Driving to work on a Wednesday morning

19 09 2012

Today I managed to drive to work without getting pissed off at other drivers. I kept calm and cool. Very proud of myself because you see, I was running a little late already (fairly typical of me) and every morning when I leave my neighborhood I have a choice between turning left and taking the back roads to work or turning right and taking the highway (Not to be confused with the high way). Its arguable as to which way is quicker. Each morning I set out to time it and I only get so far before I get distracted and forget what time I started or just forget I was trying to time it all together.

This morning the forces were out to get me. They were out to test my patience and temperament. It started out as soon as I made my decision to take the highway, which I’ve only just started taking recently because I swear the other way was faster. So I get onto one of the roads before reaching the highway and its backed up and not moving. I’m finally able to inch up close to a side road which will get me through to the next road I need. After two or three stoplight changes I was able to turn onto that side road. I drove through the back roads and made it to the road I needed. That too was backed up. Now I’m stuck on the road I need to take to get to the highway and it’s completely stopped. Didn’t loose my cool. Kept telling myself that I’m not going to be too late for work and there wasn’t anything else I could do about it at this point.

This is how happy I was trying to be on my way to work.

After a few minutes I finally made it up to the stoplight and of course got the red light as soon as I approached. No problem. Still calm and collective. Kind of expected that actually with the way my stoplight karma is. I’ll explain that at another time. The light turned green and the cars were moving, pushing me closer to the highway. The flow was nice and I make my way onto the highway. There were a lot of cars but the flow was still nice. I sped past some cars to merge into the lane in the direction of work. The highway was a smooth ride. I approach my exit and was able to barely make it through the green light. Once I turn right onto the next road I have to almost immediately encounter another stoplight. I’m always hoping to get the green left turn arrow but it doesn’t happen too often. That light is also a curse to me, now, because I got busted running a red light from one of those intersections with the cameras. That intersection annoys me and makes me so paranoid.

So I turn onto the road and come up to the stoplight just in time to watch it turn from green to yellow to red. Of course I didn’t try to make the yellow-orangish light because of what happened to me last time I tried to catch it under the unspoken theory that if you cross over the line while the light is yellow and happens to turn red before you make it through the intersection all the way then you technically did not run a red light. That unspoken theory was wrong. $158 dollar lesson learned. Now i’m sitting at the light. Waiting. Still keeping my cool. Not letting stoplights, traffic, people cutting me off, people driving slower than me, nothing was going to steal my peace away this morning.

After that light there are three more lights I must pass through before turning into my work building. The first one I approach, red. Wait. I start driving behind slow people in the right lane because if I drive in the left lane it’s more of a pain for me to check traffic in the right lane which I will eventually have to switch into. Reason being, I still haven’t replaced my passenger side view mirror that’s I broke years ago. Yes, I procrastinate too. Next light is coming up and it’s just turning red. Still not bothered.

I continue through the light and approach a school bus picking up kids with its flashing stop signs stopping traffic. I stop and wait. I did almost have a thought of these kids moving slow and steady so it would take longer before the bus driver removed the flashing stop signs but I quickly jumped back to the fact that I’m almost at work and I was going to have a good, productive day.

Once the bus started moving again, we all did the same. I approached the last light before work and it was also red. But this light changes pretty quickly so I was still cool. I’m about to turn into work but noticed a man on his bicycle riding beside me, in the road of course and not on the sidewalk. Not that it would matter because he was exactly parallel with me. I slowed down and waited for him to pass before turning into work. Parking was a piece of cake and I made it in before final call. Now there’s a story with a happy ending.

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To blink, or not to blink: Turn signal etiquette 101

18 09 2012

I’ve come up with this awesome idea that will save us money individually and as an economy. I can’t believe nobody else has come up with this idea. It all started when I began to notice something repeatedly happening whenever I was out driving. You see, my dad is a play-by-the-rules type of guy. I love and respect him for that. It’s a very admirable quality. When he was teaching me how to drive, he taught me the ins and outs, the dos and dont’s.  Hands at 10 and 2, eyes on the road and constantly check the mirrors, always be aware of who and what is around you. If you miss your turn, don’t slam on your brakes and make everybody pay for your mistake, even if you have to go a little out of your way, it’s the right thing to do. The respectful polite thing to do maybe. He taught me to use my blinker when turning or wanting to switch lanes. This is to let people know you want to switch lanes or that you’re turning a certain direction, out of respect and safety and because it’s the law.

What i’ve noticed is that very few people use their blinkers anymore. It’s a rarity when I see that flashing signal indicating someone actually flipped that mechanism on their steering wheel to let other people driving their 3,000+ pounds of heavy steel know that you plan on switching over into the lane they are approaching you in or that you may be turning soon and slowing down would be the safest thing for everyone.

