Things That Cause My Road Rage (Part 1)

The number of road rage deaths in America is gradually rising. Americans overall seem to be getting angrier. Maybe it has something to do with our president and his trash-slinging Twitter fingers. Or maybe with the increasing pressures to be more politically correct, so as not to offend a country full of cry babies, we’ve lost our outlets to release pent up emotions. Whatever the reason, people are getting riled up. And the two things that upset them the most: racially insensitive assholes and dumb-ass drivers.

But we’re not going to talk about race today, because everything’s not always about color, right? *rolls eyes*

I want to talk about the things that really grind my gears about driving around on these pothole-riddled roads in this great land of ‘Merica. It’s taken me a while to come up with this list. Every time I think I’m ready, another road rage incident falls into my lap. Never a dull moment on these highways and byways. So let’s call this post Part 1 of an on-going list. While I would never pull up on someone at a red light, with a Glock in the glove compartment, finger on the trigger, I have been guilty of hailing F-bombs out the window when someone cuts me off.

I’ve got to do better. But maybe writing will help me to manage my anger?

This post is simply for the purpose of humor, not to further provoke any of you angry people out there, or to give you any ideas. So for the love of God, chillax and have a laugh at the things that cause my road rage.

1.) Dimwits who take too long to merge

I used to hate merging on the highway. Often I would take the back roads to avoid the highway altogether. But since there’s no easy way to get to work other than the highway, I’ve learned how to get over my fear of merging. Lessons I learned: never stop, pick up your speed so that you match the speed of traffic, merge as soon as you see an opening, make the person let you in, don’t wait for them to let you in, else you’ll be sitting on the shoulder all day, watching cars fly by.

I learned how to merge on probably the worst acceleration lane in America. It’s right down the street from my house, so it’s the quickest to get on the highway, but it totally sucks! It’s unnervingly short, plus it’s on a hill—once you’re on the top you don’t have long before you reach the end. Meanwhile you’re trying to merge between two different highways that are converging into one. While you’re looking over your left shoulder for an opening, you need a third eye to your right to make sure the cars from the second highway aren’t trying to move into your lane like you’re not right freaking there! It’s extremely dangerous, and there’s always a wreck because people play bumper cars first and look later.

Yet, I managed to master the death trap, and if I can master that, you have no excuse for why it takes you five hours to merge.

I’m extremely impatient with non-mergers. While I do leave an opening (most drivers aren’t so generous), if you don’t seize the opportunity while you have it, I’m not going to let you in. If you think traffic is going to stop to let you on the highway, you’re going to be spending a lot of trips pinned to the side of the road.

But what I hate even more than people who take too long to merge, is getting stuck behind people who take too long to merge. It’s the most annoying thing ever. Seeing an opening, and trying to speed up to snatch said opening, then being forced to slam on the brakes and lose said opening because the car in front of you is literally STOPPED.

Why!!!

Then there are those drivers who merge at 30mph.

Ugh!! Why are you even on the highway?!?!

2.) Break tappers

Do not make a habit of brake tapping on the highway. Just don’t. I know they teach us to be defensive drivers, but there’s gotta be a law or something against people who are constantly hitting the brakes on the highway. We are traveling at too great a speed to have to worry about some crazy person stopping in the middle of the road to read a sign, or to realize, “oh hey, that’s my exit!” when they’re in the far left lane, or to send a text and kill us all.

But the likeliest reason for a driver’s brake tapping is because they are following too closely, to which I would say, get off the guy’s tail for goodness sake! Slow down. Pass them. Do something, but please stop slamming on the brakes when traffic isn’t even close to being congested and the guy behind you is going 70mph!

Then of course there are the brake checkers who are just total dicks. One day while on my way to work, a guy cut me off, slowed down, and when I moved into the next lane to pass him, he cut me off again, nearly taking off the side of my front bumper, and then slammed on the brakes. I swerved so fast into the left lane, I nearly scraped the railing. When I straightened out, I just floored it. He would not cut me off again. And do you know this fool had the audacity to honk his horn at me?

People.

I wonder if he was a cop…

3.) Slow drivers in the fast lane

Ok, Grandma, is there a reason why you’re in the left lane? Did you not read the sign that says slower traffic keep right? Can you even see it through those thick glasses?

I hate it when slow drivers don’t move over. I hate it when the two left lanes are literally at a standstill because because Miss Daisy in the old, beat-up Volkswagen is driving at the same speed as the overloaded dump truck in the middle lane. I hate switching into the left lane to try to bypass the slower traffic on my way to work only to come to a screeching halt right as my exit is coming up because the bumper-less Toyota Corolla in front of me is going 15 miles under the speed limit.

