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Maybe I really do have a death wish...

On the drive in to work this morning, I got stuck behind a left-lane squatter. I waited a while, then gave up and started to pass him on the right. (This was on a divided highway, of course.) As I pulled even with him, he sped up. I looked over and saw he was glaring at me, (presumably) shouting obscenities at me for having the gall to want to go faster than he thought I should.

I thought about responding in kind, but I happen to have several very devout Christian friends. At that moment I found myself channeling their deep love and tolerance for fellow human beings, and simply couldn't flip him off. So, in the spirit of brotherhood, I blew him a kiss.

For some reason, that infuriated him even more than my trying to pass him. His face turned a few more shades of red, the movements of his face increased in violence, and he actually flipped me off.

I was hurt he misunderstood my reaching out to him in love and acceptance. Perhaps he just needed the message made more clear. I blew him another kiss, and this time I tossed in some tongue action.

Just then I realized just how dangerous a predicament I had gotten myself into. This psycho was in a minivan, and I was in a subcompact. He was a left-lane squatter, which meant he was also probably a passive-aggressive with a potentially violent temper. Also, he was older and had handicapped plates, which meant he possibly had very little to live for. I quietly slowed down, allowed a few cars to build up between us, and got off at the next exit (after making sure he didn't).

But damn, it was fun.

J.


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Comments (32)

I'm surprised he even notic... (Below threshold)
Rodney Dill:

I'm surprised he even notice you passing on the right. Most 'left-lane' squatters aren't gifted with transparent rectums.

That probably earned you so... (Below threshold)
Omni:

That probably earned you some bad karma, but it was still pretty funny, lol.

Years ago before the Safety... (Below threshold)

Years ago before the Safety Nazis imposed the Double Nickel on America, highways and interstates were festooned with signs proclaiming "Slower Traffic Keep Right." There was also lane discipline, which generally assured that slower drivers stayed out of the way of faster drivers. Oh how I long for the return of those signs and that discipline ... Or a megaphone with which to ask present-day Left Lane Bandits to "Please Stop Being Obnoxious or Unconscious or Whatever it is that Makes You Drive Like a Moron in the Left Lane."

Throwing kisses usually wor... (Below threshold)

Throwing kisses usually works for me...hmmm.. maybe you should consider going blonde?

BWAHAHAHAHA!!!!!!!! I will... (Below threshold)
DragonLady:

BWAHAHAHAHA!!!!!!!! I will have to remember that technique. :-)

Smart thing, letting the as... (Below threshold)
Beth:

Smart thing, letting the asshat go on his way. I had a similar situation on the Beltway in DC but I actually got run off the road from the right lane (when he violently headed off my pass), bounced off the guardrail and spun out into four lanes of Beltway traffic. Needless to say my car was completely destroyed, but I (fortunately) walked away with a broken arm and a bloody nose from the airbag. Miraculously, I only managed to spin into two other cars with little more than a dent to them (one being the effing asshole who ran me off the road into the shoulder!).

Here's something you REALLY ought to buy...
(spew alert)

Road Rage Cards!

I wish I had 'em when I lived in DC!

BTW, I used to flash the mo... (Below threshold)
Beth:

BTW, I used to flash the morons a stupid peace sign with an obnoxious grin or making a silly face at them, but only because I had to purge flipping them off due to the presence of my daughter. Sometimes making them laugh made them settle down!

As I pulled even with hi... (Below threshold)

As I pulled even with him, he sped up.

People have done that to me too, and not only when I'm passing them on the right. This is metro Atlanta, after all.

Of course, I drive a truck with a big-block V8, so whenever I see that start to happen I make the jump to hyperspace and leave them behind.

What? Oh, about 13.5 miles per gallon -- why do you ask?

Didn't anybody ever tell yo... (Below threshold)

Didn't anybody ever tell you? No tongues on the first date! ;-)

A much needed break after reading info about the Netherlands baby-killing hospital.

You know, I sometimes actua... (Below threshold)

You know, I sometimes actually like to left-lane squat when I've got a real jerk behind me. If someone rides my tail (at 70-75 mph in a 65 zone) because I'm not getting to a point where I can safely get in the right lane, they'll be waiting a long time for me to slide over. If someone swerves in and out of traffic because they can't wait for people to move over, I'll try to piss them off if I can do so safely. It's more of a passive-aggressive thing since I don't take crazy chances.

