I Know They’re Not Listening To Me
I DON’T GET UPSET WHEN THEY IGNORE ME. As a matter of fact, it doesn’t surprise me at all. After all, while I’m talking to them, we are in different vehicles.
Yup, I’m one of those people who talks out loud to the drivers of other cars on the road. I give them suggestions. I offer constructive criticism on their driving. I ask them if their car is equipped with things like turn signals, brakes, headlights, etc. I’m just trying to be helpful. Honest.
This is not done in anger. It is done in effort to help them improve their minimal driving skills. Many times I verbally suggest that they should have friends or family take over the driving chores for them.
I do speak up when I feel that the other driver has done something that might endanger them – such as having their turn signal on for fifteen minutes. I figure they are either confused, lost, deaf, or snoozing. Bad Juju all around.
I know that they can’t hear me, no matter how loud I may be screaming, but I’m hoping that some psychic vibe might be getting through to them. It could happen.
Hand gestures are not nearly as effective. They can be easily misunderstood, which can lead to other problems involving the police and/or the Jaws of Life, so I stick strictly to verbal communication efforts. I know that it’s hit and miss, but it makes me feel better for just making the effort.
Sometimes my verbalization is a running “Play by Play” of the other fellow’s driving.
“So, slowing down to ten miles per hour was intentional after all. You know that you didn’t need to prepare for your turn six blocks back? Oh, look. An actual turn signal, your left one, is blinking. Of course, I assume you know that since you are in the far right lane, turning left is a bad idea. But who am I to judge?”
When my wife, the lovely and universally patient with me, Dawn, is in the car I try to limit my monologues. I may comment on something now and then, but I keep most of it internalized. I think she knows that I’m stifling a lot. My unusually pinkish complexion and white knuckles on the wheel might be a tip-off.
A few years ago I was hired to write a textbook to be used to teach traffic safety and law to court ordered offenders, so I have a good grasp of what the Law actually calls for. When I see flagrant and dangerous violations I can’t help but speak up.
That writing gig may have been responsible for the onset of my verbal on-the-go commentaries. When I see bike riders going down the wrong side of the street or cars acting as if a traffic light turning yellow means, “Hit the gas!”, I feel compelled to speak up. I know they don’t hear me – they are moving too fast for my words to catch up, but I do it anyway.
So, if you are ever driving in Terre Haute (That’s French for, “Loading Zone? But I’m already loaded.”) and you see a red Toyota being driven by a devilishly handsome chap wearing an SF Giants baseball cap who appears to be talking to himself – well, that’s probably me. Stay in your lane. Use your turn signals, forget your cell phone, and keep both hands on the wheel you darned fool! Can you hear me? I’m talking to you!