2009-06-20 / News

Lighten up: It's the other people who drive like idiots

By Dawn Weber

Something about the highway turns nice, stable, tax-paying people into Satan's minions.

Friends, neighbors, sweet little old ladies - they all become mortal enemies on the road, mere cretins who deserve nothing less than questionable gestures and extreme revenge.

This is because people drive like idiots. Not me, of course, and not you - The Others.

Others mistake the fast lane for a country road on a Sunday afternoon. They coast along the left lane at 45 m.p.h. Until you try to pass them. Then they merrily speed up to 102 so that you can't get by.

Others don't know how to drive in the rain, snow and sleet. Come on people - it's Ohio! You'd think we'd come out of the womb with these skills.

But the Others drive either extremely fast or extremely slow in these conditions, causing wrecks, tardiness and freakishly high blood pressure.

Sunny days also bring out the Others. Warm, pleasant weather often causes speeding, stupidity and excessive consumption of Bud Lite, leading many Others straight into the guardrail. The rest of us sit there in our cars, behind the crash scene. In traffic. For hours. With a full bladder.

Then we have the dear Others who tool around slowly, usually in Oldsmobiles or Buicks. You can see them for miles. Turn signals a-blinking, a-peeping over the wheel in spectacles and both hands a-gripping the wheel at the 10 and 2 position, probably a-heading to a doctor's appointment. God love them.

Flying by all of the above are the youngster-Others on their cell phones. Secure in their supposed invincibility, they have no concept of death, so they choose to endanger everybody. Chatting, texting and Googling away. They fly down the road, weaving in and out of traffic like another Earnhardt boy.

OK, I admit it. Take away 20 years and the cell phone. Add some blaring Def Leppard and a 1982 Ford Fairmont (the Flaming Fairmont of Death, but that's another column), and I used to be one of those young highway hotshots.

Until one day. Some guy came flying up behind me in a pickup truck. He sped right up to my rear bumper and began flashing his lights and honking his horn.

Being the sort of nice, sane person that I was (not), I spoke kind words (of profanity) and offered him a friendly wave (with one finger). I signaled and switched lanes so he could get around me.

As he drove slowly past, I recognized him as my neighbor, who was apparently just trying to get my attention to say hello. He was making the universal sign for ''Tsk-tsk. You hug your mother with those hands?''

I learned my lesson: traffic may be a daily game of screwyour neighbor. But sometimes it really is your neighbor. So watch out for the other guy, and keep your fingers to yourself.

Dawn Weber is a Brownsville wife and mother of two pre-teens who commutes daily to Columbus for her full-time job. Her column appears from time to time.

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