Big-hearted, yet petty

One afternoon last week, I came home to find a car pulled into the driveway next to my house. It’s not my driveway — amazingly, I don’t have a driveway, or a garage — but it’s eight feet from my front porch, so I have a certain proprietary interest in  what goes on there.

It was doing one of those half-in-the-driveway, half-blocking-the- sidewalk things, often employed by people who will “just be a minute,” which could be an hour. The car was a Mercedes GLS SUV which “starts” at $68,700. And the engine was running. Someone was at the wheel (hard to tell more because: tinted windows) but she (or he) was just idling, waiting for whatever.

OK, I have a problem with expensive cars. I drive a 17-year old Honda Accord, and, while I don’t expect everyone to follow my example, I think it’s useful to remember that a car is morally complicated transportation device. It seems ostentatious and excessive to own a car that costs more than the average salary of an American worker. Surely there’s a soup kitchen somewhere that could use some of that dough.  I think Americans have become too comfortable with extravagant shows of wealth, not just Trumpian excess but also the kind of low-key swagger familiar to people in my area: $20 cups of coffee and $800 dinners and $50 million houses with a separate yoga studio and full-grown tree planted because it invites contemplation of the transient nature of existence.

And I have a problem with parked cars with their engines running. Wasting gas for no reason at all, spewing earth-destroying chemicals into the air because the driver can’t be bothered to turn a key or press a button.  Makes me so mad I write incomplete sentences. I’m calmer now.

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Now, friends, that is a vehicle.

 Now, anyone can tell you that the milk of human kindness flows through my veins. I try to be a good husband, a good father, a good grandfather. I am an exemplary neighbor. I ask “How are you keeping, Missy?” to a woman who might very well be named Missy. I ask “How about those Giants, Fred?” to a disgruntled Oakland A’s fan, implicitly suggesting that he may wish to abandon his long-held allegiance to the local squad.

(Really, there is nothing sadder than an Oakland A’s fan. His team has stopped trying to win. They gladly give up their best players for “prospects,” who, if they’re any good, will immediately be traded in exchange for more prospects.  Really, they have no incentive to win. They make money anyway, so why bother? The Giants bother. They may not always win, but they try. I digress.)

I do not hold grudges. I am slow to anger and quick to forgive. I am genial even in hard times. I am, in point of fact, a prince of a fellow.

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Almost seems to have a personality, doesn’t it?

But, in examining my shortcomings, I do realize I have resentments, and most of them seem to be about motor  vehicles. Some days, it’s really fortunate that I do not have a firearm in my Honda. It may be that I cry out to an indifferent universe and ask it to rain fire upon the malefactors. Perhaps I pound the steering wheel. I try to remember not to pound the accelerator.

What behavior causes such a violent reaction? Oh, I’m so glad you asked.

∅ Changing lanes without signaling. It is so damn easy to flip a little lever up or down. It’s a service to people behind you. People might say, “there’s no one behind me.” First of all, you don’t know that. Blind spots, right?  Second, just get in the damn habit. Make it automatic.

∅ Refusing to let people into your lane. I may have mentioned this before. You’re accelerating on an on-ramp. The lane does not last forever, because it’s on an on-ramp. There’s a guy to your left, and he just refuses to let you merge naturally. Meantime, you’re running out of lane, so you have to brake precipitously, and if there’s a car behind you: Rear-ender! Who gets all territorial about a lane? Who wants to make the driving experience harder for other people? I ask you. I just asked you. Who?

∅ People who suddenly remember their exit and swerve over three lanes to get to it. Honest to God, pay minimal attention to your destination. Going to San Rafael? Then get in the damn lane that goes to San Rafael. Easy, right? Then you can go back to dreaming of Jennifer Lopez frolicking in the surf.

∅ Tailgaters and high-beam users. I know this is a familiar complaint, but why do people do it? Is it all testosterone poisoning? What if I hit the brakes suddenly, bro? What if I am suddenly blinded and swerve over to your lane and there’s a head-on collision that suddenly involves 12 cars in a carnival of carnage?

∅ Taking two parking places. Doesn’t everyone hate that? In a 17-year-old Honda, one can solve that problem. One scratch more or less; do I care? But the owner of that other car cares. He plunked down a cool $200,000 for his Mercedes G-class off-road (!) vehicle. Not that I would ever suggest intentionally scraping another car, because that would be wrong. Although, taking two parking places is also wrong. So complicated.

