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11/17/2006

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jenny

[this is good] This is why I'm so glad I can take the subway.

angelanoel

[this is good] Sounds like the 405 here! When I get on the highway to go home from work, I have to merge three lanes in under a mile just to not get off at the next exit. The first lane's easy but the other two..ugh. I'm a total chicken when it comes to merging so I always barely get in. And when someone actually lets me over I wave like they've done me a favor by not hitting me.

Doc Paradox

[this is good] I 3 NY!! Nine years in the DC Metro Area and the Capitol Beltway taught me to hate, hate,
HATE driving (or sitting around angry in a goddamn idling car,
surrounded by other angry assholes in goddamn idling cars, with the
opening tune from Office Space going through my head repeatedly.) Sure,
I pay a ton in rent but when I consider I don't have to shell out for a
car payment, insurance, gas, tolls, maintenance/repairs,
parking/speeding tickets, registration, I'm actually ahead of the
game... I so LOVE not having to support a car.

Mark

This morning some child of a lesser god got very close to changing lanes right into me, while in the act oftraversing three lanes to get to an exit he'd apparently only just decided to take. What went through my mind was very far from the theme from "The Office". But he was clearly a young kid without a lot of money. I have less tolerance forUrban Assault Vehicledriversand their ilk behaving like the overcompensating nanodicks we all suspect they are.

It's Come To This...

[this is good] but, when you consider how truly dysfunctional most of the population
is, it's amazing we do as well as we do on the road. That a
sociopath can have a perfect driving record... weird.

Papi Chulo

A couple of weeks ago, I was turning on to Octavia from Oak Street to get on 101. There are two lanes that turn on to that street, but for some reason, there are always a bunch of idiots in the right lane of forward traffic that have decided at that point that they need to cut in and make the turn. But, the traffic is always backed up to turn, so they have to inch in, while people behind them lay on their horns. This particular day, I was in the left of the two turning lanes and they were actually moving towards the light. A guy charged up next to me from the left with his signal on. Seeing as how I was moving, I figured I'd just keep going the speed I was going and let him merge in wherever he fit. I should point out that I was on a motorcycle at the time, and I'd moved over to the right to make it easier for him to merge in behind me if he wanted. He didn't like my plan, so instead he laid on his horn, threw the wheel and quickly occupied my lane, forcing me to straddle the line between the two lanes as I made the turn. That was attempt on my life number one. Moments later, as everyone's speeding up the ramp on to the actual freeway, I notice the guy in front of me shooting me the bird via his rearview mirror (BANK SHOT! NICE!!) I can't figure out what his problem is as I've had no encounter with him at all. The only thing I can think of is that he's pissed at me because he thinks it was him I was honking at when the first guy tried to kill me (and my bike has a really loud horn that startles people), or because my bike sits so tall, he thinks I'm tailgating him. This is rush hour on the freeway, so I'm a little close, but not up his ass. Anyway, traffic slows near the I-80/101 split as people try to figure out where they're going. I let someone merge in front of me, and behind Bank Shot Bird dude, and then traffic getting on 80 comes to a stop. I believe this was the first day that Oracle had their way with downtown traffic, so there was a lot of confusion. As traffic stops, I move over to split lanes so I can keep on going to my destination. This is very common and very safe and is actually endorsed by highway patrol as a way of alleviating congestion. Well, Bank Shot Bird is having none of it. He steers his car to the right of the lane and in to my path so he can block me. I actually had to skid to avoid hitting him. Fortunately, the lane next to me has enough space that after a second I can go around him, and I'm all good again. Attempt on my life #2. A bit further up the road, traffic is moving again, but there is some sort of altercation between a delivery truck and a car. I don't know what the nature of this altercation is, but it causes the truck, who is in front of me, to jump one lane to the right and speed up to get next to the car. Once in position, the driver of the truck throws... I shit you not... a bagel (complete with cream cheese) at the car. Well, since we're all going 60 mph at this point, he misses completely. The bagel bounces off the pavement and one half ricochets up and smacks my helmet dead on. I normally ride with my face shield on my helmet up, but it was a bit chilly that day so I had it down. It's a good thing, as I'm sure a sticky bagel to the face would have made me lose the bike. Attempt #3. After that, I only had a quarter mile or so before I got to the off ramp and was pretty safe. The stretch of road covered by these three incidents is about two miles tops and takes about 4 or 5 minutes to travel. I seriously though the universe was trying to kill me and then I remembered that it was just a normal day on a California freeway.

karen

Holy shit, Steve. I am happy to hear you came out of that in one piece. Xav and I were on his bike for the first couple of years of being together, and I was amazed at how people would actually try to kill us. It's as if we offended them by being on a bike and going faster than them.
Keep that visor down and that strap tight, buddy.

