Thursday, November 29, 2007

You might be an asshole

Sometimes I park in handicapped spaces,
While handicapped people make handicapped faces
I’m an asshole (he’s an asshole, what an asshole)
I’m an asshole (he’s a real f**king asshole)

- by Dennis Leary, The Asshole Song

They say road rage is becoming more of a problem on our highways everywhere. More and more state jurisdictions are trying to crack down on aggressive driving and road rage. Ten states -- Arizona, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Maryland, Nevada, North Carolina, Rhode Island, Utah and Virginia -- have enacted laws making "aggressive driving" a specific offense. The penalty can be up to six months in jail and a $1,000 fine while aggressive driving with intent to injure another person is punishable by up to a year in jail and a $2,500 fine. While aggressive drivers are a huge problem, causing deaths and injuries every year, I’d also like to put some blame on the enablers.

Lately driving is no longer at all pleasurable. The reason is that there are a hell of a lot more assholes on the road driving these days. Rude, obnoxious, nasty, self-centered drivers who have no consideration for anyone else traveling along with them. All I know is getting in my car to drive anywhere these days puts me in a bad mood. Traffic is difficult enough to deal with without the added aggravations of stupid selfish drivers. That’s right, I said it. Stupid and selfish = Asshole. I believe that asshole drivers enable people to lose their minds when they are driving. In no way shape or form am I condoning aggressive driving or road rage. Not at all, I’m just saying that I can understand why people lose their minds on the road when they have to deal with asshole drivers. Perhaps people need to recognize what it is they are doing that makes them an asshole driver. Here is my pick for behavior that drives me crazy. Feel free to add yours.

  1. If you do not have any kind of infirmity that I can see which would prohibit your mobility, but you like to park in handicapped spaces, you might be an asshole.
  2. If you notice suddenly that you are about to miss your exit or street and veer across 3 or 4 lanes, cutting people short, blocking their way and otherwise making life miserable for everyone else in your haste to make the exit you should have just missed, you might be an asshole.
  3. If you actually miss your exit on the highway or your turn off a street and instead of going to the next exit or next street corner, you decide to drive in reverse regardless of oncoming traffic, you are most definitely an asshole.
  4. If you drive a huge ass SUV that you can barely control so that when you are driving, you take up two lanes of traffic, and then you compound it by talking on the phone, putting on lipstick or mascara or any other activity that requires you to take one hand off the steering wheel, then you might be an asshole.
  5. If the sight of someone’s blinker drives your adrenaline up so much that you must speed up and stop them from getting in front of you, even if all they were doing was trying to merge onto the highway or get off the highway, then you might be an asshole.
  6. If you like to cut people off so close and so short with no warning (like using the blinker you moron!) whatsoever so that you cause them to veer, stop short and possibly have an accident, then you might be an asshole.
  7. If you like to tail people really close and find yourself leaning on your car horn excessively, you might be an asshole.
  8. If you like to sit in the left lane and drive at or below speed regardless of all the people lining up behind you, you might be an asshole.
  9. If you love your car so much that you park in such a manner that it becomes impossible for anyone to park in the last remaining spot which happens to be next to your lame ass Toyota Camry. (It’s not like it’s a f**king Bentley or something. Get over yourself!) You might be an asshole.
  10. If you unknowingly park in such a manner that it becomes impossible for anyone to park in the last remaining spot which happens to be next to your lame ass minivan or SUV and you can see that you parked badly but still walk away, you might be an asshole.
  11. If you tend to brake a lot while driving so that your passengers feel like they are going to hurl, you are probably not an asshole, just a really bad driver.
  12. If the subwoofer in your car causes my car to violently tremble in time to your music when you pull up next to me, so that all your seismic movement has shaken my bladder to the point of making me want to go pee, you might be an asshole.
  13. If you do not stop, yield or pull over for an ambulance, fire engine or school bus, you are really an asshole.
  14. If you have a confederate flag hanging or painted anywhere on your pick up truck along with specially rigged rifle and fishing pole holders, you might be a redneck asshole.
  15. If you check and answer emails on your blackberry or IM on your cell phone while you are driving, then you are a dangerous asshole.

If only we could get the asshole drivers on the road, driving might or might not be safer, but it will definitely be more pleasurable again.


Anonymous said...

Fantastic. Cracks me up in places. It's an international phenomenon I'd guess.

Church Lady said...

LOL! You are right!

I never understood the psychology behind number 5. It stumps me. I swear, every single time I put my blinker on to switch lanes, I see the people in the next lane speeding up. WTF? Why?

I love the redneck asshole one too. That was funny.

I actually haven't seen people park in handicapped places around here. Perhaps the ticket fine is too high. I don't know...

Is there a videoclip somewhere to go with this?

pacatrue said...

My pet driving peeve is also similar to the blinker one. You're driving along and come to a slower car, so you put on your blinker to go smoothly around -- which is when the asshole behind you slams the petal to the metal and cuts you off. I was in a bad mood a few days ago and actually flipped someone off who did this to me. You must understand that I've only employed the mighty bird under 10 times in my life.

