Friday, September 25, 2009

International Car of the Asshole

There's an episode of the 1980's Twilight Zone revival where Death personified comes to town riding in a souped up white Mercedes. The writers only missed the make and model, but everything else, they nailed.

I've long suspected that when my premature death arrives, it will be at night on the Tappan Zee Bridge, and will involve another driver (or two) in either an Audi, or, more likely, a BMW. I'll never know what possesses people to drive like complete and insane maniacs in the first place, but at least in this instance there's some kind of correlation between raving A-type personalities and the cars they drive. And it almost never fails, either. If you're on Route 287 and you see a German sports sedan coming up behind you, unless you accelerate to 85 MPH, be prepared to have them less than three feet behind your bumper for the drive across Westchester County.

Too, if you're in a lane adjacent to them and a slice of space any wider than a vinyl record on edge opens up in front of or behind you, expect them to dodge into it with the suddenness of a Florida downpour. Lord knows what this is - if I were charitable, I'd say that they have utter faith in your mettle and driving skills and know that you will not momentarily lose control of your own vehicle. I suspect that the truth is that they believe that a) they are immortal, and b) you only exist in the most rudimentary sense, like a game-generated vehicle in an especially detailed version of 'Pole Position' that they're playing. No wonder they want to risk their own life, yours and many others around you - they know that when they go out in a speeding tangle of steel, rubber and black smoke, they'll just reincarnate at their last save point.

The function you serve in their lives is as an impediment to get wherever it is they're going (my guess? Scarsdale) fifteen seconds earlier. There is no higher crime than driving only five-to-ten miles per hour above the speed limit. Punishable by death, which in New York is no longer administered by electric chair or lethal injection. The chair is now actually leather, heated and the thing being injected is fuel - they are judge, jury and executioner riding not on the traditional four horses of the apocalypse, but a Car and Driver rated 250 horses.*

It is also not a trait limited to the male gender. One female driver this afternoon, in a blindingly-white BMW, was driving over seventy and dodging in and out of lanes while simultaneously texting on her red-cased iPhone. It's pleasant to think that I might eat it in a flaming wreck because Denise couldn't wait twenty minutes to tell her other friend Denise that Scott was doing that thing with his nose, again. Also, it made me think that somewhere, Jack White was happy that I'd at least go out in the proper color coordination.

It is for these situations that defensive driving was invented. Start your engines.


*That's sixty-two and a half horses each for death, plague, conquest and war!


Christine said...

I actually feel like the worst and most aggressive drivers are men in minivans. Seriously, the overcompensation is ridiculous.

Unknown said...

OR a woman in an SUV.