Since I started my new job a few months ago I’ve had to go back to doing something that everyone hates. Yet everyone in America has no choice but to participate in this soul-sucking task. No, I’m not talking about going to the DMV. This time. I’m talking about commuting in weekday traffic. The traffic in this country, especially California, is one of the most chaotic and stressful things a person can do. It’s almost as aggravating and nerve-wracking as being a bomb disposal technician or the guy who cleans the ball pit at Chuck E. Cheese.
Imagine needing just to get to work and your office is only a few miles away. But for some inexplicable reason, the entire population of five continents has decided to pick that same day to drive. In their actual cars. To their actual jobs. On the exact same road you happen to use every day. And of course, they’re all going the same way you’re going.
This makes the Interstate even more clogged up than a dude who just ate an entire cheese wheel in one sitting.
With my return to the office necessitating a return to the Aggravation Superhighway, I noticed a few common types of the average driver on the roads. I’m sure you’ve noticed them too.
The Brake Humper–This is a motorist who absolutely LOVES their brake pedal. The Brake Humper comes in two varieties. One is the guy who rides the rear end of the car in front of him so closely he can give the other driver a colonoscopy. Being so near means he’s always hitting his brakes, slowing down everyone behind him. The other variety is a driver who will safely brake at the slowdown, but then stay at a complete stop even after the flow of traffic moves again. There they remain, unmoving. Sitting there, their car becomes like a boulder that partially dams up a slow-flowing stream while angry motorists squeak past them with uplifted hand gestures and shouts of happy encouragement (expletives).
The Distracted Donkey–Everyone has either seen or been side-swiped by a distracted ass…err…I mean donkey. A Distracted Donkey is the lady using the exterior side mirror to apply her makeup with a paint sprayer, or the guy with his laptop placed on the steering wheel so he can build an Excel spreadsheet that categorizes his bottlecap collection. The Distracted Donkeys do these tasks only while driving because they absolutely cannot be done at home, damnit! And they do it while repeatedly changing several lanes at once, zigzagging down the freeway completely oblivious to the carnage and wreckage they leave behind.
The Toilet Runner–You’re on the road and you see a vehicle weaving in between other lanes, making desperate attempts to overtake everyone. You’d think they’re auditioning to be in a Jason Bourne car chase with the way they tailgate, pass people, and cut them off with only centimeters to spare. I used to joke to myself that these overly rushed commuters must really love their jobs. But then I realized something. Earlier that morning the people behind those wheels ingested about a gallon of coffee, 47 bran muffins, and a roll of gas station sushi. Their colons are bursting at the seams. The Toilet Runner is in a rush, not because they love their job or are impatient, but because they need to reach their work location so they can just absolutely obliterate the office commode.
I wish I could say that traffic doesn’t have to be all bad, that there’s a magic solution somewhere to alleviate our congested roads to get everything flowing smoothly and efficiently. Like a traffic enema. I’m sure some think the solution is more readily available public transportation that mainly relies on renewable energy and kitten photos to power it. Or other ideas involving something practical. Like multi-passenger pogo sticks, nuclear-powered tandem bikes, or a really huge Slip N’ Slide.
Whether or not we have more trains, buses, or cars in America, the traffic problems we face may be this way until the planet runs out of dinosaur juice. But no matter how bad the gridlock is, just remember one encouraging fact. The only lane that will never, ever move is the lane you’re currently in. So just stay in your lane and accept your fate that you won’t get to your destination until after humanity reaches Alpha Centauri.