Slow-burn on the Interstate

A line of "cheaters" try to merge on the right.
A line of “cheaters” try to merge on the right.

Nothing burns me more than inconsiderate drivers on the highway or city streets.  This anger is something I have to watch.  It could quickly turn into road rage.

An example.

Last weekend while sailing homeward on I-17, traffic suddenly slowed dramatically.  From 80 mph,  I down-shifted the Civic into second and then first gear, stopping and going, top speed about 5 mph.  It was the clearest portrait imaginable for “inching along.”  Vehicles backed-up for miles.  I figured a bad accident had occurred.

This happened at a point just above Black Canyon City where no escape routes exist.  Mountains and desert on the right and left.  No place to turn around.  No exits that lead anywhere in particular.  Certainly not toward Phoenix.  Or so I thought.

This pace that only a snail could appreciate went on for about 30 minutes.  It was about then I noticed many vehicles starting to take the Rock Springs exit.   This exit leads into a small business district, past the popular Rock Springs Cafe, and then back out onto I-17.

It soon became obvious what these drivers were trying to do.  They had no intention of stopping at the cafe for one of its “world-famous pies.”  These cheaters were trying to bypass the rest of us, trying to save five or ten minutes of wait time, and jump back on the Interstate a mile down the road.   It was bad enough to see a car come down the  shoulder on my right and jump in front of me.  It was bad enough that two men on motorcycles also passed on the right and motored up to the front of the line, wherever that was.

This third line of traffic coming in from Rock Springs, now merging in front of me, slowed those in the right lane even more.  Infuriated, I did what any normal person would do.  I hugged the bumper of the car in front of me, refusing to let even more of these jerks get in front of me.  It was so satisfying to close out a car with its left turn signal on as if begging to be let in line.

I never discovered what caused the hold-up.   If it was a car accident, then it had long been cleared.  A Highway Patrol car with lights ablaze and some men working beside the road were the only clues.  I do know I lost about 45 minutes in reaching Phoenix.  No big deal.

All of  this anguish made me reflect on America.  Maybe such inconsiderate road behavior runs world-wide.  But, really, what kind of people are these drivers who think their time is more valuable than mine, who think I am a sap to be considerate?

I have no real answer.  But I firmly believe it is the great divide in America right now.  Those watching out for only  themselves, those who see life as a rat race with nothing but winners and losers, incapable of stepping into the shoes of others, that,  versus those who believe in teamwork and cooperation, that, really, we are all in this together.

The eternal battle.  Conservatives and liberals.

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