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What's the Deal?

So maybe I ripped off a Seinfeld phrase for this one, but I ask it often when I'm sitting in my car watching stupidity drive by.

What's the deal with:

People who zip in and out of every small opening in traffic as if they have no brakes and they have to get to Midas on the double. Where are they going when they drive like that? The amazing thing is, somehow they usually avoid hitting other cars. The few accidents I've seen in progress have occurred at relatively low speeds. What do those guys study to learn to drive like that?

People who break their necks to jump in front of you, cutting you off in the process, and start driving at 55 MPH. Cars behind you start merging to the right to pass. When you finally get the chance to pass, Speedy decides to change into the same lane as you - again.

Gapers. Rubberneckers. People slowing down and stopping to look at an accident even if it's on the other side of the road heading in the other direction and the authority vehicles are long gone. Gapers: why slow down and stare if it's not possible for you to pull over and help? Human curiosity may be strong, but a five-mile backup due to gapers looking at a car that's long been vacated is annoying! I have seen backups because someone got pulled over by the cops and everyone wants to have a look. Yawn.

Sport utility vehicles going 75 MPH in a rainstorm, or snowstorm. Just because your truck can plow through accumulated snow doesn't mean that you stick to the road like a suction cup. SUV's can skid on slick surfaces and crash too.

Tinted windows that are so dark you don't know if there's a body driving the car or if it's run away on its own. A nice deep tint can be attractive in a window, but if it's easier to see through a bottle of Guinness than through your car windows, you went too far.

People who read while driving. I'm not talking about briefly consulting a map at a stop light; I've seen people reading while driving in (moderately slow) traffic. Fellow drivers: it is not proper to read something while seated behind the steering wheel of a moving vehicle. Driving time is better spent cursing at the pedestrians or trying to talk on two cell phones at once.*

Dirty trucks with "Wash Me" written on their back doors. If the truck has been loaded or unloaded anytime within the previous 24 hours, how could someone miss the "Wash Me" written in the dust? And if the driver saw the words, why didn't he wash the truck? Or at least wipe off the reminder that he didn't wash the truck?

People who double park on the street next to a vacant parking space. Completely blocking the space so that nothing could have exited or entered it. Perhaps they're saving the spot for someone? Perhaps they never have to park on the street and don't realize the open space can be? Or is this how they parallel park?

On the other hand, people who double park next to your legally parked car and who leave their cars for 20 minutes or more. I worked with a guy who once double parked his car in front of his apartment building, went upstairs to his apartment and took a nap. No big deal. I'm sure the guy whose car he blocked didn't really need to drive to work that night.

Drivers who catch up to you on the expressway, Velcro themselves to your bumper and flash their headlights or bright beams at you until you get annoyed enough to merge into the next lane. They then catch up to the next car ahead and do it all over again. This "flash-to-pass" business is about a friendly as a perk blast from the car horn. Of course, people who do this are in an absolute emergency situation, the wife is about to give birth in the vehicle or the gas pedal keeps getting stuck or they're having some similar absolute emergency situation, of course.

People who drive on a toll road, and don't prepare to pay the toll until they're face-to-face with the toll gate. They have to 1) locate their wallet, 2) notice that they don't have quarters, 3) hold up traffic while they drop carefully selected nickel after nickel in the basket, and 4) wait as long as it takes for the green "thank you" lamp to light, despite the block-long line of cars waiting for them to move along.

*Driving and talking on two cell phones at once: This really did happen. A guy got arrested because he was talking on a cell phone while driving with one hand, when he took his one hand off of the steering wheel to answer the other cell phone. This did not occur in Chicago.


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