Nope, blinkers aren’t something people take seriously. Now, it’s either we’re plain lazy and don’t want to exert the energy to turn the blinker on or we’re just inconsiderate, self centered and don’t have a care as to what is going on outside our own little world or maybe it’s because we hate people and enjoy pissing them off. I’m sure there’s more reasons other than what I listed but those are my primary ones.

Sometimes I am lazy and don’t want to signal. Usually, though, when I don’t use my signal it’s because nobody is around me or I’m paranoid that if I signal, everybody will then speed up and try to get past me pacing the distance between the car in front of them perfectly so I can never switch lanes and must wait and get at the end of the line. I guess it’s fairly normal to expect to have to go to the back of the line when you step out of the line you were  in.

Anyway, I’ve witnessed this many times. I notice somebody wants to get over because they actually used their blinkers. People come up from behind and speed up, closing in on the gap between the car in front of them. Other cars approach and the cars seems to be driving at the exact same speed, not creating any room for the person to get over. Now if this person were not to use their blinker and just wait for the gap and squeeze in, they would get in a lot quicker. I know there are some people that pay attention and courteously allow enough room for the person blinking ever so nicely to come into their lane. Kudos to you. I do this most of the times. I feel that if your nice enough to give me the heads up as to what you’d  like to do, and it won’t disturb my flow too much, then by all means, come into my lane. But don’t just push your way in without a signal or signal and expect me to let you in right away. If I can I will. But just because you turned your signal on, doesn’t mean you have the right of way.

Same goes for turning. It’s a freaking courtesy. Let the person behind you know that you are turning so they can either slow down or switch lanes and go around you. Not signaling for a turn is like falling and pulling somebody down with you. It’s so selfish and blatantly disregards other driver’s interest and well being. I personally would love for the person behind me to know to slow down and not hit me because I’m about to do an abrupt turn and I shouldn’t expect you to be able to read my mind and know what I’m about to do next.

And if you really want to get me going, while you’re driving down the center lane of a 3-lane highway, use your signal and let me see this blinking light proudly announce that you will be getting into the right lane. I will smile and sing your praises, overwhelmed with the respect and acknowledgment of somebody other than yourself. And then, as you approach that right turn area that you said you were heading, you instead turn left with the right blinker still flashing. I would rather you not blink at all. That is lazy and absent-minded and who wants to be on the road with an absent-minded person who at any given moment may be thinking about something other than driving down the road. Ever heard of road hypnosis. I’ve had it happen to me before. That can be for another blog topic.

If we aren’t going to blink properly or at all then why have blinkers. Why pay the extra money, when purchasing a car, for something you’ll never use? Wouldn’t rather have that money in your pocket or towards something else? The material that makes blinkers, the bulbs, the fuses, everything can just disappear. If we really need to signal there is always your arm and hand. Cars will be cheaper, road rage will decrease because now there no expecting courtesy from other drivers, just look out for yourself. It’s a win-win situation.

If you think I have some serious issues then you’re probably right. You see, I’m traumatized from cops giving me tickets for things everybody and their mom do on a daily basis. Like not using your turn signal. Yes I was pulled over for not using my turn signal when merging from the center median lane into the regular lanes. I signaled to get out to the middle of the road from the stop sign I sat at but my blinker turned off and I didn’t turn it back on to continue in the direction I wanted to go. It was after work and I was ready to go home and relax. I thought that was a petty ticket but it taught me to use my signal. It also created an issue for me I’m just beginning to realize.

Sigh.





Back to my blog – What I was saying was…

15 09 2012

Hello there. I know I’ve been going on my rants and raves of passion lately on my blog. About this and about that. The more I learn about the world, the more I feel I need to fight. For equal treatment. For things I never really thought about before because it wasn’t the right time. For doing what’s right in my own eyes and not following some of the ways of the world. For the killing and the hate to stop. It’s easy for me to get pulled into the world of darkness when I watch or read the news, local or nationally. I thrive on learning about things. I’ve always been fascinated by other cultures, religions and ways of life. About people and their stories. So many stories.

My special box.

I can feel something inside me change. I feel that I’m starting to “get” things more. I’m beginning to understand how life works and it’s pretty crazy. I feel like I’ve been able to step outside myself and my feelings to really see what triggers one over the other. I’m beginning to  trust again. I like who I’m becoming and although I’m still going to make mistakes, I’ve realized that it’s part of learning. And having the control to consciously not make them again.

I thank my parents for teaching me the ways of good. A lot of what they taught was absorbed. I like the kind of person those lessons helped to mold.

Now it’s time for some more dysfunction.