Bernita said...

Not "might" about it.
Those who will not give way to emergency vehicles turn my crank the hardest.
Followed by those who do not signal, those who signal left and turn right, those who follow too close and those who will not dim their freaking headlights.

strugglingwriter said...

Good list, although I don't think you need the gun rack or fishing pole holders for #14 to apply (especially if you live in the North).

Sarah Hina said...

If you drive a Hummer, you are definitely an asshole.

Funny list, Ello!

Patti said...

so many assholes, so few stun guns...

preTzel said...

You forgot one of my biggest pet peeves:

If you do not buckle your children in or put small children (under 12) in the front seat you *are* an asshole.

I can't stand it when I see someone driving with their children B - bopping all over in the car. It's even worse when the parent is going 65 mph down a freeway or highway. Or yakking on the phone.

And what about the idiots that put their small kids UP FRONT where there is an AIRBAG! GRRR!

I also can't stand it when someone is driving and reaches to whack their kid. Fuckers. Shouldn't be whacking their kid anyway!

Anonymous said...

It's mainly the aggression/selfishness that gets me. I believe every driver has a responsibility to make traffic move more smoothly. In that regard, being too nice can be a problem. For example, jamming on the brakes to let a person in the opposite lane make a left turn can be a problem, especially when that waiting driver's brain is wired to wait for a natural opening. It can mess up the whole works in both directions.

Colleen_Katana said...

Yep, you covered them all. Especially number 5. It kills me. Or it kills me when people just don't use their blinkers at all. Or if there's a long line of traffic to get off at an exit and someone uses the left lane to cut in front of everyone who had been waiting patiently for their turn. And THEN you're causing traffic in both lanes as opposed to just one.

Vesper said...

Good post, Ello! I'm totally with you on this one. What about those who just crawl down on a street where you cannot pass them and then, at the very last moment, cross the intersection on the yellow traffic light, leaving you to look at a very nice red?
I'm sorry, but such behaviour can make someone become aggressive. :-)

Akasha Savage said...

I agree with every single one of those absolutely. Definitely must be an international phenomenon as wayne said, coz all that happens here in the UK too. The trouble's this sort of behaviour that brings out my road rage!

Charles Gramlich said...

Amen! I'm getting so sick of inconsiderate drivers. Despite the fact that I'm trying to control my frustration to keep my blood pressure down, I find myself so irritated at the thoughtlessness of so many.

Conduit said...

Far too many "mights" in this list. All definites if you ask me. Here are a few more...

If you are unable to drive in or around the speed limit in appropriate conditions, then you shouldn't be driving at all. ANd you're an asshole.

When you're finished at the supermarket, and leave your trolley in a parking space rather than wheel it ten feet to the bay provided, then you're an asshole.

If you're driving a tractor or other slow vehicle and don't pull onto the hard shoulder to let that mile-long string of traffic pass, then you're an asshole.

And I could go on, but I can feel my blood pressure rising as I type. There are a couple of specific places around where I live that really get me. There's on place that has a long filter lane to take drivers to another town and many, many assholes who really want to be in the other lane go speeding up it to pass other cars, and then wonder why people are reluctant to let them back in to THE BLOODY LANE THEY SHOULD HAVE BEEN IN IN THE FIRST PLACE!!!

Or there's the junction I have to drive through every day where drivers somehow lose the ability to tell left from right, and forget which side of the bloody road we drive on.

Grrrrrr. Thanks a lot, Ello, I need a lie down now!


Mary Witzl said...

You're really singing my song here too. Partly because I waited so long to learn, then took such a long time to pass, I take driving much more seriously than a lot of people I know. I still make mistakes; a few nights ago, I forgot to turn off my high beams once and felt awful about it. I always wish I could get out and personally apologize, but I just make a concerted effort not to forget the next time.

Like Pretzel, I can't bear seeing people who haven't secured their children in seatbelts or child seats, and able-bodied people who park in the disabled section make my blood boil. Last year, my daughter and I saw a well-dented van parked broadside across two disabled spaces, and the driver looked in no way disabled. I could have wept when I found out that my daughter's cell phone camera did not work; I'd happily have sent a picture of that van to the police with a detailed letter.

The Anti-Wife said...

I think we should have lanes just for assholes - like carpool lanes. It would be interesting to see them fight it out.

Here's one more:
If you block traffic for five minutes trying to parallel park in a space that's too small for you, you're probably an asshole.

preTzel said...

LOL anti - wife! The "asshole" lane. LOLOL! I'd love to see that. "Please move to the left if you're an asshole." ROFLMAO!!! I'm seriously wondering if they will let me get a license plate that says "F*CK*FF". I don't think they will but I sure would like one.

Conduit ---

"There's on place that has a long filter lane to take drivers to another town and many, many assholes who really want to be in the other lane go speeding up it to pass other cars, and then wonder why people are reluctant to let them back in to THE BLOODY LANE THEY SHOULD HAVE BEEN IN IN THE FIRST PLACE!!!"

