Friday, February 19, 2010

Babies and Road Rage

I learned to drive in NJ. And I still live in NJ. And well, NJ drivers are... well... aggressive? So I'm used to that much. I remember returning to college after summer break for my Sophomore year and I had a car on campus for the first time. I took several friends for a quick spin to show them my new ride. A few miles from the campus someone said to me "You drive crazy." I thought to myself, I don't drive crazy. I drive assertively.

You might wonder where this is going. I always wondered about road rage. I never would have said it was something that I had personally. Again, I would consider myself assertive, but in NJ unless you're assertive you'll never turn left across traffic till you're 105. But for some odd reason it changed a little when I got pregnant with E. Let's blame the hormones. But there were times when I just wanted to put the car in park, get out of my car, point at my belly and then scream "NOW YOU WANNA TALK ABOUT THIS PROBLEM WE HAVE???" And it was usually things like people cutting me off. Or once while driving to work someone was honking their horn at me because I didn't turn left fast enough for their needs. There were cars coming, what did they want me to do? Cause an accident? They wouldn't get where they were going very fast if that happened.

So after I had E, I thought it had improved. Well I'm sure it improved. But really, I hadn't left the house very much over the past 4 months. So could I really judge if my intense desire to jump out of the car and take other drivers on had passed? Probably not. Anyway... today I found out that apparently... it has not gone away.

E and I took a little trip today and on our way home at about 4 o'clock (right about rush hour in NJ) on a particularly congested stretch of NJ highway, it happened. Now I am not the perfect driver, I'll admit that. But in heavy traffic the one thing I refuse to do is tailgate, as most NJ drivers will do. In my experience, this is exactly how pileups happen. So as we were inching along (at like 45 mph) I was leaving extra space between myself and the car in front of me. Perhaps 3 car lengths. Technically by official standards that wasn't even enough for the speed we were traveling. At any rate. We were coming down a stretch of highway that always has accidents, that is full of stop lights, and traffic was heavy. In front of the car in front of me was a car, in front of that car was a car, in front of that car... well you get the drift. And other than ME, none of the cars had more than 5 ft between them. That's fine with me. They can drive how they want, but I have a little tiny baby bop in the car. I'm leaving enough space for me to stop, and heck, enough space to move forward when the idiot behind me isn't paying attention and can't stop.

So, driving along, minding my business, following the rules, leaving space between myself and the other car (especially since closing the gap wouldn't gain me anything but sitting in traffic even faster). And all of the sudden it begins. The guy behind me starts laying on his horn 4 - 5 times. I look in my rear-view mirror and can't figure out what the deal is. I look at the car closely, this area of NJ is full of volunteer rescue workers and maybe it was one of those and I had missed his lights. Nope. Didn't see lights anywhere. What was his problem? Oh well, maybe it wasn't me. Then he does it again, laying on his horn 4 - 5 times. REALLY??? I couldn't believe it. This guy was honking his horn AT ME, because I wasn't CLOSING THE GAP!?!?!?!?

He's really lucky. He's lucky we didn't get to a red light together because I desperately wanted to get out of my car, knock on his window and say "Hello, I just wanted to see what the problem is, because I have my 4 month old daughter in the car and for that reason am particularly conscious of how I am driving, and ensuring that I am driving safely. I am SURE you aren't trying to get me to tailgate so that we can be 3 car lengths closer to where you are going and still stuck in traffic? And by the way? Do you have an emergency? Because I know several cops in the state and I'd be happy to make some phone calls to help you with this emergency? " "Oh, no emergency? IN THAT CASE... I know several cops in the state and I will find someone who knows someone who works in the jurisdiction we are in, and I will have you pulled over before you hit the next township for aggressive driving. NOW, that we cleared that up, I hope you feel much better. I certainly do. You have a wonderful day and a fabulous weekend." And then march back to my car and get back in and take off at the now green light.

Ok I would never actually do that, as I mentioned, I live in NJ. If I had done that here in NJ, knowing my luck the guy would have pulled out a weapon. OH well. At any rate I fumed the whole ride home and complained to everyone I could find to complain to about it. That is my story for the day. I really hate nasty drivers. I know they exist here in NJ, but honking your horn while sitting in traffic just pushed me over the limit today.

Should anyone wonder, E was oblivious to the entire situation. She slept through the whole thing. Good thing too, otherwise I would have had to add to my speech: "AND she was napping but your horn honking has now woken her up and she is now screaming hysterically!" But she didn't, so in my daydream I didn't have to add that.

Anyway - food for thought! I hope all the Mommies and Daddies are ready for the weekend. And remember when you're driving that you have no idea what little ones are in the car next to you. So make sure we're all careful! And it's just the worst when you're wondering while driving "Who dropped the pacifier?"

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