Then of course the driver I’m trying to pass suddenly decides to speed up…

4.) Drivers who speed like they don’t give a f*** about your life or theirs

I dislike speed demons just as much, if not more than I despise snail drivers.

A curse on all you tailgaters! And yes, I am aware that I’m talking about myself. But I’ve gotten better at following too close, especially since people are so quick to slam on the brakes the second they see a cop, or a wreck in the eastbound lanes when they are traveling westbound, or a blown off tire on the shoulder . . . or a freaking street sign.

But I’m talking about the people who speed for no freaking reason, pushing 90 in a 55 on Sunday afternoon in February. Where the hell are you going? There is no place on earth that you need to be so urgently that you have to risk your life and everyone else’s just to get there.

These are the people you see three miles back in your rear view mirror. You’re terrified they’re going to rear-end you, but you can’t move out the way because of traffic. Then once they get to you, they’re riding you so close you can see their facial expressions in the mirror. They’re clearly cursing you out for driving slower than they, but you’re in the right lane—they can easily pass you. But instead they spend the next ten miles stuck to you like a bumper sticker, until finally you get sick of having a trailer attached to your trunk, and so you move over, only for them to lay on their horn because you’re taking too long to switch lanes. You give them the classic Kermit the frog stare down as they speed by, secretly wishing for their deaths in a fiery inferno, and laugh when they get caught behind someone driving slower than you, and you can pass them again and flip the bird.

5.) Pedestrians who think they’re invincible

Crossing the road without looking first. When I was a kid, they taught us left, right, then left again. These days, people step out into on-coming traffic, not a crosswalk or illuminated walking man in sight, and look at you like, “Hit me, bitch.”

College students are notorious for this. When I was in school, I witnessed it countless times, but the most memorable moment happened on a Thursday afternoon when I was walking to the Student Union from class. My school is known as the backpack school (even now that we have a football team). Most students commute to school and the ones who live on campus often go home on the weekends.

Thursday afternoons were the busiest traffic-wise, no classes on Friday (unless you were a freshman who got stuck with the leftovers), everyone in a hurry to leave. To get to the Student Union, one had to cross one of the most heavily-traveled roads on campus.

Me and another guy were standing on the curb waiting for the light to change when suddenly the guy darted out into the street while the light was still green right as a car was coming, forcing the poor driver to slam on his brakes. Seeing the line of cars behind pissy driver, and the light not looking to turn yellow anytime soon, I followed, thinking I was safe in invincible pedestrian’s shadow. WRONG! Jack-ass driver decided to barrel it as soon as invincible pedestrian was safely on the other side. I had to jump back to keep from getting hit. To make things worse, the next TWO cars drove through, keeping me pinned in the middle of the street looking like a freaking idiot.

That was the day I realized just how much I truly hated people.

And I don’t want to make it about race, but…

I still have a grudge toward that boy who nearly lead me to my death.

Another invincible pedestrian incident happened this past Saturday. Every 4th of July, our neighbors who live on the end of the road hold a huge block party (and invite NO ONE in the neighborhood). And these people go all out—DJ spinning old school and new school tracks, bouncy house for the kids, fireworks when the sun goes down. The house is Section 8; how they can even afford all that pizzazz is beyond me. Priorities, I guess. Like jobless deadbeats and $300 Jordans.

But these people have more cars parked in their yard and on the street than the Baptist church next door. Unfortunately, their yard isn’t big enough to hold such a crowd, which easily numbers over one hundred. So they spill out into the street. This includes the grill and the line of people waiting to be served. Yes, they actually cook the hotdogs and hamburgers in the middle of the street.

This isn’t a problem, as long as they move out the way when a car is trying to come through. Of course, rarely do they. They just stand there and stare at you like you’re the one wrong for trying to drive down a road that’s clearly occupied. And heaven forbid another car is coming from the opposite direction. So not only am I trying to dodge jerks who won’t get out the damn street and their half-parked cars not even up on the curb, now I have to figure out how not to side-swipe another car trying to pass while simultaneously avoiding hitting someone’s stupid kid who just rolled over my hood.

Is it so hard to rent a picnic shelter at the damn park!

The funny thing is, despite me being the driver of the moving death vehicle, I’m the one who feels intimidated. Like, if one of them saw me give them the finger, they just might bust my windows, while the rest drag me out to beat me to a bloody pulp.

