Our inflated egos show on our streets

I hate SUVs. I hate irresponsible drivers. I hate Telegraph Road. I hate them I hate them I hate them.
There. It’s out of my system. I feel a whole lot better now.

Wait. I’m not supposed to hate drivers. OK, fine. I hate it when people drive irresponsibly. Put the newspaper away and save it for when you get there. (Not that it’s worth reading anyway, if it’s the St. Louis Post-Disgrace.) If you drop your cell phone, kick it away so it won’t get wedged under one of your pedals, then pull over to pick it up. OK?

And whatever you do, don’t ever, EVER, EVER (why don’t all browsers support the blink tag? This is perfectly appropriate use of it) stop for no reason whatsoever. OK?

There are people behind you, and you’re encased in a two-ton deadly weapon. Don’t you ever, ever forget that.

Here’s what happened to me today.

It was 2:45 pm. I was on my way to church. Special service. I was scheduled to ush. What’s ushing? Whatever ushers do. It was the intersection of I-255 and Telegraph Rd. The bad news is, when you pass that intersection, your IQ temporarily drops to whatever the square root of your IQ is. The worse news is, so does everyone else’s.

Well, some IDIOT went through the stoplight and immediately slammed on its brakes (yeah, I know the proper is “his or her,” but when you’re that stupid, you relinquish the right to human pronouns) for no good reason. The woman in the SUV ahead of me slammed on her brakes. I slammed on my brakes. I skidded into her. My license plate slammed into her trailer hitch. A woman in an SUV behind me slammed on her brakes and slammed into me. She put a tear in my rear bumper and put a dent in my trunk. I didn’t notice the damage on the scene–only later. She tore her front bumper up pretty good–I think she hit me pretty hard.

The IDIOT zoomed off unscathed, and probably blissfully unaware.

We were all in a huge hurry–which probably square-rooted all of our IQs yet again–and we didn’t want any trouble. None of us was hurt, our vehicles were all capable of driving and just sustained cosmetic damage, and none of us needed our insurance rates to go up, and certainly none of us needed a ticket. We didn’t even bother to exchange phone numbers.

The lady who slammed into me was going the same place I was, it turned out. Good thing I kept my cool, eh?

But I’m really sick of how people drive these days. Everyone thinks they’re so blasted important. They drive around yakking on the phone. They slam on their brakes because they think they’re about to miss a turn. Well, if you miss a turn on account of your own stupidity, who are you to inconvenience the two dozen people behind you? Turn off at the next road and loop back. Yeah, it costs you five minutes. But who are you to take time from two dozen other people?

In my case, I’m going to have to take off work to take my car into the shop, its going to cost me a few hundred bucks to replace a bumper, and I’m going to have to get a rental. But at least that IDIOT wasn’t inconvenienced at all. And that’s all that matters. In the IDIOT‘s mind. And when you’re King of the Universe, that’s fine. You can think that way.

Incidentally, detouring when I mess up is my standard practice. It’s called courtesy. It used to be called common courtesy, but it’s pretty rare these days. Probably because people notice discourtesy, but it’s often impossible to see courtesy, so courtesy isn’t appreciated. But I’d rather be unnoticed than get noticed because I inconvenienced someone.

But stopping suddenly isn’t the only thing IDIOTs do. They cut you off and then they slow down. They run red lights because it’s much more important for them to get where they’re going than it is for you to get where you’re going. That’s my really big pet peeve. I stick my car’s nose into the intersection with my horn blaring when they do that. Usually they smile and wave. The nerve of them.

Once I even saw an IDIOT in a left-turn lane wait through a light, then cut across two lanes of traffic going straight and make a right turn! No one ever taught that IDIOT that three lefts make a right.

But rather than shaming people into obeying the law, or enforcing red lights with cameras, instead we buy ever bigger and bigger cars and Station-wagon Utility Vehicles. It’s a big arms race. Guys like me lose out. I’m 5’9″. A Dodge Neon has more headroom than I need. A Station-wagon Utility Vehicle is completely impractical for me. I can’t afford the sticker price, and I can’t afford to keep gas in it. Neither can most of the people who buy them, but I guess that’s what credit cards are for.

If the only people who bought Station-wagon Utility Vehicles were the people who really needed them, it wouldn’t be a problem. The problem is, every other person has one. So we make our roads unsafe by killing everyone’s visibility and ensuring that accidents are more serious by driving cars with twice as much mass as we need, and we make our world unsafe by unnecessarily funneling billions of dollars to the Middle East, so Mohammedan millionaires can turn around and fund terrorists who blow up Israelis and Americans.

