I liked listening to the radio. The feel of the open road. The freedom of being able to go almost anywhere, anytime.
I never used the horn. I would simply mumble the situation to the other car “Oop! Too close! Ughhhhh… ok, there ya go…” or say “honk”. It was a relaxing time, those previous years of driving. Long trips back and forth from college in Florida to my house in PA. A drive across country. I even missed my car a little when I lived in NYC.
Then I moved to LA. Where in two short years, I’ve developed Stage 4, fully blown, ROAD RAGE. RoRa as we affectionately call it here (no we don’t – do not spread that rumor). We pronounce it like “Everyone Drives Like An Idiot”. And it’s true. Everyone but you. And you feel this in the very core of your being. My blood is Type A Badass.
My car is great on the road. It has quick pick up, zippiness, cupholders – THE WORKS. It will lose all battles between it and sportscars or luxury old people wagons (Bentley!), but who’s counting. I drive almost every day in straight up rush hour traffic for my job. I’m becoming very good at driving.
My tolerance is — wait, where did it go?? Patience? Um, no time for that! I have somewhere to be and I need to get there NOW, and the way that I PLANNED, and if you cut me off, signal like a bitch, or stop at no stop sign, I will destroy you.
First, with my horn. [MEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEP]. Ugh, ok my horn sucks. It’s a toy that sounds like a clown nose. But – oh what? You didn’t move! I told you t— ugh. [MEEP! M-MEEP!] Seriously. GO! (I still yell out “go” to people all the time. My other RoRa catch phrases are “Let’s do this” “Drive like you’re going somewhere” “Cellphone – knew it” and “Are they having a stroke? It looks like they’re gliding to the side like they’re having a stroke”).
Then there are the times (all the times), where the offender makes an aggressive move back. A honk. An angry shrug. Hands in the air! (That’s a favorite of almost everyone). Yesterday, a car started moving into my lane, so I honked to let them know I was there. They honked back. And then so did I. With a specific finger raised outside my window so that they could be sure to see it. Fingers speak louder than horns.
The car lurched back into its lane, then zipped around the back of my car and into the right lane. We both came to the next stop light at the same time. I pretended to be totally cool, listening to KOST 103.5 on the radio, but secretly hoped they couldn’t hear that it was some Rod Stewart love song dedication. My eyes darted sideways, trying to catch a look at the driver. I was hoping they were all “Oh! A girl’s driving! She’s pretty badass to be putting me in my place like that. I totally respect her!” But no. People here want to slam into you to teach you lessons. They speed up when you’re a pedestrian crossing in their way. If they hit you, they can pay for it. And so will you!
I’ve tried tempering this RoRa by bringing tea with me in my car. Playing soothing music (sorry, Rage Against The Machine, not right now…), being a generous driver, letting people go ahead, being patient when some sedan with the touristy “Arizona” plates is slowly driving through Hollywood Blvd like it’s a sunny Sunday afternoon in Binkleberry, Georgia, like we’ve got ALLLLL the time in the world to stop and go and sway between lanes and stop for pedestrians who are really homeless people dressed up like Spongebob Squarepants and aren’t using the friggin pedestrian crosswal—–rrrrrrrrrrRRRRRRRRRRRRAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAGE!
So, I really think it’s helping me.
Image before I typed on it.