a stroke.

And that’s why I’m going to Hell. When the gates swing wide in Heaven, there is fifty miles of elbow room. But there’s only one check in point: at Saint Peter’s podium. There may be an express line for 15 sins or fewer but I have more than that from March 1974 alone. I will be in a line behind all those same righteous sheep from the roads, now being passively guided single-file through the gate, while I can clearly see wide open space where I should be able to just walk in.

And I will just make a u-turn and head down to Hell where people don’t give a crap about social niceties and they crowd ahead to get in the flaming cesspool before anyone else. I'll be paddling next to some dweeb whose mortal sin was letting that impatient, aggressive line-jumper into the queue day after day on I-71 in Cincinnati.


Cali said...

Love it!!! Why in the world do they block off the perfectly usable lanes?? I will never understand. Great post. Love the opening paragraph too.

Anonymous said...

You obviously learned to drive in California.


Susan said...

I hate early mergers!

verification word = nonds: stupid early mergers

JohnnyB said...

Cali, your post about driving spurred me on

Karen ... and proud of it!

Susan - so much nicer than the words I use for them.