Why has everyone in San Francisco suddenly forgotten how to drive?
When I first moved here, I was amazed at how smoothly traffic flowed in San Francisco. Sure, it was congested and there was too much of it even then, btu people coped with it well. Dan and I used to discuss it regularly. It was as if everyone had agreed to make the best of an impossible situation and made a conscious decision to behave in a civilized manner.
Seems they’ve given up on these lofty goals. It’s as if the booming economy, high rents, and corporate phallic symbols downtown have finally given drivers that New York state of mind. Here in the capitol of mellow touchy-feeliness, driving has become the only acceptable outlet for expressing one’s inner asshole.
And boy are there some expressive individuals out there! There is a special place in hell reserved for those of you who do the following:
- Pull out in front of me while babbling in a cell phone and them get pissed off (or laugh) when I hit the horn.
- Cut in front of me and then come to a dead stop.
- Ride my ass at any time, but especially when I’m already going five miles above the speed limit.
- Slam on your breaks mid-block in order to make a left turn from the right lane. Keep in mind that you’re only a block away from someplace to turn around, asshole.
- Pass on the right while driving down the 280 even when (a) I’m doing 80 and (b) there’s plenty of space to pass on the left, where you’re SUPPOSED to do it.
- Park your 20-foot tall urban assault vehicle right at a corner obstructing all views of oncoming traffic.
- Blow your horn while in gridlocked traffic. Just who the fuck do you think you are? Moses parting the Red Sea? What effect do you think you’re having? Were you born an idiot?
- Assume that left turns on red must be illegal here simply because they have no one-way streets back in Armpit, Iowa or wherever the hell you moved here from.
- Try to find your way back to the freeway to Walnut Creek after having two beers too many at Julie’s or your favorite fratboy bar the Marina (or the Castro).
- Think that being able to afford that BMW (or Lexus or Mercedes) makes up for your lack of driving skills.
A few warning signs pointing to the potential of bad drivers ahead:
- Folsom Street on Saturday night. I don’t know where these idiots come from (I’m guessing Contra Costa and Marin) but I wish they’d go back.
- Cabs. They will invariably drive both aggressively and badly. Given a similar job, I might behave the same way.
- Limos. Sort of like cabs, but they’re bigger and more likely to get in the way. They’re also usually full of drunk idiots making repeated stupid requests of the driver.
- Volvos. Another given. Almost without fail, Volvo drivers are indecisive and prone to occasional bouts of complete idiocy.
- Bumper stickers. The more “statements”, the worse the driver. One exception, oddly enough, seems to be stickers promoting bands.
- Any car costing more than about $50,000. Anyone self-obsessed enough to spend this much on a car is unlikely to be particularly civic-minded behind the wheel. Call this a generalization. I don’t care.
- Teenage males. Without question, the worst drivers on the road, especially those 30-year-old teenagers in overpriced cars.
Glad to get that off my chest. I’ll wait until next week before taking on car alarms again…