Sooz

[this is good] I was going to comment about how funny you are.
Then I read Pants Party's post. Now that was funny. In a black humor kind of way.
But really, Karen. You are funny too. I swear! ;-

Paul

'Tis the season for double dog dares. Thanks for kicking it off.

Papi Chulo

It's nutty, dude. But, for as crazy dangerous as it is here, it's not as bad as the other cities I've ridden in. In Phoenix, everyone's in a vehicle that's at least 14 feet tall. Their windows are all tinted dark and rolled up. The roads are all four lanes in each direction with 45 mph speed limits, which means everyone's doing 60. AND, it's still enough of a sort of southern mentality that when jocky college kids see you on your faggy little scooter, it's still funny to them to chuck a full beer at your head to see if they can knock you off. In Seattle, for as much as it rains there, every year when the three weeks of sunshine ends ALL HELL BREAKS LOOSE. You'd think it was live babies falling from the sky the way they drive in it. God forbid a snowflake makes an appearance. The first year I was there it snowed an inch one day and people actually abandoned their cars on the freeway. Translate that level of skill to a bunch of people that live in little towns but commute to the small and confusing streets of the Big City, add like 16 hours of darkness during the winter, and that's Scooter Death Zone. I rode in Manhattan once for a weekend. Not a day goes by that I don't consider myself lucky for surviving those three days. I gotta quit hijacking your comments with my tales of road rage. Sorry about that :)

karen

Steve, you can hijack my comments any time. You're really just egging me on.
Tonight's ride home made me need to add an addendum:
If you are trying to merge, just freaking do it. Don't ask permission or count on the kindness of strangers. Anyone who knows me will tell you I am not that nice. I am not going to step on the brake to allow you the 50 feet you seem to feel you need to get onto the freeway. I am not going send you a printed invitation that says "come on in!" I will allow you to merge if you enter with the flow of traffic. It's really not that difficult, I promise.
Also, to Mark's point, if you misse your exit, deal with it and catch the next one. Freeway exits come pretty regularly.You'll really be late for your meeting if you're dead.
Lastly, when a lane is ending and we all have to merge left, DO NOT MERGE EARLY. Certainly do not stop traffic, turn on your blinker and wait for room to get in early. If you will notice, those cars are stopped. This lane, before you tried to merge out of it, was moving. The end of a lane is a mandatory merge. Hold onto your wad and wait for it.

Michael Sippey

scene: back of a cab that's barreling down 7th avenue in manhattan doing about 50, moving in and out of lanes at will, timing lights perfectly. me: do you ever use your turn signal?him: no. that's what the accelerator's for.

Indy

Your stories are great! I only go to Chicago about once every two years and cosider myself lucky to live in the country. I consider it heavy traffic when I am in a line of five cars on my little two lane state highway:))Out in the boonieshere we have our special brand of nuts. The guy at the back of the line (all are going the speed limit or a bit above), decides to pass on the curve.This idiot makes it about two cars up and has to slice in between cars two and three to avoid being transformed into paste by the 18 wheeler haulin hogs! Cars three and four which have now become four and five slam on their brakes and headfor the shoulders to avoid intimate contact with the hogs. We all manage to do this without setting our coffee mugs down or even opening our eyes too far. This always happens in pitch dark on the way to work. grrrrr
Last week we had a semi roll on its side and let about 35 full grown cows out on the toll road bypass. That was fun!

Jasra

[this is good]

Winnower

[this is good] That is a hilarious and way too acurate description!!

Bookmole

[this is good] I don't drive so I have to experience all this and without control. I don't drive because every time, every single time, I have started to learn, I have wiped out a car - mine, not someone else, thank god. I think it's God's way of saying We have enough blind idiots who can't drive on the road already, thanks. So I took the hint and quit trying.

Cri de Coeur

[this is good] So very very very true. I positively loved this.

Tripp

Found your blog via Raf.I couldn't agree more. We're proponents of the alternate merge theory.First you, then me and if everyone in the line keeps alternating, the traffic flows smoother and we all get where we're going a heck of a lot happier.

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