Perhaps you think I’m just a cranky old guy. I promise, I have been swearing at other drivers since my mid-20s. There are many indications that I am irritable and elderly, but this is not one of them.

I would like to add arrogant bicyclists and clueless pedestrians, but my bile is spent. It felt good, typing all that. I understand that bad drivers are people too, and I fully support their right to vote, to earn a living, to love the people or peoples of their choice. But I also appreciate that civilized living in a crowded urban environment requires enthusiastic agreement to a set of common principles, the main one of which is: Don’t be a dope.

Death Valley 00263b20160308
The transient nature of existence

Photography by Tracy Johnston

All my questions cheerfully answered by Michelle Mizera

81 thoughts on “Big-hearted, yet petty

  1. Great rant. Next, please do a piece on the most entitled species of all: The Meanderthals. (Those who text while walking and expect everyone else to keep “their space” inviolate.) I have come up with a solution, just A-testing it now.

    From: Jon Carroll Prose To: modspeed@sbcglobal.net Sent: Wednesday, August 31, 2016 1:40 PM Subject: [New post] Big-hearted, yet petty #yiv1760979954 a:hover {color:red;}#yiv1760979954 a {text-decoration:none;color:#0088cc;}#yiv1760979954 a.yiv1760979954primaryactionlink:link, #yiv1760979954 a.yiv1760979954primaryactionlink:visited {background-color:#2585B2;color:#fff;}#yiv1760979954 a.yiv1760979954primaryactionlink:hover, #yiv1760979954 a.yiv1760979954primaryactionlink:active {background-color:#11729E;color:#fff;}#yiv1760979954 WordPress.com | joncarrollprose posted: “One afternoon last week, I came home to find a car pulled into the driveway next to my house. It’s not my driveway — amazingly, I don’t have a driveway, or a garage — but it’s eight feet from my front porch, so I have a certain proprietary interest in  ” | |

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    1. i don’t really understand how to comment. But I trust this will work. Great, great column, Jon. You and I grew up on the freeways of SoCal. When we got our drivers’ licenses (at 16, as God intended), we were taught to hit the freeway at the same speed as traffic, and people would let you in. And they did! We were taught to signal every damn move. It’s second nature for us old L.A. guys. And if you grow up in L.A. there is nothing worse than not being in the right lane when you need to exit. Miss that 4-way interchange and you find yourself on the Harbor Freeway, a place that can lead to untold horrors.

      I have always thought you and I are very much alike, though I did not marry a brilliant writer — instead, a wonderful Vermont woman of Irish descent who has a strong sense of family. One way were are alike is that I own an older Honda Accord. Every 15 years or so I trade in for a brand new Accord. Though the Civic is a pretty good alternative these days.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I can testify from 40 years of experience that times have changed, and the drivers of LA are no longer trained in proper driving techniques or etiquette. They don’t understand the purpose of turn signals, and seem to consider it their personal goal to be first in line at the next red light (and there’s always another red light just up ahead), which means they’re right in tune with drivers in the Bay Area…

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  2. Thanks for voicing some of my most frequent driving complaints. Add to that people who can’t use lights in the pouring rain, and those very expensive cars that seem to have been delivered with no turn signals whatever.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. About two years ago I started noticing quite a few new Mercedes in my Telegraph and Ashby neighborhood. All year around, not just in August when they were delivering students. Then the small house with the tiny yard across the street from me went on sale at a price hoping to bring in a cool mil.

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  4. You speak for many. And San Francisco, which used to be one of the more courteous places to drive, is now also infested with these self-entitled roaches. Two days ago, a driver in a BMW SUV honked at me for stopping at a Stop sign and letting a pedestrian cross. Doubtless the driver has acquired a $2 million one-bedroom condo in one of the zillions of buildings they’re throwing up here that make the city look like East Berlin in the sixties.

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    1. Aargh! Hate being honked at stopping for peds! My favorite story about this (probably a fable) car stops for a little old lady crossing the street. Car behind honks. First driver stops car, gets out, hands keys to the honker. “Here. You run over her,”

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  5. Shoulder to shoulder in affinity for the old days when we, behind the wheel, were products of high school Driver’s Ed classes! This is now long gone and literally (and sadly) “old school”.

