The lady who is entirely unaware of her surroundings because she has too much stuff in the back of her Subaru and won’t take responsibility for anything under the guise of her hippy culture.
It’s a Friday afternoon, and you’re eager to get home and see your new dog, Rufoos. (You liked Rufus, but you thought Rufoos was more unique and cute, so now you have a dog named Rufoos) You’re in the middle lane, cruising at an appropriate speed of sixty-eight miles per hour. Then, you see it. As you quickly approach the slow-rolling vehicle in front of you, the belongings in the back make their presence known. An old bean bag chair scrunched up against the window. A dismantled gerbil cage. Clothes. Clothes everywhere. You look to your right. No room. You’ll have to risk it and pass through the carpool lane. You want to confirm the driver is who you have pictured in your mind, so you get right next to the dirty-green 2004 Subaru, the only thing standing between you and Rufoos, and you snap that head to the side. It’s exactly what you did or didn’t think it was. A middle-aged woman with dreadlocked hair, two hands on the wheel, an excessive lean forward, and her signature stargaze, never to be deterred. She won’t look at you. She won’t look at anything besides what lies directly in front of her. She has her foot on the gas but she’s on cruise control. She won’t be merging any time soon, and she surely won’t be speeding up.
The guy with a white lifted truck who is hanging back and not bothering anyone, but all of a sudden remembers he’s a douche and passes everyone on the right with fury.
You have hope. You have hope for the world, because the guy with the excessively lifted truck behind you is giving you a ton of space. I mean he’s hanging wayyyy back. “Huh,” you think. “Maybe not everyone who drives a monster truck on the freeway is a splintering douche canoe.” Maybe he’s enjoying the day, taking his time to get to his destination. Smelling the leaves with an open window. You usually skip this Ingrid Michaelson song, but you listen to it today, and you enjoy it. Things are okay. You check your rear-view mirror twenty seconds later, because you’re a good driver, but he’s not behind you anymore. He’s screaming up the right hand side, his diesel engine letting everyone know that he is indeed driving a large truck. You catch a glimpse of him as he hits 85 on your right, his flat bill cap with a dumb logo turning towards you as his angry eye holes look down on your normal size vehicle, his friend with massive front teeth cracking up in the passenger’s seat. You feel bad about yourself for a moment. Then you remember, it’s just a douche. It’s just a douche.
The forty year old husband who has the suburban to himself and is angry about something.
Here he cooooooomes. You thought you were going fast, but no. You weren’t going fast, because this 2009 Black Denali is absolutely barreling down on you. You know he’s going to be on your ass within seconds, but you’re unwavering. If he wants to go 95, he’ll have to go around. You may have underestimated your opponent, however; because he’s being sticky, and he’s got a scowl. Oh, he’s got a scowl. You’d think maybe he would be happy to be away from the family and have some time to himself. Possibly take a little joy ride. No, not the case. This is his time to let it all out. The anger, the regret, the resentment. He never even wanted kids. He knew she was going to want another one, too. Oh and well we have two so we might as well have three! The kids want a dog, too! Let’s get a dog, that will be fun! They said they’ll clean up after it and take it on a walk every day. Oh, did they say that hunny? Did they!? Then why aren’t they FUCKING DOING IT!? It alllllways falls back on me. You’d think you could have some gratitude, you know, considering I pay the bills and all. What would you all do without me? Huh? Huh? What would you do? You think you could just live out in the world, play your little games all day, and everyone will just hand you everything you need? Is that what you think? Because that’s not how it fucking works! Do you know what that word means? Work? Do you? Do you know what work means?
This is what’s going through his head, and you know it. You can tell by the look on his face. He’s angry and stubborn. He won’t go around. He’s probably going to run you over. You concede, and slowly merge into the middle lane. He’s by you before you even finish the merge, ready to breathe down the neck of the next innocent victim.
Anyone who drives a BMW.
Why? Why are you like this? Why are you all like this?
The soccer mom who is driving way too big of a car for anyone, is always on the phone, and throws her hands up at you after she cuts you off.
Oh god, it’s the angry guy in the suburban again. He’s approaching a little slower this time. Maybe he’s not quite as angry, you think. What the hell? Why is he veering off the road and slowing down? Oh now he’s speeding up again? Jesus, what is going on? Is he angry and drunk? Wait. The driver of this family friendly tank is an entirely different beast, you realize. It’s the other half of the angry middle-aged husband; the distressed mother. And she’s got the kids. All nineteen of them, fighting in the back of her apartment complex on wheels. She’s on the phone, and you can’t tell if she’s yelling at her friend Marcie or the kids, but she’s yelling. Her free hand should be on the wheel, but it’s flailing about, because she’s had enough.
Now she’s yelling at you. Or is she yelling at the kids? Or Marcie? She’s probably yelling at you. Ope, yup. She’s definitely yelling at you. She decides to pass you on the left now. Good, you’re exiting on the right and you can finally be rid of this imminent disaster.
What the fuck!? Wow. Unbelievable. She’s just cut you off to merge two lanes over. To top it off, she looks back at you and throws her hands up as she’s doing it, because it’s your fault. It’s always your fault. Everything. Everything is your fault.
The guy who feels the need to tail you, pass you, then continue at the same speed you were going.
I call this one Racecar Syndrome, because this guy always has to be in front of the pack. He doesn’t need to get anywhere, he’s not in a hurry, he’s not even angry. No, he just has to be in front. If he drives behind someone, it’s demeaning to his entire existence. He will not tolerate this assault on his ego. He must win. You’re going 75 in a 65, but it’s not enough. It never is. He whips around you, merges back over, and slows to 75. Now you start to feel the syndrome envelop you, too. It’s contagious. You want to pass him. You don’t need to get anywhere, you’re not in a hurry, you’re not even angry. No, you just have to be in front. More importantly, you can’t be behind this guy. You would rather be anywhere else in the world than behind this guy.
He’s slowing down, now. There’s no one around to pass. You can see his soul deflating with each mile per hour he loses. He’s gotten to the top, but fulfillment is an ephemeral game. It’s the chase he craves. He must be working towards the lead. That’s when he’s happiest. He has a purpose, a direction. He knows exactly what he wants and exactly where to go. He can feel his progress. Each new car he leaves behind makes him feel a bit better. When he has no more cars to pass, he becomes satisfied, but only for a moment. His satisfaction soon transforms into emptiness. He might as well go 65. 55. 40. 30. 15. 5…