I spend at least 90 minutes commuting every day for work, and I have never seen a group of drivers more idiotic. I’m not sure if they intentionally work to make the lives of others harder, if they are just that oblivious to the strife they cause others, or if they just have a death wish. California drivers are something I can only begin to describe, for they blow away any perception you thought you had of other people on the road and destroy what little trust you may have for your fellow commuters. These people are not exclusively Californian; this term is loosely used to describe people demonstrating varying levels of assholery in traffic.
These people are incapable of using blinkers properly. People with do one of these things without fail every time:
- never shut the blinker off for fear of touching the mechanism again
- never turn the blinker on in the first place and zip off wildly (and unpredictably) through traffic with reckless abandon
- make a complete lane change and THEN turn on the blinker
- turn the blinker on indicating a leftward shift and incredibly going right instead
I’ve seen J do this too: we’ll be merging on or off the highway and he’ll just keep creeping over regardless of the presence of another vehicle. They can’t read your mind. They have no idea you want over….
If only there were a way to somehow communicate your directional intentions to the drivers around you…
Sometimes you wish these people had magical blinkers that worked directly with their erratic sweaving patterns (that’s a swerve and a weave), because for whatever reason they’re just wandering into nearby lanes whilst never actually leaving their established lane. I bet these people are really bad with coloring books, too.
Highway = Parking Lot
The highways were not designed well in California. I say this because there doesn’t seem to be enough space between off- and on-ramps for cars to trade places fluidly. Yes, there are a ton of fucking people and good god I realize that, but the five-lane parking lots always form between the ramps leading to and from the highway because people only have 27 feet to trade places otherwise they’re gonna get totally fucked by all the intersecting highways and drive six miles in the wrong direction. Watching hundreds of cars slam to a stop in front of you to allow people trying to exit merge over while people entering the highway are trying to leave the exit lane…it’s a disaster every time.
This is something I brought with me from CO. Relatively speaking, we never really had notoriously bad traffic. Yeah, there’s a rush hour each day. But for the most part traffic moved along ok. When bad traffic did hit, this phenomenon would occur that I call the traffic hangover. You’ve been in traffic so long you’re now in a trance, and when traffic clears up it sometimes takes a couple miles for everyone to realize you can carry on normally because traffic cleared. Here, traffic is just a way of life and they don’t get traffic hangovers like me. I know immediately when traffic is done because people around me are suddenly back up to speed whizzing past me like rockets. But then…..traffic’s back!! Everyone just speeds from one off/on ramp parking lot to the next. Forever.
Listen, these people have no clue about parallel parking. When we first moved into our apartment, we only had one assigned parking space and I was left to fight bitches out in the street for curb parking. This was fine before I started working, because I just wouldn’t leave at all and mitigate the situation with pure avoidance. After my first day at work I arrived home around 6p, with everyone else, and there were people straight up idling in the street hoping someone would leave for dinner so they could snag the space. Many times I found myself with a space that could have been a space but actually wasn’t because one of the asshats on either side did something to fuck it up. Like not straighten their car out, with the resulting angle causing their ass-end to stick into the street (they clearly just pulled in forward instead of properly parallel parking) making it impossible for me to actually make it into the spot without clipping the corner of their car.
That gif spoke to me so hard. Not only does the beginning depict what I imagine is exactly how every one of these people tries to park, but the end summarizes my feelings toward attempting it at all. Many a time I found myself cursing those people for not knowing how to fucking park, and I would shake my fist at them as I drove off to park two blocks away and walk home. Clearly the person in the gif was just another idiot, though. While I now have an assigned spot and don’t face this issue at home, unfortunately these people are parking like assholes all over town. Like, actually everywhere. They’re everywhere.
Something unexpected happened after moving here: I solved a mystery that had plagued me in Colorado for years. Stay with me here. The CO license plate has the registration stickers in the bottom corners, and the stickers come with directions and a nice little diagram showing you where to put them. The design of the plate is such that it’s really hard to find space for the stickers anywhere other than the designated areas on the bottom corners. Yet every freaking day I would see idiots with the registration stickers in the top corners and I would think to myself How fucking stupid do you have to be to mess that up? Turns out, it only takes being a former CA driver to reach that level. You see, in CA the registration stickers go in the top corners. So my theory is this: an idiot transplanted from CA to CO corresponds directly to an idiot in CO with the registration stickers in the top corners. I feel pretty confident with that analysis.
Does ranting about these people make them better drivers? Nope. Will it make them go away so I can commute in peace? Absolutely not. I will continue to spend ~45 minutes to travel 14 miles one way, observing the idiots around me and hoping I can set a good example for them just by sticking to my guns and not becoming one of them.