    Now we change lanes with creeping dread as the idiots in their tricked-out Sentras overtake you at 90 mph and cross three lanes just in front of you simply because they can. My rear license plate frame states “DO NOT DRIVE LIKE A IDIOT” but this reminder is lost in the dust.

    Here’s to keeping our seat belts fastened and our resolve undiminished against the ever-rising tide of the driver-uneducated!

    Liked by 2 people

  6. I have my own pet peeve, I think there are not enough parking places for all the cars in SF to park at the same time, so a percentage have to keep moving. This has been going on for a while and now it is so bad that another percentage has to be double-parked at all times!

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      1. jeez louise, jon! just make one up. Fantasize such a proposterous conclusion that only an idiot wouldn’t know it was bullshit. do terry southern proud!!!

        Liked by 1 person

  7. Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes!!!!! Oh, so,cathartic ……can we please continue on with the clueless pedestrians and the arrogant (!) bicyclists…… This pervasive narcissism …..ugh……….. I SO hear you……..:)

    Sent from my iPad

    >

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    1. The thing about those greener-than-thou, arrogant bicyclists who think they’re such hot tschotskes, is that if some middle-aged bat like me doesn’t see them in time as they self-righteously run the stop sign, they are just as dead.

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  8. Yes, yes. This isn’t about motor vehicles — tho I support everything you say. How about the person in the grocery line who seems to have forgotten he/she will have to pay and who pulls out their credit care after the groceries have already been bagged. And sometime they even looked surprised.
    Give me a break.

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  9. Thank you, thank you for the greatest post you’ve written!!!!    I’m so glad I’m not the only person who thinks these ENTITLED, half conscience people should not be on the road! Really, how hard is it to use the turn-signal on a car.  Guess they never learned how to use it. Keep up the good work,  I do still miss you in the Chronicle. Mickie Love

    Margaret Love 69luvbug@verizon.net

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  10. Does this work? I just wanted to say how much I loved that (Chrome Yellow?) truck/bus photo. Stunning shot.Ted

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  11. Love it!! Agree on all points Although you left out My biggest pet peeve -left lane drivers!! Are they naturally so self absorbed and clueless or as I suspect just one of the ‘I’ve got mine and you can’t have it’ assholes?!

    There r studies that show how they impede traffic, cause mishaps and the like. Or so I have read.

    Purrs to pancho Patricia Sent from my iPhone

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  12. For some reason I seem to be getting each blog twice, so I unsubscribed to one of them. Please keep me on this site, however. Love your work, and have followed it for years. Best, and a hug, Pat Moore

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  13. Wow! I feel like you’re Rush Limbaugh, and I’m all “ditto”! I’ve never had that experience before, at least not so point-by-point thoroughly.

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  14. Well, yes… but:

    I learned a while ago (and need to remind myself) that there is little to be gained from self-mortification.

    The world is full of idiots and honking, yelling, and gesturing will not educate them.

    Bad enough Trump has any supporters at all!

    I remember Jimminy Cricket (“Ukelele Ike” a. k. a. Cliff Edwards) singing: “I play safe for you and me ’cause I’m no fool…”

    Drive accordingly and read your previous blog entry.

    You can take time to smell the roses or wake up and smell the coffee.

    It’s a jungle out there.

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  15. I almost got nailed today when I pulled out of a parking lot simultaneously with a guy parked at the curb across the street starting one of those lightning U-turns through the traffic. No signal, of course. Tinted windows, of course, you couldn’t see that the parked car was occupied, it just suddenly started up. I have a friend who is convinced that some people think the turn-signal lever is what steers the car, that’s why so many signals only start flashing as the turn is initiated.

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  16. I recently accompanied an ESL class at our local community college on a field trip. One of the students, a young male from a very large Asian country, came up to the teacher and (seriously) asked her, with photos in hand, if he should by the BMW or the Mercedes. And then, just the other day, I saw two Mercedes SUV’s (like the one you describe in this column), driven by young men from that same large Asian country arrive on to campus and pick up fellow students.

