What Grinds My Gears

By: Jason Colthorp
By: Jason Colthorp

People that block the road!

Anyone familiar with U.S. 127 these days knows all about the construction.  Right at Frandor heading South it moves down to one lane, everybody gets over, waits a few minutes and traffic moves.  Well, a few days ago, the spot where it goes from two lanes down to one was moved South about a mile near Jolly Road.  The first day I slowly went along in the right lane until I realized it was open.  Shockingly, everybody still got over at the old spot-- even though the other lane was open.  Every day since it's been the same-- drivers get over at the old spot to my amazement.

Today, I'm cruising along around past Trowbridge when I notice the sentiment of the other drivers changing.  Then I check the rear view.  It's just the guy in front of me and me cruising in the right lane with about a mile to go before you have to get over.  Up ahead is a pickup kind of doing that "I'm gonna block you from passing" maneuver.  He chickens out at the end, but as I pass it's an elderly man who gives us the finger.  Really?  Really?  You're the one who got over two miles too early and you're flipping me off?  I wanted to stop and let him know he should be in the other lane cruising for another half mile.  Sorry, you can't follow highway signs, but I can.  And on top of that-- he and everybody else were slowing the whole highway down by creating a faux traffic jam!

Shortly after Grampa Grumpy, came a driver who knew how to block the road.  So I got over along with the guy in front of me.  Rarely, do I ever pull the blocking move, and for one good reason: you have no idea who's driving the car trying to get by.  Sure, 4 out of 5 times it's a jerk trying to screw 50 cars by screaming up the side and getting in at the last second.  But how do you know it's not an emergency like someone hurt or a woman in labor?  Or worse, what if it's a psycho with a gun and you've just set him off?  Just let them go and don't worry about it.

Now, I was actually trying to do this guy a favor by speeding up traffic.  If more people had gotten in the right lane before merging, it would have decongested traffic a bit.  Obviously, he was upset at my vigilance for the obvious.  Mad at a driver-- obeying the law mind you-- for doing what he should have done.  And he's lucky I wasn't the first car behind him, because I'm still driving a minivan with 150,000 miles on it and counting the days until I land a GMC Acadia.  So, speeding around a guy blocking the road and letting him sideswipe me accomplishes two things: I get to lecture him about his stupidity and I get a new car immediately.  But if HE is a psycho then I have a problem.  Hmmm.

And that's what grinds my gears.


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