There’s not a racist, bigoted or sexist bone in my body.
It’s how I was raised and how I’m raising my children. In fact, I’d rather live in a culturally diverse community than be surrounded by a bunch of white assholes like myself. I don’t stand for hateful acts and regularly preach to my girls that they should stand up for those who can’t stand up for themselves and to speak up when injustice occurs.
But when I get behind the wheel, I take the Howard Stern viewpoint on racism: I hate all people equally.
It’s almost like some kind of penance for God-knows what sins I’ve committed over the years. If I’m driving in the left-hand lane, then some moron going about 15 miles slower than me will suddenly decide to get in the lane in front of me. If I’m in the far right lane and am about to turn right at the stop light, then some douchebag will suddenly change lanes – and sit there in the lane until it turns green.
You get the drift.
Anyone who’s spent any time driving knows that certain cultures, genders and age-groups all seem to drive the same way. Racial stereotyping? Absolutely. But, again as the great Howard Stern once said, how do you think these things become a stereotype?
As a coping mechanism, I sometimes blurt aloud some of these stereotypes (along with a slew of four-letter words). Now that I have kids, though, I have to be careful about what I say.
So, as a service to you, I’ve compiled a few of my observations. For starters, we’ll ignore the low-hanging fruit: elderly, Asian, teen and minivan drivers. Yes, those drivers are typically dangerous on the road, but so, too, is any white male between the ages of 16 and 45. I promise you, that particular demographic will use their phone to text or read/send an email at least one time while driving. While on the highway. At 70 mph.
Among my less-obvious observations:
- God squad: Unless you’re in no hurry to get to your destination, change lanes the second you get behind someone with any kind of religious bumper sticker. The next time I see a driver with a fish symbol or a “Jesus Saves” bumper sticker crawl to within 5 mph of the speed limit will be the first time.
- Handicap drivers: Same goes for getting behind someone with a handicap placard on their car. Unless you want to be 20 minutes late, change lanes.
- Morbidly obese drivers: There’s a reason why morbidly obese motorists drive so erratically. They’re eating.
- Mothers without kids in the car: This is sometimes a hard one to spot. If you’re on the road and see another motorist who appears to be a mom – but don’t see kids in the car – then you know she’s in no hurry. The reason? This is like a mini-vacation for her away from her kids.
- White men in expensive cars: These guys have a surprisingly low number of speeding tickets, probably due to their $1,000 radar detectors. But they have no qualms with driving inches from your bumper, even if you’re going way over the speed limit.
- Any white male between the ages of 30-50 in a beat-up car: They’re drunk.
- Any white male between the ages of 22-29 in a beat-up car: They’re stoned.
- Any black or Hispanic female driver between the ages of 16-30: You’ll have to wait a few minutes for her to go after the light turns green. She needs to finish texting.
- Any white female driver between the ages of 16-40: Same as above, plus she’s also fixing her makeup and/or hair.
- Any white male between the age of 16-25 who’s driving an expensive car: Possibly the most dangerous driver of all, these spoiled assholes will have at least one accident and one speeding ticket on their record. This month.
- You, the reader: If you’re reading this and are highly offended, then I guarantee you drive way too slow.
(Quick side story: I once lost my shit while driving to work. There were only two people on the road: me and a motorist way ahead who was obviously going below the speed limit. About a quarter mile before I made my turn, this driver crossed two lanes to get in the right-hand lane, right in front of me, then proceeded to go 30 miles below the speed limit. Then, of course, the driver turned right, just as I did, on a one-way road, so I remained stuck behind him. My cursing, though, was soon stymied as I realized that the motorist was also driving to the same office. It was my boss. Expecting his wrath, I tried to avoid eye contact as he parked right next to me. But, he was all smiles as he exited his car. “Didn’t see you there,” he said, cheerily. See? Elderly drivers. Dangerous.)
I could drone on and on.
Anyway, I got particularly worked up one day after getting stuck between a motorist driving about 20 mph below the speed limit in the far left-hand lane and a motorist going slightly slower in the right lane. This went on for about 10 miles.
And I was about to lose my fucking mind.
I did my best to bite my tongue, because both girls were in the car. Finally – finally – the moron in the left lane had put enough distance between him and the motorist in the right lane that I could squeeze over into the right lane and pass both of them.
As I was doing that, my oldest daughter got a glimpse of both drivers, then said with a very curious tone: “Hmm. That’s strange, dada. They were both going slow, but neither driver is old, has a handicap sign or has a religious bumper sticker. And both drivers were men.”
I about died.
Guess I need to be a little more careful about what I say while driving.