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      1. Oh, my goodness…racism wasn’t in my thought at all. The point was about young men from wealthy Chinese families driving expensive luxury cars
        at the community college, where the faculty, staff and majority of students cannot afford such extravagance.

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  17. Yes, I agree with almost everything you posted and will join the ranks to bring about change. I said most cause I must disagree in part with the merging problem. When traffic is moving nose to tail it is only common courtesy to let a merger in to enjoy the crawl. But when I am traveling at speed in the right lane (I have no wish to join the race going on in the other lanes) I expect the merger to adjust his speed and spacing to yield (as the signs say) and slide in either before or behind me. That is what I was taught the yield sign means. Check out page 53 of the current California Driver Handbook.

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    1. Well, it is a common experience for me to have idiots SPEED UP to close the gap, when I AM trying to enter the freeway, adjusted to the speed of the right lane traffic!

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      1. Another of my (non) faves — the people who stay to the left all the way until you can no longer merge right at freeway interchanges, by-passing all the other cars lined up and creeping along in the right lane(s), and then forcing their way in, compounding the problem they are trying to avoid. GRRRRRRRRRRRR

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  18. About bicyclists, of which I am one. I bought a GoPro and mounted it on my bike handlebar so that when a driver cuts in front of me to make a right turn without looking in their side mirror, or runs a red light, and kills me, my daughter can see who the murderer is. Happens all the time here in SF even though I’m in a bike lane and they’ve just passed me.
    I stopped flipping people the bird on the freeway when they cut me off when I read in the Chronicle about a woman who flipped a guy the bird and he shot a bullet through her windshield. I had a slip the other day and the guy almost rammed me as he passed me. Good reminder to take a breath and don’t incite crazy people.
    Tour buses idle all the time. Drives me crazy.

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    1. I still grieve for Chris Robertson who I never met, although I did meet his sister. $500 and an Assault with a deadly weapon plea bargain with 30 days in jail and credit for time served. The murderer would have received a worse sentence for littering.

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  19. Two traveling monks reached a town where there was a young woman waiting to step out of her sedan chair. The rains had made deep puddles and she couldn’t step across without spoiling her silken robes. She stood there, looking very cross and impatient. She was scolding her attendants. They had nowhere to place the packages they held for her, so they couldn’t help her across the puddle.

    The younger monk noticed the woman, said nothing, and walked by. The older monk quickly picked her up and put her on his back, transported her across the water, and put her down on the other side. She didn’t thank the older monk; she just shoved him out of the way and departed.

    As they continued on their way, the young monk was brooding and preoccupied. After several hours, unable to hold his silence, he spoke out. “That woman back there was very selfish and rude, but you picked her up on your back and carried her! Then, she didn’t even thank you!”

    “I set the woman down hours ago,” the older monk replied. “Why are you still carrying her?”

    Also, your 17 year old junker is not exactly a pollution free vehicle. They have made ever so many improvements over the ensuing years in the area, oh, everything.

    Want a nice hour on an afternoon? Take a Tesla on a test drive. Te dealer is in Walnut Creek. You’ll never look at your Honda the same way again.

    Larry Jacobs

    PO Box 261

    The Sea Ranch, CA 95497

    larryjacobs@pacbell.net

    CONFIDENTIALITY – This email and any attachments are confidential and may also be privileged. If the reader of this email is not the named recipient, please notify me immediately and do not disclose the contents to another person, use it for any purpose, or store or copy the information in any medium.

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  20. Think I mentioned I’m working road construction in North Dakota. Really only flagging and occasionally driving a pilot car. So here’s my complaint. When I was 17 the Army gave me an M-16, taught me how to shoot, and then when I was 19 and got out they took my M-16 and ammo away. Now that I’m 63 and dealing with the great American motoring public daily I have a target rich environment, but no M-16!!!! God damned Army!
    One of the fun things rich daddies buy for their little boy-men here is a pick up truck that does what they call rolling smoke. Essentially they flip a switch and it looks like they need a ring job.
    I was flagging on US-85 last year and a poor child-man whom I had offended by stopping him and others and not allowing them to drive head on into a semi-side dump turning around down the hill towards the Long X bridge when I released traffic rolled smoke on me as he passed by me.
    God damned Army!

