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Story by Lois Grace

Excuse me while I rant and rave.  I'm getting older, and it happens a lot now. It seems now like everyone is in such a freaking hurry. Everywhere you go, drivers are racing here and there, getting in my way and not caring if they do. I'm sure I'm not telling you anything you don't already notice on your own. They get in your way too.  They tailgate, and inch forward at red lights, IF they even stop at red lights. Hurry, hurry, hurry. Any time I get one of my cars out, some other driver usually does something to tick me off before I am even a half-mile away from the house. It's become a game with Rob and me:  see how many times someone does something stupid before you get to where you're going.  I thought this phenomenon was because we live smack dab in the middle of Silicon Valley and we are surrounded by techie geeks who think they are the center of everyone's universe. After all, what's more important to the well being of the world than computer technology?  But no, I'm finding out this is a nationwide epidemic. There are probably hoards of tailgating tractors pulling combines in the middle of Iowa. 

Have you noticed how everyone seems unafraid to die??  With the way people drive you might get that impression.  They talk on the phone with one hand, while applying makeup with the other. When they're done with the phone call, they're busily changing the DVD for the video display!!  Eating and drinking while driving seems popular too but I have done both of these myself so I can't say too much.  And don't even get me started on the whole texting thing.  Texting has taken the place of real, live conversation, and these people don't even stop when they are behind the wheel.  Do U think this is NUTZ 2?  Doesn't it take all your faculties to drive safely? Since when did driving become a secondary activity??

And, what is it about all this attitude?   Everywhere you go, someone has some chip on his or her shoulder about something and they think it&';s their job to make you suffer for it.  I am so sick of hearing about how someone 'dissed' somebody else.  The newspapers are full of stories about how someone looked the wrong way at someone else, and got run off the road (or worse) for it. Everyone seems to think they've been 'dissed'.  Why do they think they are due any sort of respect, just because they've got an attitude and demand it?  The idiots that spout this nonsense don't know the meaning of the word 'respect', because if they did they'd know you get respect by earning it.  Respect from others doesn&';t just come to you because you happen to be near them!  YOU EARN IT.  But so much for my lousy attitude.

One of the most disturbing things (to me anyway) about this trend is that is has spilled over from the Jerry Springer Show onto our streets. Bad behavior is now the norm, once people get behind the wheel. And the very cars these people drive have attitude!  Have you looked a Lexus in the face lately?  Or maybe a Dodge Charger or a Camero? These cars OOZE aggression. It seems they all have sneering grilles and headlights that challenge you to try and intimidate them. They, however, are great at intimidating others.  Next time you are out there, take a look at some car faces and see what you think: gone are the kindly, gentle faces of yesteryear, the benign and lovable Volkswagen stares and Edsel-type cluelessness. If you see one of these new faces in the rearview mirror, your first impulse will be to pull aside and let it go by so you don't have to watch it glare at you anymore.  And, that my friend, is exactly what the car makers want you to do.  In my opinion, drivers should not be encouraged to be aggressive, and they certainly don't need any help with it. They always accomplish that on their own.

There is a way out of this insanity, and I stumbled upon it quite by accident. Recently, while driving one of my vintage VWs it became so obvious to me that I couldn't believe I wasn't aware of it sooner. When I'm driving a vintage VW I don't even attempt to keep up with the crowd. I stay in the far right hand lane, and try to achieve the speed limit. Once I get to 60 or 65mph, I stay there and watch the rest of them speeding around me. It's very relaxing actually. There is even the occasional VW-watcher who will wave and grin as they go by, appreciating my fine machinery I suppose.  Most just jet on past, as if they see a 50-year-old VW Single Cab every day. Most don't have any idea what my truck is and have probably never seen one before but it doesn't matter. I happily just let them all go by, knowing that I'm the one having fun, I'm the one that will arrive at her destination a split second after they get there, I'm the one with the satisfied happy feeling. And what do they get out of the experience?  Maybe another headache and if the gods are really smiling that day, a speeding ticket. 

Oh, one more thing: why is is spelled 'backseat', when it should be two words, 'back seat'? Even my spell check thought it was wrong. Or would that be 'spellcheck'?  This back seat spelling is just one more thing that has always bugged me.  Thanks for listening.


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