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Mr. Wrong

Ticket to Ride, White-Line Highway

By Joe MacLeod | Posted 11/21/2001

Look, a couple of weeks ago--or maybe it was a couple of months ago; I'm not so good with time--anyway, some time ago, in the Year of Somebody's Lord Two Thousand One a.d. Inc., I'm minding my own business driving in a northerly direction up there by the Baltimore Museum of Art, and there's this little "turn only" lane where you make a left toward the general vicinity of Remington, and this oblivious lady, who is supposed to be at a complete stop due to the concept of right-of-way, rolls right out into the road toward me.

Many motorists would be on The Horn at this point. Not me. Using The Horn against another car is a sign of weakness. If you have enough time to toot away on your fucking Horn, you have enough time to either stop your vehicle or perform an evasive maneuver to avoid a collision, which should be your top priority. Most people use The Horn to say: WAAAAH! YOU CUT ME OFF! YOU DIDN'T LET ME HAVE THE INTERSECTION! YOU'RE NOT MOVING QUICK ENOUGH OFF THE GREEN LIGHT THAT CHANGED 1/10,000 OF A SECOND AGO! WAAAAH! YOU TOOK MY PARKING SPACE! WAAAAH! YOU SUNK MY BATTLESHIP! WAAAAH!

So my philosophy is to use The Horn on little kids and dumb animals to keep 'em out of the road and just give it a little bep-bep when the car in front of me isn't paying attention to that green light. I generally don't use The Horn for pre- accident scenarios, because I figure I ought to be in complete command and control of my craft, doing a little Defensive Driving instead of concentrating on honking my goddamn Horn. In this case, I swung out wide and looped around this dimwit to avoid being T-boned as I performed my left-hand turn. Of course, the driver was yammering away on her goddamn cell phone. So while I was executing my maneuver, I leaned out my window and used my own "hands-free" version of The Horn: "WHYYOUGODDAFCKCELPHONE!!!" So just in case you're out there, Distracted Driver, what I was trying to say was: "Ah, excuse me, but for the love of God, do you think you could concentrate the majority of your already-suspect mental energies on piloting your potentially dangerous automobile instead of blabbering away on your stupid goddamn fucking phone? Why, there ought to be a law to prevent this sort of behavior. Good day."

The other thing that pisses me off on the highway right now are all these knuckleheads who routinely cross solid white lines. OK, it's not illegal to cross a solid white line, but if you drive on the Beltway, or Interstate 95, or anywhere else and you see a solid, nondashed white line painted down there in between lanes on the blacktop, guess what? They're there for an actual reason: to control traffic through construction zones and poorly designed ramps, especially that one where the outer loop of the Beltway feeds into northbound 95. It's a heinous merge, because you're joining the Mad Max/Road Warrior insanity that is I-95. And you're joining it from the left, in what eventually turns into the Hammer Lane, where no one is exactly interested in yielding to allow slower vehicles to feed into the main drag.

Some motorists enjoy this setup, because it means they can tromp down on the old go-pedal and get up to, uh, "highway speed," like 75 to 85 mph, to join up with the I-95 herd, and automatically be in the Bonus Lane. (Notice I said "some motorists." I ain't self-incriminating to driving 75 or 85 mph, see?) The problem is, all the nuts fighting for the left lane on 95 up until then get pissed when they see a bunch of freeloaders coming in from the left to usurp their rightful place in the lane of fastness, so they do the anti-yield and speed up to avoid "losing ground," like it's a goddamn race or something.

In the middle of this high-speed vortex, you got the folks who, for some reason, insist on piloting their vehicles at the posted speed limit. These taxpayers need to be allowed to get their machines out of the hammer lane and into the slower lanes of I-95 as soon as possible. But what happens is, the meatheads behind them coming off the same ramp with a giant itch in their pants to get it up to 80, tail-grabbing on the asses of the slowpokes who are annoyingly obeying the law, start diving across the solid white line into the Lane Formerly Known as the Hammer Lane, and create an ad hoc blockade of speeders, effectively cutting off the ability of the slowpokes to do what they are aching to do, which is get into the slower lanes.

Of course, there are slowpokes who are unrealistic and think they can go 55 in the hammer lane forever, and there's a special lane in the Bad Place for them. But I'm not talking about them. I'm talking about you, the White-Line Crosser. Next time you're in heavy traffic and you see the solid white line, pretend you're the Greatest Driver in the World and, just for the heck of it, try to not cross the goddamn thing, OK? Try to exercise a little self-control in at least one aspect of your miserable, instant-gratification life. Pretend you're in the NASCAR or something and there's one of those danger-flags getting waved where you're not supposed to pass anybody. Just go ahead and pretend, OK?

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