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  21. Loved this posting! I own a 12 year old Prius and live in SF without a garage. The stretch of sidewalk in front of my house can comfortably fit 5 cars. This is 5 cars if the first or last car in line goes all the way up to the driveway on either end. I cannot tell you how many times people either leave a good 10 feet between them and the driveway, or pull right up into what should be spot #2 and #3 and park right in the middle. “Good. I have a big huge place all to myself! Screw everyone else!”
    A few years ago my neighbor painted little orange lines on the curb designating the 5 spots. We all used those for years to help us position ourselves, but then someone from the city came and painted over them telling us we can’t do that for some silly ass reason.
    And on wastefulness: I recently shared a hotel room with some other women attending a reunion in Las Vegas. One lady had left the water blasting away while she was brushing her teeth. I walked over, turned off the spigot and said “remember the drought”. She replied “I forgot, we don’t have a drought in San Diego”. Really, isn’t San Diego in California? And where is the water coming from in Las Vegas anyway? So now I am referred to in that group as the San Francisco hippy who conserves water and composts. I couldn’t be happier of any other nickname.

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  22. Jon, as the co-owner of a Ford that is 16 years old, I heartily appreciated almost your entire column today, especially the part about those who leave their engines running. Especially those who are doing so to keep their A/C going. Then you digressed, and as an Oakland A’s fan since 1970, I don’t like to think I’m a sad sack, even though I know the A’s front office is sabotaging my loyalty almost daily now, and has done so for quite some time. But there is no way I can suddenly switch my allegiance to another team, no matter how horrible my team’s management is; life doesn’t work that way. It’s an integrity thing, or a principle thing, or something to do with what’s genuine in our hearts. Like having good manners when driving a car. I can, however, stop watching the games or attending them.

    Thank you for your blog, I’m glad to find you again.

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  23. We have more in common than I thought…ours is a 1906 house with no garage or driveway…ten years ago when I told my Mom in SoCal that we had no garage…she asked…”Well, can’t you park in the driveway”???…plus I agree with other commenters today…we will get NO sleep until we find out WHO was in the Mercedes!!!…

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    1. Our house (first occupied circa 1908) once had a garage. The woman who first lived here was a doctor who had an electric car, or maybe a Stanley Steamer, and the garage (having fallen down by 1978 and mostly carted away) was, our local lore told us, just big enough for the tiny car she drove. We have the great good fortune to live in house where the previous long-time occupants loved to talk about having lived there, that’s how I know.The doctor left the house to her sister (a pharmacist, and the remaining sister was a lawyer) and when the pharmacist sister died, the buyer was a couple who lived here for over 40 years until the 1960’s and somewhere I have the reminiscences of her son, whom I looked up and who issued a great reply. We moved in in 1978. That means, God willing, we will have lived at the same address for 40 years before long. More than half our lives. But then, my mother-in-law has lived in the same house in Rutland, VT since circa 1950!

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  24. Amen. I’ve been a licensed driver since 1955 and the list of things other drivers do and/or don’t do that annoy/frighten/scare me to no end has gotten quite long since then. I’ve driven all over the lower 48 states and the percentage of idiots, cretins, morons, texters, drunks, and other assorted crazies behind the wheel or on foot or on bicycles is pretty much the same everywhere. Even in rural Humboldt County where I live. If anything, it may be a tad worse here, thanks to potheads, meth and heroin and cocaine addicts etc. added to drunks. Yeah, I’m a live and let live guy too, and I practice defensive driving, only I suspect my own end some day will be at the hands of some idiot driver who could care less.

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  25. Ahhh – ever since the chapstick episode I’ve felt kindred, but this… now I know we are of similar minds. I am a nice person outside of the car, I swear I am! But the blatant hostility of the larger number of drivers in this area causes a Jekyll/Hyde effect when I get into a car here. And can we discuss the new habit of not pulling forward to make a left turn from a stoplight? Oy.

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  26. Jon, about that high-beam blast – let me take this rare opportunity to humbly apologize. I remember to lower the beams when there is an oncoming vehicle 9 times out of 10, and you drew #10. I am always mortified when this happens, because there is no way in heck to apologize to the other driver in that situation. For one thing, it is too dark to make a “sorry, my bad” gesture, and for another, we were going in opposing directions, and I am long gone by the time I realize what I’ve done.