I wouldn't do what the guy in Jay's story, though. If the road's open, I move over in time, and if someone passes me on the right (which usually only happens if they are already speeding in the right lane, but sometimes I forget to check the rear view mirrors), I don't speed up.

Yup, been there.I ... (Below threshold)

Yup, been there.

I especially love the logic used in the last paragraph. That's classic!

Love your enemies. It ma... (Below threshold)

Love your enemies. It makes them so damned mad.

(source forgotten)

E. Nough, Do you m... (Below threshold)
TEM:

E. Nough,

Do you mean the Oscar Wilde quote "Always forgive your enemies, nothing annoys them as much" ?

Anyway, good story Jay.

I was once almost run off t... (Below threshold)

I was once almost run off the road by an old guy driving a car with an "Arthur Murray School of Dance" bumper sticker. Not proud of it, but there you have it.

Here in Louisiana, it's now... (Below threshold)
Cybrludite:

Here in Louisiana, it's now against the law to piddle along in the left lane.

"A Positive attitude won't ... (Below threshold)
Rodney Dill:

"A Positive attitude won't solve all your problems, but it will piss enough people off to make it worth the effort."

;)

At risk of being politicall... (Below threshold)
LJD:

At risk of being politically incorrect and pissing off those who probably deserve to be...

Is a handicapped license plate in NH what you get after FAILING the driver's test? Time and time again, I see someone doing something dangerous, they have that little chair on their plate...

The other side of the lane-squatter is the driver who has to be FIRST, regardless of traffic conditions. While driving 87 from New York last weekend, I was in the passing lane, with many cars in front of me. Some type "A" dick with NJ plates is going to switch lanes back and forth, looking for a one car length opening. He can see that there are cars ahead of me, passing the car on the right. He speeds up to try to force his way in ahead of me. So I speed up. Fuck him. I don't want him one inch off my front bumper.

'Love your enemies." That ... (Below threshold)

'Love your enemies." That part was Christ.

You guys! Driving is not a sport or competition! No wonder everyone gets stressed out. Turn up some good music get in the right lane and chill.
Life is too short to worry about jerk drivers.

Apparently I'm not the only... (Below threshold)

Apparently I'm not the only the only one who finds they need Jesus most when in traffic.

(green tea and theanine also help)

LJD:Maybe it has s... (Below threshold)

LJD:

Maybe it has something to do with cause and effect (i.e., bad driver = serious injuries).

I will never forget the lad... (Below threshold)
-S-:

I will never forget the lady driving a grey Mercedes 500 or somewhere in that huge vacinity, with vanity plates that read "CBSLAWYER" or maybe it was "CBS COUNSEL" ... just driving along at 55 mph "teaching the world a lesson" on the 405 going south from L.A. all the way to Orange County, just monoplizing the left lane the whole, blasted way at 55 mph.

ANYone who drives the 405, either north or south, knows that the standard of driving is "whatever the speed of traffic is" and that's almost always something around 70 - 75 mph, or even more if the Highway Patrol don't stop you. As it is, they stop people driving too slowly on the 405 but in my many years of travelling the 405 north and south to and from L.A. and Orange County, the Highway Patrol usually cruise along with everyone else, and that's at around 70 mph.

But, there was this "CBS" "attorney," in her almost certainly CBS-paid big ole' grey Mercedes, monopolizing the left hand lane at her 55 mph standard, for hours.

I love a Mercedes of any model and color (I really do) but some people should never, ever drive those vehicles, because they just make a very bad presentation, such as did that passive agressive CBS attorney. Oh, did I write here that she was a CBS attorney? That she worked for CBS? As an attorney?

Argh, typos: passive aggr... (Below threshold)
-S-:

Argh, typos: passive aggressive.

As I have gotten older, I d... (Below threshold)
LJD:

As I have gotten older, I drive a lot more laid back than when I was a lad... (Kids these days!) That said, I get extremely pissed when some one's big fat hurry puts me or my family in jeopary. Getting over and taking it slow is not always an option. It's not a game or sport: it's sheer survival.

In MA, you have to drive to stay alive. Try getting on 95 from a ramp that curves until you're actually on the freeway. Four or five lanes wide, some idiot (who CAN SEE YOU attempting to get on the freeway) flies by in the right hand lane doing 90 mph. It is physically impossible to drive more than 55 mph on the ramp without flipping the vehicle. You do the math.

After reading these comment... (Below threshold)

After reading these comments, I think I will stop complaining about Louisiana and Texas drivers!

