I live in the Northeast, and as such, we got our asses kicked by a snowstorm this weekend. Saturday was just a whiteout of snow and wind and Sunday was a day of shoveling, tubing, and snowman-making. Schools were on delay (or in the case of my daughter’s preschool, closed) today. I didn’t understand this until I tried to go to the grocery store. The roads are still really poorly cleaned of snow, lots of two lane roads are now one, or maybe one and a half lanes wide, and since there is snow on the ground, all standard rules of driving are suspended. Oh, didn’t you know about that last part? Well, I didn’t either, but it is the only reason I can come up with for all the incredibly stupid driving I witnessed.
On an average day, it takes me 10 minutes to get to the grocery store. Today, it took 30. The one section of road that is normally two lanes was indeed only one lane, but as that stretch is maybe 10 yards long before it opened up, it shouldn’t have caused such a backup. Once near the store, there was only one cleared road leading up to it – the longest, curliest, most circumspect road possible. So as I took in the scenery, I noticed the two rows of cars double-parked immediately by the front doors, the better to avoid actually having to find a spot and maybe get wet feet. There is a parking lot in hell reserved for those people and it is as far away from the entrance as possible.
Once my shopping was complete (made easier by the bribe of a Polly Pocket for good behavior for my oldest and the promise of a cookie for my youngest), I headed out of the lot. That is when all rules of driving were apparently suspended. Let me give you an example. At a four-way intersection, a huge pick-em-up truck decided that the best way to beat the yellow light was to pull into the box. Essentially, this person parked directly underneath the stoplight and blocked traffic in three separate directions all for the pleasure of moving up two feet. Of course, since her truck was the length of three normal cars, she actually managed to back up traffic for two full cycles, all while looking steadfastly ahead as if she couldn’t hear the horns. And oh, were the horns a’playing. It didn’t matter if a car was six back from the turn, or two lanes over, laying on the horn seemed to be the best course of action. It also didn’t matter if the person in front of the horn-blower was powerless to move, was also using a horn, or was slowly turning puce due to increased blood pressure. Let that horn blow.
Let me share another example. Did you know that a four-door black Cadillac could fit into the blind spot of a Subaru? It can if it is trying to make a left turn from the right lane and seems to think the best way to do so is to drive directly into my right quarter-panel. I would have been happy to move forward and make my own left turn if the guy in front of me hadn’t decided his best course of action was to take up two full lanes of traffic by parallel parking as a means of trying to get into a non-existent right lane. I won’t even discuss how many people actually ran the red light as it suited them or how many of them were in such a hurry to get out and about today that they were unable to clean off the top of their car, leaving me to get whammed by chunks of falling snow at regular intervals.
Would you like to know the worst part of driving among this crowd? I couldn’t curse at them! Nope, I had two impressionable youngsters in the car and their daddy already taught them how to flip someone the bird. Instead, I had to suffice with muttering as quietly as possible under my breath and the occasional groaning noise. It really wasn’t the same.