    With all the fancy bells and whistles that have been added to automobiles since their debut a century ago, I have never understood why there is not an automatic, bright light-detecting, high beam lowerer developed and made standard on new vehicles.

    A tip I picked up from the trainer during my short, ill-fated attempt to learn to drive a school bus: when bright-lighted by an oncoming driver, don’t look. You can’t see anything anyway. Train your eyes on the fog line painted along the right side of the road. Works like a champ.

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    1. I think GM had that photo-electric automatic light dimmer on their high-end cars about forty years ago, didnt they? I don’t know what happened to it, haven’t heard about it in years. What I want is a brake light over the windshield so I can see if the guy coming at me is braking or not, it would make it harder for drivers to play chicken with pedestrians.

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  27. 1. The A’s have stopped trying. I feel sorry for Bob Melvin. I hate that David Fisher put on his dog and pony show at the port trying to placate poor Libby Schaaf, when he has no intention of doing anything but bleeding the rest of the owners for revenue sharing profits. Good for Coco Crisp for wheedling his way out of there.
    2. ” Carnival of carnage. ” lovely. I prefer to think of it as thinning the herd of these entitled bastards.

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  28. You’re right, you are a cranky old guy. If you have that much road rage, even if it’s all Walter Mitty, maybe you should junk the car and walk, start riding buses or splurge occasionally on Uber.

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  29. I love to read anything you write, and I’m so glad that my friend Ellen showed me where to find you. I’m concerned for you, though, driving around in this condition of anger and hostility. I’m married to a calm and sweet man whose personality changes the moment he is behind the wheel. He curses alarmingly, no matter how many times I have pointed out that the offending driver cannot hear him, but as passenger I can and I’ve done nothing to deserve hearing this language. I worry for his blood pressure, though his is normally low. I worry for his quality of life, with every journey made in a state of irritation. I drove 20,000 miles a year, mostly in California, but in a lot of other States on my job, from which I am now happily retired. Over time, I realized that other drivers might be: sleep-deprived, distracted by truly tragic life circumstances, drugged, on meds, drunk, texting, in a justified rage, suicidal, talking on their phones, opening a ketchup packet for the fries in their lap. I decided to just give them the benefit of the doubt. I assume of everyone that she is on her way to the hospital to visit her child stricken with leukemia. Or that he was just fired by his horrible boss. I practice instant forgiveness. Because I make driving mistakes myself. My greatest wish is that we had a universal hand signal for “Sorry!” And I thank everyone, especially in L.A., for not shooting me.

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    1. I fine, really. My persona while writing a blog post is somewhat different from, you know, me. I knew what would make a better bit of writing, and I discovered all this lovely bile. You’ve got some too!

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  30. so just what was the business of that idling car in your non-driveway? The suspense is killing me. A bunch of ne’er-do-wells? Of course you told off the guy (had to be a guy) as he exited the house. Of course you did.

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  31. And then there is N. California I-5 four-lane freeway. Many MANY big trucks. Lots of passenger vehicles. Trucks slow. Cars fast. Cars in left lane pass trucks in right lane. My turn to pass truck–I am closing the gap at 60 mph. Oops, what’s this? Mr. A-face zips in on my right going diagonally between my right front fender and truck’s left rear wheel. This goes on over and over.
    Luckily I am still here to tell the tale. Let’s just say it is difficult for me at that time to find any compassion for my fellow road warrior.

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  32. Off topic, I assume all of us are First Amendment fundamentalists here If you are not don’t read on. We need to support Colin Kaepernick. Don’t have an email to reach the 49ers, but you can write to him snail mail % SF 49ers, Marie DeBartolo Sports Center, Santa Clara, Ca 95054. BTW if you want to get your blood boiling, look up verse 3 of the Star Spangled Banner some time. And another thing, the last words of the first verse are not “the home of the brave play ball.” Ok, Ok. Exhale fear, Inhale love. I swear my blood pressure is back down into triple digits. Beathe as someone said in that lovely song from about 10 years ago. I think I’m done now. Or maybe now….

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  33. Well that was a righteous rant, Jon. I admit to many of the same. Then I try to remind myself of the exercises at East Bay Meditation Center to be centered, to remember that even people in new a Mercedes have their complicated lives, and that I will find peace only within my self. But still, “TURN down your fucking lights, asshole!” Om mani padme hum.

