Issue 3: Local edition!
Friday, 23-Feb-2024 09:34:27 PST
by: Big Joe
I got this angle I see things at.
I reckon this angle is about 43 degrees off normal. I don't take anything at face value, cause I've got an unhealthy dose of paranoia skewing my view.
Lately it's been drivers that have given me 'rats in the upper story.' I consider myself a pretty good driver. shit, you have to when you drive a 1973 Cadillac Sedan de Ville, quite possibly the largest mass-produced car ever to come screaming out of detroit. Keep in mind that I try to drive, and even park, this thing in San Francisco. But I'm still convinced that all the drivers are out there trying to piss me off. Let me take you through a typical day to show you what I mean. By the way, I'm hoping for some sympathetic ears out there, cause it can't be that everyone is as (serendipitous) blessed as my friends.
I finally make it out of there and pull out into insane morning traffic. In an instant I'm initiated into the test. Instead of respecting the land yacht as they should, my mobile neighbors get competitive. I head down Divisadero to Oak. I notice ahead that if the car in front of me drives straight, i'll be able to slide past on the right to make the turn against the red. But he's deftly been keeping his eye on me in the rearview mirror and anticipates my move. He makes it look as natural as possible, but he swerves right JUST enough to block me. I keep my cool. I don't want to give him the pleasure of seeing me angry about it. However, I do inch up as close as possible to his ass to make him uncomfortable. His aluminum, wind-tunnel design is no match for Sugar and he knows it. The light changes, he gets out of my way and I smoke show around the corner. Traffic doesn't look too bad.
But looks can be deceiving. I'm heading down the left lane, when a car behind me flies past in the far right, then swerves across the road cutting me off at the red and making me slam the brakes. I think i see a smile in her rear-view mirror. I often dream of just slamming people like this, but I've been told that it's always the rear drivers fault in these cases. I'm already daydreaming of that Disney drivers ed flick where goofy becomes a fucking demon when behind the wheel. I take consolation in the fact that this woman must be a fast driver and she'll just race to the next light leaving me plenty of room to cruise along. But no, she waits about five seconds after the light changes before taking off. Just long enough so that if I honk I look bad. And instead of taking off quickly, she starts going slow looking for inexistent parking! Why the hell couldn't she have thought ahead and let me go in front?
I try to calm myself down by easing deeper into the leather bench seat and draping my arm over the top.
We get to the Franklin turn where you have to be in the right lane to make a right to the freeway. These people have had fifteen blocks or more to merge right, but instead, they wait till the last second, stopping at the turn to wait for people to let them in, knowing full well that no one is going to be that courteous. Selfish assholes. Franklin is packed, so i head over to Van Ness to see what's up there.
I hit every fucking red light for the next fifteen blocks. I start to tense up again, not even looking at the road while i drive, only paying attention to the stop lights to see if i'll make it. They always stay green until the very last second. Then they turn yellow right when it would be illegal to go through. I'm convinced that there are magnetic fields in the street that trigger the lights, and that there is some sinister traffic worker in a dark room somewhere watching it all on a monitor laughing.
I stick to the middle lane, figuring that that will be fastest with people slowing down to turn right or left. But i get stuck behind a Muni bus taking up just enough of my lane to keep me from passing. He goes as slow as possible, and I switch to the left lane. But a moving truck sees me and cuts me off, then slows down. Just as I'm going to pull back a line of traffic from nowhere streams by and the bus driver hits about 45 laughing at me! I finally make it back to the right lane anticipating a turn in a few blocks. The bus has picked up speed so we're moving along just fine. but the bus screeches to a halt to pick up passengers. Instead of pulling in to the bus stop, he turns at the last moment, allowing his rear to hang out in the lane. This may be the most irritating thing in the world. The ticket for parking in a bus stop is $273, an exhorbitant fee designed to keep them clear. But buses don't use them! Maybe I'll send a letter to the editor.
The rest of the way to work goes about the same. Bad roads, unnecessary road work congestion, more tourists, and ballsy pedestrians willing to die to be cool. I won't even delve into the parking situation. After 10 hours at my computer I've calmed down enough to be ready for the drive home. And it goes pretty smooth until two blocks from home. Finally, some asshole cop decides to pull to a stop and double park in front of me just to be a dick. I pull past and lean on the horn, which is about the dumbest thing that I could do. Of course, since he had no reason to pull over, he has plenty of time to pull me over and give me a ticket for -- get this -- 'improper use of the horn' and 'desregard for emergency vehicle.'
Just another day on the mean streets.
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