Mom and I have thought about calling the cops (yeah, we’re those neighbors), but we live close to the part of town where you’re not sure if those are fireworks going off . . . or gunshots. The guys in blue aren’t too eager to venture to our neck of the woods without swarming backup. So we’re forced to deal with our road blocks on our own. I guess the smart thing to do is take another route, but it’s the principle of the matter. I shouldn’t have to drive in circles to get out of my own neighborhood because somebody doesn’t know how to get out the way when a car is coming!

But who am I kidding? I’m just an introvert ranting on her blog that maybe gets a couple views. I wouldn’t do anything. They should consider themselves lucky, because there are a lot of angry people out there who are capable of a lot worse than typing…

Don’t get any ideas.

As I said before, this is only a few of my driving pet peeves. I’m sure I can come up with a whole new list of five before the day ends, but for the sake of brevity (this post is already over 2200 words long), I’ll cut this one short (?) until next time.

What are some things that cause your road rage? Can you go a day without cursing out another driver in your head? Are you one of the people I talked about in this post? Please don’t get offended. I really don’t have the patience to tend to your emotions.

Battling Giant Mutant Cockroaches

I work for a company that sells pesticides to farmers. No, not Monsanto, but a similar devil.

In my four years of working here (unfortunately not full-time, but if this new communications job that just opened doesn’t obnoxiously require 10+ years experience like the last one, maybe I can change that), I’ve come to realize that we apparently do not use our own products on our grounds. Or maybe we do, and the bugs have just mutated and become immune to the chemicals. Because some of the ugliest, ghastliest, fat-ass creepy-crawlies you’d ever want to see rise from the pits.

And last night, one of them followed me home.

Have you ever seen something out the corner of your eye and totally spazzed out? Maybe it was a remote, or a phone, or a hair ball, or a shifting shadow. Whatever it was, it appeared in just the right angle of your eyesight to trick you into thinking it was a bug you weren’t prepared to kill. So you scramble like there’s no tomorrow. Fight or flight kicks in and you shoot off, sent reeling into the air, dangling from the rotating ceiling fan only to realize it was a false alarm.

I didn’t heed that alarm, assuming it was just another deception of the eyes. When I finally peeled away from the computer and looked to the floor, I nearly choked on my tongue trying to scream.

Crawling over the fibers of my carpet was the biggest cockroach I have ever seen in my life.

I won’t gross you out with pictures, just know that it was huge. About the size of my index, middle, and ring fingers combined! The kind of bug you only see after a horrible rain storm, blown in from some far-off, rural third-world country where the people have learned to cohabitate with their monster vermin. Not me. I am 100% a product of the Western world (to my detriment). I do not do bugs. Bugs give me the heebie-jeebies; I freak even when a fly buzzes by my ear. And don’t get me started on spiders! I’m still anxious about the one that escaped my shoe a week ago, and he was a microbe compared to this roach!

And my brother was not home to kill it. Not that he would even bother if he were. My brother is like one of those drunk, potbellied stepfathers, who lie on the couch all day drinking beer from a can. You hesitate to approach them with a request because you never know what kind of mood they’re going to be in. Will they be gentle this time, or lay siege to you with F bombs before even opening their eyes? Knowing my brother, he probably would’ve told me to grow up, get a pair, and sent back to my room to fend for myself.

Sometimes I wonder who’s the older sibling.

So I got my mom outta bed to help me kill the despicable critter. When she saw how big it was, she turned to me and said, “You brought that home from work.” God, I hope so, and I hope it didn’t bring any friends, or heaven forbid, lay any eggs, because I think I would die right there if I woke up in the middle of the night to a blanket of cockroaches crawling from under my bed. Eeeek!

My mom picked up a can of bug spray to gas the sucker out, which only pissed it off, because then it came sprinting towards me, and by the grace of God I had enough sense to pick up my weighed down dirty clothes hamper and slam it right on top of the bugger before it made anymore sudden moves. Then, for good measure, I climbed inside the hamper and stomped around just to make sure it was dead. But you know, cockroaches are resilient; if cats have nine lives, they’ve got 29. And if they can survive nuclear bomb blasts, surely they can survive being crushed by a flimsy plastic wicker basket.

But killing it wasn’t the hard part. The hard part was getting rid of the body. I couldn’t force myself to lift the hamper, too afraid that it had survived and would dart out for a hiding place before either me or my mom could react, or that it had managed to escape before I could deal the blow and was somewhere in my room, unbeknownst to either me or my mom. (Then I’d have to move to Canada, because there was no way I was staying in that house!)