I will cruise in the left l... (Below threshold)

I will cruise in the left lane when there's more traffic in the other lanes than I want to deal with, but I'm always watching my rearview, and if someone turns up behind me wanting to go faster than I am, I get selfish.

I figure, if the speed I'm doing isn't enough for the guy behind me, it's safer for me to get out of his way and let him get on down the road, than to stay put and make him mad enough that he might do something that could get both of us in an accident.

I admit it -- I don't care enough about his safety to try to slow him down, and I don't care enough about the safety of the next guy up ahead who might not be smart enough to move over.

I'm a selfish bastard when I'm driving.

LJD:Yep, there's a... (Below threshold)

LJD:

Yep, there's a reason the #1 cause of death for 18-25 yr olds is car accidents.

They can give tickets for i... (Below threshold)
jp:

They can give tickets for impeding traffic or post minimum speed limit signs like in Texas, but those darn police are never around when you need them. Still, a story that will have me snickering throughout the day. Thanks!

jp

Sounds like some of your re... (Below threshold)
carguy:

Sounds like some of your readers don't understand that in most states: "THE LEFT LANE IS FOR PASSING." I don't know about every state, but its the law here at least.

You guys can justify it all you want... if you're sitting in the left lane with your cruise control on, and not looking in your mirror, you need to move over. I don't care how old you are, or how you think somebody else is "endangering" you. You're the one breaking the law, and worse, being DAMN RUDE.

Nothing is more irritating than sitting behind somebody for several miles in a lineup just sub the speed limit, then they look up and realize they are impeding traffic, only to speed up to just the speed limit and go back into zombie mode. (usually dropping back below the speed limit within a few minutes).

In a perfect world, everybody who wants to go faster than me is in front of me, and everyone who wants to go slower is behind.

The same thing happened to ... (Below threshold)
Shana Barrow:

The same thing happened to me Tuesday afternoon. Wouldn't let me pass, sped up when I tried to get into the lane, so I did some maneuvering and managed to finally get in front of his sorry ass. He had a whole line of cars behind him, too - and he flashed his fucking high beams at me for finally bypassing him. I just kept going, but I'd do it again if I had to. Squatting pissants.

Smart move getting off at t... (Below threshold)
Lastango:

Smart move getting off at the exit, Jay. Live long and prosper. One never knows what a seemingly-mainstream crank who is looking to settle a lifetime of scores will do if he sees a chance to act under what he knows will be ambiguous circumstances.

I dunno about everywhere el... (Below threshold)

I dunno about everywhere else, but here in southern VA we just call it 'the fast lane'. I personally don't care if someone's cruising in the left, but they had better either be going at a decent rate or getting off... On the other hand, half the time here the middle lane is going faster...

Here's a technique that wor... (Below threshold)
Dub Dublin:

Here's a technique that works *way* better than blowing a kiss, for both sexes - I have to give credit to my Mom for this one - she came up with it years ago:

When you make eye-contact with the driver acting as a jerk it will often be right around the time they flip you off - What you want to do is flash a "look of recognition" and a friendly/cheerful wave at them - if they have just flipped you off, then a look of recoil in surprise/hurt may be in order, AFTER the look of recognition.

Playing with the timing is great fun here - the effect is absolutely devastating if you practice your timing so that you can be in "recognition look" simultaneously with them flipping you off. Thier reactions can often nearly cause an accident either inside or outside their car, as they wonder the following: Oh NO! Who is that? Why did I do that? I just flipped off someone that knows me, and they looked like such a nice person, too! Depending on thier ego, self-centeredness, and degree of need for approval from others, this move can keep them paralyzed for several exits, and quite possibly ruin their day.

The next moves can vary a lot. You can either make a quick off-and-on move at the next ramp letting their own conscience eat at them, knowing that the minute or so it cost you is more than compensated by their mental anguish, or aAlternatively, you can take the bold approach and see if they shame themselves into a hasty exit at the next opportunity in an attempt to escape being near you. Of course ther are many variations, but the end goal of each is the same - to let the other driver's disapproval of himself FAR outweigh any disapproval you could express.

I think gals have a little easier time with this one, but it works for us guys, too. My Mom has used it for years, and claims that it works best with other women with that cheerful and slightly air-headed greeting style sorority girls use between themselves. It works only slightly less effectively with a man doing it, so long as you avoid blowing kisses, since that just makes you look gay. (And yes, as a matter of fact, there's pretty much everything wrong with that...)

Have Fun!




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