So I guess it isn’t just the intersection of I-255 and Telegraph that square-roots our intelligence, huh? Maybe it’s the water. Nah, I’ll blame television.

If we’d all just come down off our pedestals and realize our proper place in life, we’d all be a whole lot better off. We’d be a lot safer, and I’ll bet you anything we’d all get just as much done.

But the way we act right now? No wonder the rest of the world hates us. We deserve it.

12 thoughts on “Our inflated egos show on our streets

  • August 18, 2002 at 1:02 am
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    You know… it sounds good. I’m even tempted to agree with you. I can’t stand it when I’m going through a light and I can’t see if it’s turning yellow or not, because the guy in front of me is driving some monstrous SUV. And I definitely agree that people start thinking with their left butt cheek the minute they sit behind the wheel of a car (SUV or otherwise)… but you know what… who am I to tell them what kind of car to drive? What business is it of mine? If they hear that they, or their family, is safer in an SUV than in a mid-size sedan, than why should I get all hot and bothered because they drive something they don’t really “need”. Or what if they just like the “look” of SUV’s better than a coupe or a sedan? Who’s to say that’s not a “good enough” reason to buy a car? Heck,.. I can’t say that I “need” a four door. I’m a single guy.. no family… I don’t remember the last time anyone actually sat in my back seat… should I have gotten a 2 door since I didn’t really “need” that extra space, and maybe cut down a few mpg’s off my fuel consumption?

    I usually find myself agreeing with most of what you put up here… but I’m quite at odds with this sentiment. The whole “anti-SUV” thing just rubs me the wrong way. It’s most often fuled by people who don’t have them, or can’t afford them,.. or by those who have an “axe to grind” with those who DO own them.

    And what’s up with “no wonder the world hates us,.. we deserve it”???? Come on man,… I hope that’s just some temporary road-rage talking. :op

    WATYF

  • August 18, 2002 at 11:41 am
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    SUV’s aren’t the problem. I drive one, why? Because I fit in them better. I’ve yet to find a small car that I don’t hit the cieling in it. But even if that wasn’t the case, I like the look of them. I’d probalby buy one even if I could fit into a smaller car.

    I see people every day, just like the rest of us, who drive like idiots. Some are in SUV’s, some aren’t. It’s not the car that makes people drive stupid, it’s the people themselves.

    It irritates me how “SUV’s” are the only car species that gets fingered in the news. If it’s not an “SUV”, then it’s always just a “car”. Even if it’s a truck, that is never pointed out.

    This incident would have happend reguardless of the car. if the idiot had been in a yugo, he’s have shot through the red light, and caused the lady in front to slam on her brakes, and the one in back.

    Sorry Dave, usually I agree with you, but SUV’s aren’t your enemy here, stupid drivers plain and simple were.

  • August 18, 2002 at 11:50 am
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    Oh, but I will agree with you on cell phones. I hate those damn things. I really wonder sometimes how the human race was able to exist before them. I bet at least one or two times a week, I almost get sideswiped or cut off by some idiot talking on one.

    I understand that they can server a useful function, like calling 911 after the person talking on it slams into a car and kills an unsuspecting person.

  • August 18, 2002 at 4:12 pm
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    commentCut the guy some slack. I’m sure if someone made a sandwich out of the two of you and your cars, you’d be models of coherence.

  • August 18, 2002 at 6:47 pm
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    You’ve written before on …funneling billions of dollars to the Middle East, so Mohammedan millionaires can turn around and fund terrorists who blow up Israelis and Americans., and I couldn’t agree more.

    If we really want to hurt the bad guys in the Middle East, we need to wean ourselves off of Persian Gulf oil. Short term, that means using less of the stuff. Long term, it means developing other sources (the Canadian tar sands) and other energy technologies (hydrogen, methanol fuel cells, and in the longer term – space-based solar power). Then we can tell the sheiks to go pound sand… ๐Ÿ™‚

  • August 18, 2002 at 10:38 pm
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    In Dave’s situation his car had the better likely hood of coming out of it with the least damage. Why? Because his Neon has far better front and rear impact abilities. SUV bumpers are terrible at slow crashes.

    And yes, I’d be pissed off too if I got sandwiched between two cars, that’s not the point. It could have easily been small cars, or a semi, or anything else that runs on the road. By slamming SUV’s maybe it made him feel better, we all feel better after we vent, but the SUV’s weren’t the problem.

    I was in an accident once where the car I was in got blasted to the here after. A little bitsy escort type thing hit us. One guy got ribs smacked out of place, my arm wouldn’t work right for a few weeks. But I don’t slam small cars because of it. That’s why they’re called accidents, any car, truck, SUV, even a bicycle can cause them.

