It’s so rare when a new form of stupidity surprises me in traffic it’s almost enjoyable when it occurs. Almost. The thing about traffic that some people seem to miss is traffic laws are a social construct that are transmutable, and the laws of physics are why people die in traffic, in horrible ways involving twisted metal, blunt force trauma, blood, fire, broken glass, and people behaving poorly after the event.
I would apologize for the digression, but honestly there seems to be a certain large proportion of the motoring population who do not understand the forces driving, no pun intended, vehicle accidents, and how to avoid these events. Rather, they seem bent, again, no pun intended, on daring Newtonian Physics to work against them.
Like Darwin, Newton has no fucks to give.
The car in front of me eases forward, we are both in the left turn lane at an intersection, Gornto and Saint Augustine, turning onto Gornto from the west, and all is well. There’s a line of cars behind me. Ahead is clear, the lead car has time to turn without tempting his particular god or Newton to smite him. He turns ever so slowly, and then inexplicably, he stops in midturn.
Did he die? Did his car quit? Was he the one person in south Georgia that actually was Raptured? Did he stop to finish singing a Taylor Swift song about loss? I look forward. Cars are coming. I need an escape route if this gets any stranger. Check mirrors, I can go straight into the left turn on the other side, illegal, scary, but the lesser of many evils, the greatest of those in traffic is not doing a goddamn thing when you could get the fuck out.
Don’t stay with it. If someone is doing something stupid, just get away from them. Go. It doesn’t matter if you have to go ten miles to turn around, or if you miss your turn, or anything. Just go. Leave the circus, because Brother, I am here to tell you one thing for certain and that is stupid rarely self-cures and it most definitely gets worse before it gets any better.
The car eases forward, horns are honking now behind me, and the window of opportunity for escape is closing, but he is moving forward into the turn, and he stops. Again.
Now the only out is to pass him. It’s a single lane at that point, and to pass I have to go into the double left turn on Gornto, but that is still better than sitting still. Cars are coming towards me. The guy behind me is losing his mind; he is likewise trapped. I make eye contact with him in the rearview. “Follow me!” I send that thought and I am getting the hell away from all of this now.
Suddenly, the guy goes forward. Slowly, but forward, and I’m good, the guy behind me is good, but we’re the only two to escape. This guy in front is going ten miles an hour, but he’s moving.
He makes a right turn at Publix, and I am free. The guy behind me follows the offender into the parking lot. This might go poorly, but I am moving on.
I have never seen that form of stupidity before. It was amazing.
2 thoughts on “Darwin, Newton, and Me.”
Once when I was 17, and had never driven in the big city, me and my 21 year old girlfriend and her sister in law made the trip in for a party. I remember lots of traffic and thinking I had the right of way on a left turn and I totally froze when I realized oncoming traffic was still oncoming. Thankfully no accidents, but I still think about it to this day. My girlfriend drove home.
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We have all survived ourselves after a certain point in time, my friend.