    When I was younger, I would pull out of my lane and drive directly at the offending car while flicking my lights on and off. Which only occasionally had any effect except for forcing the other driver into a ditch. I was cured of this when one offender turned out to be a police car that came back to chase me. Fortunately it was a small street, it took him a while to turn around, and by then I was headed for the next county. So I don’t attack that way any more. 😉 Besides, it seems like anyone dim enough (pun intended) to drive with his brights on (or no lights on at all) is unlikely to even realize why he was attacked, instead thinking that the world is full of crazy people, and that he should always have his brights on, so he can see me coming.

    Still, we have to realize that these are the rants of old guys who descry the lack of manners in the young, or the immigrants, or the uneducated, or those who never had to take drivers ed. We do not have to go through our old age channelling Chip Johnson. Still, “TURN down your fucking LIGHTS”

    Best, Scott

    Mask no difficulties, mistakes, failures. Claim no easy victories.

    Amilcar Cabral

    >

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  34. What I want to know is how a car parked at the curb can suddenly pull in front of you with no blinkers or visible brake lights. Just – boom – right in your path of travel. Not using turn signals really ought to be a capital offense. I don’t even support the death penalty except for this.

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  35. How many times have I wished I was a traffic cop. I would even work overtime for free. My annoyance and reaction to drivers continually stimulates me to become a better, less judgemental person. So far no success.
    I wish I could pull over every driver who does not use their turn signal. I put my turn signal on when there’s no other car anywhere in sight for blocks. It’s called a good habit. Same with always looking over your shoulder before making a lane change which is saved my life a few times.
    I really appreciate you sharing your feelings about super expensive cars. My thoughts exactly. And now you can buy $ 100,000 car and drive down the freeway without using your hands or your feet. My retiring dentist just told me he did that the other day. Such a thing shouldn’t even be legal or build.
    Truly, I can hardly drive without being extremely reactionary. I really feel like I’m a bad person sometimes the way I react to slow pedestrians crossing in a crosswalk so I’m not able to make my right-hand turn before the light turned red. I swear like a sailor at the bad drivers. The one thing that helps me is putting a Grateful Dead CD into the player and then I’m able to uplift myself and all those annoyances Fade Away.

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  36. With advancing age I do drive slower and earn the occasional Honk of Frustration. All the same, if a pedestrian is not going to be slowed by my turn, I proceed. My duty is to yield the right of way, no less no more. If the slow pedestrian needs me to stop in order to cross and get to the other side, well, so be it. I am required to wait for him. If he is less than halfway across the intersection, and obviously will not be impeded by my movement, I move. I certainly am never even irritated by slow pedestrians. They are probably doing the best they can.

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    1. I don’t turn across a crosswalk is a person is anywhere in it. I remember that legally a driver has to wait for the pedestrian to be fully across the crosswalk. If it’s a able-bodie remember that legally a driver has to wait for the pedestrian to be fully across the crosswalk. If it’s a person who has trouble walking, I have no irritation what so ever. But almost all my experiences are oblivious, uncaring, very able-bodied people taking way too long while and myself another cars behind me wait and often missed the light. I personally really pick up my speed when I’m crossing the crosswalk and somebody is waiting to turn.

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  37. venniey you are entitled to your own opinion but not to your own law. California law is quite specific. You must yield the right of way, which means you must not impede the progress of a pedestrian in a crosswalk. You are doing no one any favor if you wait for a pedestrian who does not need you to wait. All you are doing is slowing traffic and irritating the driver behind you.

    I don’t really care how long someone takes to cross the street if the law does not require I stop for them. But I have to say, the pedestrians that irritate me are those who stand on the curb but do not put a toe in the street. Which they must do to assert their rights. As a pedestrian, I am extremely proactive in that situation: If I want to wait for the street to be clear and safe, I wave oncoming drivers on, so they cannot think I am about to step into the crosswalk. But I have to say, I often stop for pedestrians that I think really want to cross, though I don’t have to. People are nice enough to stop for me, in residential neighborhoods, and I like to return the favor. (In San Francisco, I offer no quarter in that situation — too many people you see at a corner have not yet decided what they want to do).

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