    I’m not picking on Dave here, but I’m not going to hold my opinion back either, he knew writing this that there were a few people he knows that wouldn’t like this post, and Dave can take these comments. I’ve known him for almost 15 years now, and the last thing he would want is someone not stating their opinion. You know from reading his site he’s not a fan of that type of writing.

    As far as funding terrorists, well we all do. No matter what kind of car we drive. And none of us can say which dollar we spent on gas may have gone to them. I’m all for developing newer technologies that make us less dependent on the sheiks, if the next car I bought could be powered off garbage, it wouldn’t make a difference to me.

    And let me make this clear, the most important thing to me from his situation is the fact that he is uninjured. If he were, I wouldn’t even be thinking on this line of thought.

  • August 19, 2002 at 8:36 am
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    Gatermann wrote:
    …if the next car I bought could be powered off garbage, it wouldn’t make a difference to me.

    Cool thing is, you can make methanol out of garbage ๐Ÿ˜‰ and methanol can be used to power fuel cells, or just burned for that matter. The fuel cell option is just cleaner…

  • August 19, 2002 at 9:55 am
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    I’m all in favor of other energy sources… I would LOVE to not have to pay so much just to drive. But if it meant that I would have to drive in a car half the size of my current one, and that I couldn’t go faster than 55 miles an hour, then forget it. We’re not going to take steps backwards just for some feel-good “solution”. Until they come up with something BETTER, then we’re stuck with this.

    My whole beef on this topic is with the socialist mentality that goes along with it. Instead of inspiring those who “have not” to achieve, we point fingers at those who “have” and say, “it’s not fair!” Well forget that. I don’t have an SUV,.. I may never have one… but I’m not going to try to inhibit someone else’s freedom just ’cause I don’t have something that they have. The solution to “unfairness” is NOT to take away from those who have an advantage… because that type of dangerous thinking has no boundaries.

    WATYF

  • August 19, 2002 at 9:59 pm
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    Exactly WATYF

  • August 20, 2002 at 9:24 am
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    WATYF, I couldn’t agree more. I have a distinct Libertarian bent to my political thought and am all for individual choice, free markets and such ๐Ÿ™‚

    I simply want a chance, in a free market, to choose alternative energy sources for myself – and am willing to pay for them within reason. I also chaps my a** that I’m paying for gasoline refined from Persian Gulf oil, the original sale of which lined some sheik’s pockets so he can donate money to Islamic extremists. I’d much rather see the profits from my fuel purchases go to a Canadian company extracting oil from tar sands…

    So for right now, my choice is to drive a smaller, fuel efficient car for my daily commute. At least I’m giving said sheik less profit than otherwise. If you want a large vehicle with poorer fuel economy and are willing to pay for it, then feel free. I’m completely against using force of government to persuade you to do otherwise ๐Ÿ™‚

  • August 20, 2002 at 10:20 pm
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    Scott, thank you for having some compassion! For the rest of you, can you please quit bickering for a moment and listen to yourselves? The point IS that Dave was sandwiched between two cars and he could have been seriously injured in this accident. And you’re talking about SUV’s and cell phones?? You don’t have to agree with what Dave said–it’s clear that he was just blowing off steam. But let’s show him a little compassion and be thankful that he came out with just a few bumps and bruises. Let’s be grown-ups here. Dave, I’m real glad that you’re alright. Come back when you’re feeling better.

  • January 20, 2003 at 3:03 am
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    I know this is like 5 months too late, but I’m glad you didn’t get seriously hurt in that little fender bender.

    Can I add not using the freaking turn signals to my list of pet peeves? It pisses me off to no end when someone doesn’t use the turn signals (which is almost everyone here in southeast missouri, unfortunately). It doesn’t cross anyone’s mind that turn signals were invented for a reason.

    I was behind this guy in an old beatup pickup, hauling a bunch of furniture in the truck bed. Obviously, he can’t see behind him through the rearview mirror. At the point that I got right behind him, road narrows to one lane because of bridge construction. He starts weaving back and forth, obviously not sure if he can move over or not. I’m behind him for the duration of the one lane stretch, then I passed him. I freaked out. This old truck did not have side-view mirrors, and I didn’t see a rear-view mirror, either! The turn signals are good as broke, since he probably hadn’t used them in 20 years anyways. I couldn’t fathom why someone would willingly drive a vehicle with no mirrors! Further, I couldn’t fathom the thing passing a vehicle inspections test. I say somebody bribed a mechanic.

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