Friday, February 21, 2014

Friday Frustration: Traffic

In addition to people on the roads being general all-around dicks, living in the metro NYC area means I have to sit in traffic basically any time I get in the car.  Last night what should have been a one hour drive took me nearly two, and that was totally ordinary to me.

That doesn't mean I am used to it, though. 

I firmly believe there is nothing more frustrating and infuriating than sitting in traffic, especially when it is totally man-made, i.e. caused by people being dicks or construction not wrapping up.

strolling along at 5 mph

I pass a lane that's closed for no reason - construction has ended, someone just never got around to picking the cones up to reopen the lane.  I sit in my car for an extra hour because of that.

And really, what about the plethora of super important people with super important things to do who use merge lanes as excuses to pull out and jump three cars ahead of me?  Can you imagine their frustration at these little mistakes, given the clearly life or death situations at hand for them that force them to pull out into those merge lanes?  Do they even realize they are part of what makes traffic worse, forcing everyone to stop to let them in?  Probably not.  They have important things to do.

What about the guy behind me, who is trailing me so closely that I can lip-read all the curses he is yelling out?  He must be extra frustrated considering whatever it is he has to go to has him basically pushing my car along.  Never mind that there's someone else one car's length in front of me, he wants me up that guy's ass too.  I let in a truck desperately trying to change lanes in front of me; he honks and gives me the middle finger.  I now realize that letting this truck in is negatively effecting his life in horrifyingly tragic ways, I am so glad he has helped me see the error of my ways.

I hang back a bit to let a person getting on the highway next to me into my lane as theirs is ending.  They don't take me up on my offer, so I speed up a bit so the guy behind me doesn't have a seizure over all the space between myself and the car in front of me.  The person next to me keeps going until, oops, now they're on the shoulder, and oops, the shoulder is ending in about 50 feet.  They inch in expectantly, knowing I will have to stop to let them in.  I do, because what else can I do, but I wonder if they realize they would have been in literally the exact same position even had they merged when they should have, needing to get as far as physically possible before joining the rest of us in slow crawl hell.  Are they dicks?  Are they foreigners unfamiliar with American highways? Are they entirely oblivious?  Are they blind to the road in front of them?  Either way, I don't want them driving anywhere near me, so I switch into the middle lane.

Of course the middle lane is the last one to be fixed any time fixing is needed, as it's the most difficult to close.  Potholes abound and I have to swerve left and right to avoid them.  I try getting out of the lane but everyone is driving within inches of the person in front of them; there's no room for me to get it, and certainly no one will let me.  Letting my car in will put them a full 5 milliseconds behind in their anticipated arrival time, and no one can have that. 

A few miles later, as quickly as it started, the traffic disappears into the ether.  Suddenly the roads open up and the lanes start moving quickly with no rhyme or reason, putting an end to my misery.  Well, for today, at least.

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