It’s 8:19 AM, and I’ve been on the road for an hour. It’s the 405 N, and I’m just past the airport. Southern Californians will understand how bad a situation this is.
Granted, it’s not completely stopped dead. In some ways, that might just be a relief. No, it is firmly stop and go, just a little more on the go side than the stop side. Which is why the black sedan adhered to my rear bumper is getting on my last nerve. I can clearly see her face in my rear view, and she’s so close I can’t see the logo on her hood. Since my accident last year identifying the car behind me has become more important.
The read out for external temperature is 74 degrees F, which feels magnified when you’re inside a glass and metal box, so the AC is humming along to try and keep the weather inside my car, well, also 74 degrees. Somehow when you’re in the box that’s both a more acceptable sensation and harder to achieve, apparently.
As we start to move I keep a careful amount of safe follow distance ahead of me, this was always my instinct but it’s more pronounced… well, since the accident. I’ve been staring at the back end of a blue Hyundai compact for miles, we’ve formed a sort of kinship. I don’t tailgate him, he doesn’t brake suddenly, we keep a careful space between us but since we’re going the same direction we’ve bonded. Okay, so maybe I should turn the AC up a bit more? I’m getting weird, even if it’s only in my head.
Suddenly my careful follow distance is filled with a white Chevy truck! No signal, just crowding me out. Grr, I was barely moving forward at any reasonable pace, and now the intruder from the left has me backing off so I can go back to my safe sp-
HEY! Now it’s a white RAV4 – Hybrid, even, and as a fellow Hybrid RAV4 driver I normally have a certain amount of respect for them, but there is no room for respect as I continue to slow to near-nothing in order to preserve that room between me and the next rascal to occupy my bubble.
Oh no, a black Ford Exploder, sorry – Explorer, has cut in. She promptly does another lane change to the left without a signal. After a moment’s hesitation she dives across the double yellow line into the carpool lane. My lane is actually moving faster than the carpool, so I spare a glance her direction to confirm my suspicion – her vehicle does not have clean air stickers for sure and there’s no one in that vehicle with her. Somehow her need to be somewhere trumps all the laws regulating the carpool lane. My brain starts spinning nasty stories about her arrogance and entitlement.
Every one of these cars has a turn signal, why can’t any of them use their blinkers? I make a point of making space for anyone trying to blink their way through, and yet these fools think it’s safer to crash through unannounced. As a result the story my mind spins about each case is that of a rude choice to invade my road-space, although my more rational thoughts are fully aware that nobody is seeking to slight me, and in some cases they don’t signal because other, ruder, drivers will close spaces if they know someone wants in.
Yet my blood still boils and their thoughtlessness makes me feel like I’m moving backwards and further from my destination, no matter how little it’s true.
So, for me, just turn on your blinker?