I’m lucky in that we don’t officially “clock in” at work — some days I show up at 7:30 a.m., other days I roll in at 9. It all depends on what’s coming down the pike that day. Some days when I’m stuck behind a slow-moving car, I ask myself: “Why are you in such a hurry to sit down in a cubicle?” It never gets me all the way to appreciating the turtle-paced driver in front of me, but it minimizes the a.m. fury, anyway.
Ask yourself the same question sometime you’re getting all bent out of shape about the car in front of you: Is getting to the grocery store a minute earlier really the source of that much joy? I would rather have a friend show up 5 minutes late than to know he or she was an a-hole driver to someone trying to get there on time.
Which brings me to Part II of the quick primer on how to be a better driver:
part iI: Hey, there’s someone IN FRONT OF you!
Sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but that vehicle in front of you is not an apparition, or an insect that can be wiped away. You’re going to have to deal with it like an adult.
What does that mean? For starters, you’ll have to accept that most drivers take street corners around — what, 15 mph? — to avoid jostling themselves, or hurtling their passengers or cargo (“my groceries! my precious groceries!”) against the inside of the automobile. Not the 40 mph they were just going down the straightaway. You’re going to have to touch your brakes, too.
Or, you know how you can avoid that? Don’t ride the rear bumper of the car in front of you. Yeah, I know we just went over the obverse instruction of that yesterday — recap: don’t clog traffic — but not everyone in the universe is wise like you are and reads this blog. So sooner or later you’re going to be stuck behind someone who is moving more slowly than you would like.
Here are your options:
- Move lanes.
- Accept the limitation, and slow down.
Please note that tailgating and being an a-hole is not one of the options, for the same reason that slowing down and being an a-hole was not an option yesterday: Road rage is a thing. And tailgating accomplishes absolutely no good. You’re expending a huge amount of negative energy trying to bully someone. Ask anyone who’s ever been tailgated, and their takeaway is never “I was driving too slowly” — it’s “there was a jerk behind me.” You’ll never teach them a lesson, except the lesson that you are a jerk.
Apocryphal and yet still instructive anecdote: Tailgater eventually blows past offending automobile, offers up the finger as a salute, pulls in to parking lot and shows up to work. Fifteen minutes later, meets the new client — or should that be re-meets, because he certainly remembers the driver who flipped him off just a quarter-hour earlier. There’s no coming back from that, is there? “Well, you were driving slow” is not going to cut it.
We all expect to be cut endless amounts of slack when we’re driving. For that to happen, we must also cut other people the same amount. Let’s put it another way: Have you ever been delighted at the Starbucks drive-thru when the guy in the car in front of you bought your coffee for you? (It happens more often than you think.) To keep that circle of goodwill going in perpetuity, sooner or later, you have to be the person who buys the coffee.
|WHAT SAM WORE: 6-24-13|
|The shirt: Long-sleeved cotton shirt by Theory, from Saks Off Fifth in Tempe.|
|The pants: Boot-cut jeans by 7 for All Mankind, from Nordstrom in Chandler.|
|The shoes: Loafers by Rockport, from Nordstrom in Scottsdale.|