Why does driving turn people into complete lintlickers?
Lately I have had some rotten luck with vehicles. First our van had a nasty altercation with a deer this summer. Then in September it refused to start; the repair shop informed us that the starter blew out because there was coolant in the cylinders due to a leaky something-or-other. The guy said it would cost more to fix than the van is worth. It’s currently collecting snow in our driveway until we can afford to trade it in for something else. So we’re currently driving our car and my parents’ Ford Ranger.
Our car… how can I put this nicely… Let’s just say it’s seen better days. The shocks are completely blown; even the slightest indentation in the road triggers a series of rattles, thumps, and crashes. I’ve driven shopping carts with smoother rides. I have driven during an earthquake and it was less traumatic than driving this car on a bumpy road.* Only one of the windows functions properly; of the other three: one has a dying motor and sometimes needs manual assistance to close (especially if it’s cold out), one won’t stay shut unless held in place with duct tape, wood shims, a wad of cloth, or some combination thereof, and the last one doesn’t open at all (in fact, it hasn’t opened since before we bought the car.) It’s also leaking antifreeze (and possibly oil). It’s the kind of car you expect would belong to a college student, not a 30-something parent with a college degree and two teenaged kids.
The Ranger is alright, but it is completely useless on any kind of ice, and occasionally refuses to start unless you pop open the hood and wiggle the wires in just the right order (which is never the same twice in a row). Kind of like a secret handshake. Except only one of you knows the secret. It’s also a manual transmission, but that doesn’t bother me unless I happen to hit a red light when headed up a hill.**
But I digress. This blog isn’t just about cars, it’s also about impatient jackholes. The other day I decided to drive the Ranger to the store on my lunch break, but no sooner had I pulled out of the parking lot into the left-turn lane than the truck stalled, leaving me parked at a red light. I tried to start the engine but after a few “herrrrrnn herrrrrrn herrrrn”s, I knew there was nothing else for it. I was going to have to get out and jiggle some wires. I turned on the hazard lights, and (after checking for oncoming traffic obviously) got out and lifted the hood. I wiggled all the wires I could see, blew on a couple of things, wiggled the wires again and said the magic words, then closed the hood and tried the ignition. No luck. Dammit.
As I was sitting in the truck, calling my dad to see if he could come & rescue me, the light turned green. That’s when the clueless jerk-face who had pulled up behind me honked his horn and gestured at me like “get moving you stupid woman, the light is green”. I got out of the truck. The temptation to march over to his big-ass truck and call him an insensitive idiot was tremendous, but I resisted. Instead I gave him my best “Don’t you know what hazard lights mean you moron” face, and mimicked the flashing hazard lights with my hands before walking around to the front of the truck and lifting the hood again. He finally got the hint & drove around me. I flapped my hand at him as he passed.
It just so happens the sales department of my office has windows facing the street where I was stalled. Someone must have seen the excitement, because three of our sales guys appeared at the corner shouting “Do you need help?” Now THAT’S more like it. With the presence of witnesses, obviously the truck started right away. The little brat.
The moral of this story is Obey Wheaton’s Law: “Don’t be a dick.” If the vehicle in front of you is flashing their hazard lights & doesn’t move when the light turns green, perhaps you should consider offering some assistance rather than honking your horn & making rude gestures.
*You may think I’m exaggerating, but I am not. I was driving through downtown Seattle when this earthquake happened and didn’t realize it had been an earthquake until after it was over. I felt the car moving, and saw the stoplights and lampposts swaying, but I just thought it was really windy. If you have ever been to Fargo on a windy day, I think you would understand my mistake.
**If you have ever seen the Red River Valley, you know this is a very rare occurence. Fargo is at the bottom of a former glacial lake so there are hardly any hills at all. Most of the intersections matching this description are man-made underpasses, and are usually easily avoided.