This past weekend was my Momma-in-law’s surprise 60th Birthday. She lives not so close; so, Hubby and I rented a car and joined all the other commuters on the road. All the angry, aggressive, impolite, inconsiderate, rule breaking commuters. Those unfortunate folks who spend 2 hours to work and 2 hours going home, alone in their cars, trucks and mini vans. Stopped and idling, the terminology Road Rage sprung to mind. Then started bubbling up from my toes. Curdling in my legs. Pooling in my stomach. Extending to my fingers which quickly found their way to the horn. And then finally escaping my mouth in a barrage of explosively blue language. My typically kind and patient demeanour quickly thrown under the wheels of my rented Yaris and left as road kill along the highway.
Wowey, the bumper to bumper, horn blaring, non-rush hour rush-hour, is a nightmare.
The radio station announcer sounding ever surprised that there was a stoppage in traffic at every corner of every intersection on our googled route. The two of us not wanting to veer off the geo-positioned satellite coordinated directions being piped in through all speakers in our shoe box, sat waiting. We waited for lights to change, for blinkers to turn and for garbage trucks to complete their shifts. We drove through white outs, squall warnings and past pile ups. We fought. With each other and hypothetically with the strangers in the vehicles around. Receiving no thank you waves from mergers. Being tailgated by ten tonne trucks and unable to pass people driving 85km/h in the fast lane. How, why and how again do commuters deal with this constant discord, that felt like a travelling circus, without any clowns.
As a Torontonian I am typically a streetcar, subway and go train rider. Doing double duty I read, write and watch the world go by. There are days when it’s late and I am tired that I wish I had a car. There are occasions when I wish that escaping the city was a little easier. Over all though, the stress I felt in the last 4 days of trying to turn left onto roads torn up with construction, stopped traffic at 10:15 am, registering for parking and the idiot in the Mercedes texting and trying to merge without a signal, was not worth the 4 wheel drive hatch back of having a car daily. Before delightedly dropping off my rental, I had to fill it up with gas. Erma Gerd! What a way to cap off my not so pleasing experience. With the cost of gas being through the roof, into the stratosphere, beyond the space station and circling the moon’s orbit, I got back into my teeny tiny Toyota, took a deep breath, thought Zen yoga thoughts and strung together a string of expletives that would shock my Momma. Handing the keys to this combustion chamber over to the rental clerk, he asked how my trip was. Fine, I said, hoping that any of my raging diatribes had not been recorded on the black box or would at least be erased before the next renter. Cuz as I’ve heard many times I’m not a bad driver, it’s everyone else on the road I worry about.
PS Black boxes in rental cars would be a great reality show. Just saying.