I cowered in the hallway just outside my bedroom door while my mom peeked under the basket to discover the roach was still kicking. She got the fly swatter to finish it off, only to do a fidgety dance around it because she didn’t want to have to touch it. After about 10 minutes of us standing around, squirming in our pajamas, she finally went to the kitchen and got a plastic cup out of the trash can. Using the swatter, she flicked the dying roach into the cup and quickly shoved the cup into a plastic grocery store bag. Then she rushed through house and out the back door and tossed the bag into the outside trashcan, whose contents will be collected today. Sayonara! Good riddance! I’m glad that nightmare is over.

The both of us were still a little squeamish to go to bed too soon, though.

Thankfully no more mutant cockroaches rose from the depths that night, at least not while I was still awake. (Oh, please let that be the end of it!) But now I’m afraid to go to work, afraid Creepy’s vengeful brother will crawl into my bag under my desk to terrorize me when I get home.

To have dominion over all the creepy-crawlies of the earth, I don’t always feel like it. Apparently my company sells a product called Demon. According to Mom, it’s to, “scare the shit outta those roaches.” I wonder if they would let me take a few samples, build up my arsenal for the next attack. Then again, if these chemicals really are mutating the bugs, I’ll just stop doing laundry and stick with my overstuffed dirty clothes hamper as my weapon, because Lord knows I don’t want to wake up to Vincent D’Onofrio’s giant alien bug (think Men in Black) standing over my bed. Eeeeek!

PROVDO Vault via Flickr

So Mom’s Retired, and I’m Totally Not Jealous…

I’m not jealous of my mom.

Last week, a friend of hers from work, who recently retired, called me and asked for my mother’s number and address. Apparently, she’d lost the information when she switched phones. While we were talking, she professed how excited she was for this new phase in her life and that she was looking forward to spending more time with my mom.

I guess I should mention Mom’s been retired a little over six months now. Yep, that was her Christmas present to herself: retirement…and a trip to the Rose Bowl.

Totally not jealous… totally.

Anyway, before we got off the phone, Mom’s friend again exclaimed that she was so relieved to finally be done with work and to not have that burden and stress always on her shoulders, and that she knows that retirement is going to be so fulfilling. Then she paused, as if waiting for me to agree with her, as if she expected me to say, “Yes, retirement is everything they say it is, everything it’s cracked up to be!”

Mind you, I was currently at work when she called.

So no, I have not experienced the bliss that is retirement. And the way this economy likes to cheat us degree-possessing millennials, I probably won’t know that elusive period of life called retirement for at least another 50 years.

God help me if I’m still working at age 75!

It can be quite annoying when I’m minding my own business, doing my work, or writing, or reading, or eating breakfast or lunch, or walking down the hall, or hell, even using the bathroom, and someone stops me to ask, “How’s your mom doing?”

I DON’T KNOW! 

While she is at home, lounging around, not lounging around, cooking, not cooking, planting a garden, not planting a garden, sweating in gym class, not sweating in gym class, taking spontaneous road trips to the beat to buy fresh fish,  not taking spontaneous road trips to the beat to buy fresh fish, blasting radio music, not blasting radio music…

…I’m at work. I have no idea what she’s doing, how she spends her day. One thing I do know: she ain’t working. Meanwhile, I’m trying my hardest not to curse people out, or cry from getting cursed out. The joys of working in customer service.

And I’m totally not jealous.

But I’ll admit, I was a little depressed when I left the house for work this morning. Not because it’s Monday. Although, no one would blame me—having to spend eight of the most precious hours in the day in a cold, gray office after such a beautiful and warm weekend, who wouldn’t get depressed about that?

But this morning, I was in a good mood before I got ready to leave. I didn’t sleep through my alarm (insert slap the snooze button twenty times) and woke up on time. I read several chapters from Psalms to receive encouragement and strength from God’s holy word. I packed my lunch—homemade chicken noodle soup I cooked the night before, and tuna salad (also homemade) spread on toast for breakfast. I got a laugh from some of the ridiculous cases on Judge Faith (in this episode, a woman sued her ex-boyfriend for a vacation he promised her when they were together). I watered my herb garden (unfortunately my cilantro died, but my mom, since she has the time now, bought be a new cilantro plant). I even packed some gym clothes and tennis shoes because I plan on going to Planet Fitness after work (my aunt seems to think I lost three pound since Memorial Day, because she’s gained it, so I want to spend about an hour on the elliptical just to make sure those pounds I apparently lost stay off).

Today was going to be a good day.

Then I walked past Mom’s room, and she was lying in the bed watching Iron Man.

I want to lie in bed and watch Iron Man. I don’t want to have to go to work when I could be lying in bed watching Iron Man!

But I’m not jealous.

Nope, totally not jealous.