I left the house on time this morning and seemed to hit many long and lingering traffic lights on the way to work. I find it interesting watching drivers around me on the road. I’ve seen people do all kinds of things in cars that they probably should not do. There are the people who eat while driving, doesn’t really matter what meal it is, as long as it’s wrapped and “to go.” I’ve seen men shaving, women too, but usually they are in the passenger seat with a leg up on the dashboard.
On the highway you get a great variety of people, especially in rush hour where traffic is crawling. You have the texters, the Tablet and laptop people, the ones who know they shouldn’t be watching the television, but are. There are the men and women who are styling, then spraying their hair, the women with eight arms that are refereeing a bunch of kids bouncing around in the backseat, the guy trying to look cool by practically lying down in the seat while driving and all you can see is part of his face. I can’t help but wonder how he can possibly see the road and usually steer away from him. Then there are the people with the radio as loud as any concert you could hope to attend, they pull up and your windows and car vibrate, you look over and they are moving in time with the music. I actually have no problem with those people except when I see a child in the backseat. That makes me angry, if you want to go deaf from your loud music, that is your choice, but don’t damage your child’s hearing because you want to seem cool. There are the people who REALLY get into their music and direct the symphony or look like they are doing a full on exercise session in the driver’s seat.
I cringe when driving next to someone holding a baby or toddler in their lap. As a mom, I understand the urge to hold them, love them, feed and keep them quiet, I really do, but if there’s an accident they will be gone and you will blame yourself forever wishing they had been in that car seat, even if they were crying the whole way to the destination.
There are things I miss on the road:
- I miss driving just to drive, with no real destination in mind, but just taking a scenic drive for pleasure. Gas prices are too high to do this and really enjoy it now without some real planning ahead.
- I miss the courtesy that used to be present – at least in the South – on the road. I remember when, if you needed over in another lane, people would slow down and wave you over. If you let someone in front of you, they said thank you in a wave, rarely did they drive on without doing this. The car behind you understood, they didn’t lay down on the horn and do sign language.
- If you had a flat tire or problem on the road, people would stop to help. Now everyone has a cell phone (it’s assumed) so they just keep driving and let you call your own help.
- I miss being able to stop and offer help without having to be concerned that the stranded driver might be setting up some sort of trap that could put you in danger.
- I remember the traffic jams for Pearl Jam and some of the great events at Fair Park in Texas. The traffic would just park for hours, people would share coolers and toss footballs back and forth on the side of the highway until things started moving again.
- Mostly, I miss driving at night. It’s a past time I still love. I would drive and drive to watch the lights play on the hood and windshield, blaring Phil Collins, ZZ Top, Van Halen, Dokken and others loud, with the windows down, feeling the night air while cruising.
- I miss just deciding to jump in the car and drive 3-4 hours to spend time with a friend.
- I miss seeing the older couples enjoying driving around too. It irritates me when I see an elderly couple driving up the road and some younger person is riding their bumper or honking, acting impatient and rude. No one is immune to age, someday the tables will be turned and I hope they remember how they treated the elderly when they arrive in those shoes.
One of the things I think Americans take for granted the most is that driving is a privilege. No one has to give you a driver’s license. No one can force you to obey the laws that were created not just to restrain and irritate, but to protect you as well as the other drivers on the road, that is something you agree to the moment you pass and receive that driver’s license. I wonder if it would make a difference if we had to memorize, raise your right hand and take an oath before the picture is taken? Probably not, but it’s a thought isn’t it?
I have intentionally not touched much on the one thing that irritates me the most because it SHOULD be understood that driving under the influence is a blatant misuse of the privilege of driving. Yet, there are those people that do it every day. I can only say shame on you, for having such a small respect for life, not just yours, but for every other motorist, pedestrian, and human in your path and under your influence each time you take that chance. Every person has a net of influence of people that they affect every single day that are specifically in their lives and touched by them. What kind of legacy are you leaving?
Cherry Coley ©