I read two articles in the Dallas Morning News recently that Texas is home to two of the worst counties in the nation for road rage accidents: Bexar (which comprises San Antonio) and Dallas. I was surprised. You mean, Dallas isn’t number one? Anyone who lives in the Dallas / Fort Worth metropolitan area can feel my pain. It’s one of the largest and most populous in the U.S. Both cities are ringed by suburbs with impressive populations. The entire region is commuter-based. And, that’s the crux of the problem. There are too many people on roads and highways that are in a constant state of repair. I guess you could point to overpopulation as a factor in that mess. And, no one wants to take what little mass transportation there is. The Dallas Area Rapid Transit (DART) system has spent decades trying to convince people to use their services. But, in 1996, when they opened their train line from North Dallas to downtown, I laughed. The Japanese already had a train that topped 200 miles per hour. Dallas had one that looked like a glorified toy ornament. In fact, I called it the ‘DART choo choo train.’
But, it’s not so much congestion and road work. It’s how people drive. They’ve become assholes in recent years. Cell phones count as one of the greatest technological inventions of the 20th century. But now, they pose a health hazard. People who talk while driving run the risk of either hurting someone in a wreck, or getting their head blown off because they forgot there’s a turn signal on their vehicle.
It’s easy to get pissed off while driving in traffic. People do the stupidest things. I’ve leaned on my own horn more than a few times. I’ve come close to dropping into road rage hysterics more times than I can count. Sometimes, I honestly wish I had a gun – just for show. Seriously! Just to hold it up and let that idiot on a cell phone know I have it. I must admit I have anger issues. But, that’s mainly because I’m not a people person and because most people are jerks – especially when they get behind the wheel.
I feel rather secure in my big black Dodge Ram 1500 truck. The driver of one of those new eco-cars tried to get tough with me, while traveling up I-35 a few years back. I have ‘Hot Wheels’ bigger than those stupid things. I hated to give in to someone else’s stupidity (I really do!), but this guy deserved it, as I cut back in front of him and slammed on my brakes.
Not long after I had foot surgery in 2007, I headed to another follow-up appointment; my first since getting off crutches and into a walking boot. Some idiot in a sedan weaved in and out of traffic, as if she had designed and built the road, cutting in front of me and I don’t know how many other drivers – more than once. When I cut back in front of her – just to show her other people can be assholes, too – she had the audacity to get pissed off. When I stopped at a left turn red light, she got out of her car and stormed up towards my truck. Here I am – my still-damaged foot encased in a walking boot – and some bitch wanted to start a fight. But, I quickly grabbed my old truck club and hopped out onto my right foot. Turning to face her, truck club held up like a ninja sword, I was ready for battle. She was a big girl, too. I’m barely 5’8,” but none of that stopped me. I was already in a bad mood because of that foot. I didn’t want to reinjure it stuffing up her crotch or her ass. She stopped when she me holding up that club / sword and approach her. We exchanged nasty verbiage; the words “asshole,” “bitch,” “fuck” somehow wound their way into the terse dialogue, before she retreated to her car. I scribbled down her license plate number, as I’m sure she did mine, and thought of calling 911. But, I had to get to that doctor’s appointment.
The North Texas Transit Authority (NTTA) tells people to drive nice and be considerate of others on the road. That sentiment worked well in the immediate aftermath of 09/11, when everyone realized how precious life is. Now that the compassion has worn off, people have gone back to being…well, people – assholes. Drive friendly? Well – I do most of the time. I really do! I use my turn signal. I don’t tailgate. I try to keep my middle finger in its place between its brothers. But, it’s so DAMN HARD! Have a nice day. And, use your freaking turn signal!