Amen! OMG! We have this on our newly reconstructed freeway. There is an "exit only" lane that stretches for about 3 miles. People in a hurry go up that and then STOP so they can cut in to rush hour traffic because it's OH SO IMPORTANT to be FIVE cars AHEAD! What does that do? Slows the whole damn freeway down. Mr. preTzel was telling me to "calm down" on the way home the other night and I said "I'll calm down when these fuckers get a brain." Looks like I might need a "lie down" too. LOL!

Melissa Marsh said...

Great. Now I have Dennis Leary's song going through my mind! (my husband has this album, so I've heard this song many, many times!)

cyn said...

i am an asshole.

i've been known to purposefully
slow down when someone tailgaits
me on the freeway. =X

but mostly, i'm a cusser
of assholes.

i'm grateful i do not live
in the uk where they have
"roundabouts". i'd be an asshole
every day in the uk. those
things confound me like the
4 way stop confounds my english
husband. haha!

Merry Jelinek said...

First of all, the post and all the comments had me nodding my head and laughing out loud in spots.

Just like trolling online, people get less respectful of those around them when there's something big to hide behind, a big old box of metal (or plastic these days) and wheels...

I hate hate hate seeing able bodied people parked in the handicapped lane, or double parked in bad wheather when the little old lady has to totter her ass a half a mile in the sleet while joe jag off jumps out of his warm beamer right under the awning of the grocery store where they parked illegally - not that he gives a rats ass about the ticket he'll never even get...

But on the other end of the great handicap gripe - my husband got run over by an industrial sized forklift last year, which crushed his foot... three surgeries and a bunch of casts later, and he looks pretty normal - though that foot's a full size bigger and the longer he walks on it the more pronounced his limp gets by the end of the day... He did get the handicapped placard, but he wouldn't use it because he didn't feel like he needed it as much as other people...

There was one day where his foot was bothering him really bad after the last surgery and a really rigorous therapy session, the only spot was more than two blocks away so he caved and used one of five open handicapped spots (with the state issued permit, mind you) Like I said, once the casts were off, you really couldn't tell he was injured, unless you were actually looking at his bare foot, which is not pretty, even now. He had little old ladies and every idiot on the block glowering at him and flipping him off for the same reason you all get incensed... okay, and I would have too if I hadn't seen it happen to him...

The point of the story is this, most of the time you might be right to think these guys are assholes... but how bad would you feel about swearing at the guy in the handicapped space if you saw a prosthetic leg...

I try not to throw stones when I can help it, I'm living in my own glass house after all.

Ello said...

I should really revise my list as there were so many good ones that I clearly skipped. Really good ones camp up and I have more!

How about people who are clearly only one person and yet they are driving in the HOV lanes - which if anyone doesn't know are lanes strictly for people carpooling! Also people who put on their hazards and speed down the shoulder in order to avoid traffic and then cuts up way ahead. Bah, the list goes on and on!

SmartlikeStreetcar said...

This time last year, a pickup truck with four teenagers almost ran us off the road when they tried to pass, even though the passing lane ended. I was furious, as we had taken our friends' kids for the weekend, so the yahoos had endangered their lives, too. If I hadn't been alert and driving defensively, we would have been hurt, or worse.

Anger filled me, so I gave them the finger. Then the real fun began. They slowed down and shouted obscenities at the car. They punched their hands, and pointed at each exit, trying to goad me into joining them for a good thrashing. They slowed down to a crawl, trying to force me to pass. Over and over, for 30 miles. Four teenagers, but not one with an ounce of sense.

Couldn't they do the math? Four them, one of me. Two kids (6 and 3) and my wife in the car. What did they really expect me to do? Would they have had the same bravado had I been traveling with four friends?

I'm not a violent man, so I wouldn't have followed them to the exit, even if I had been alone, or with my buddies. But I'm also an instructor in Shotokan karate, so it might not have gone quite the way they intended. (Although very few black belts could handle four guys at once, if they wanted to go that way).

But I guess this is why God invented cell phones. We didn't have one, and it would have been fun to convince them that I'd join them at exit 7, only to deliver them into the hands of the RCMP!

I'm thinking they might have been assholes!

Demon Hunter said...

Ello, I saw you on David's blog and I must agree, especially with this one: "If you have a confederate flag hanging or painted anywhere on your pick up truck along with specially rigged rifle and fishing pole holders, you might be a redneck asshole."

LOL. Too funny. Have you been to my hometown. I live in the only state that still flies the confederate flag at the state house. (S.C.) It's usually shotguns with the stickers, though. They always say that it's not racist, but the flag stickers usually include, "I like cotton" and other offensive things.

Danette Haworth said...

I know this is an old post, but I just came across it and it made me laugh!

I live off a major dingle-lane road on which the speed limit is 55mph. Inevitably, I get stuck behind drivers doing 40 mph. The strange thing is that when the single lane opens up to a double lane and I'm getting ready to pass them, they suddenly find their gas pedal and hit 55.