I'm not sure what the reward will be, but I am sure I should be the one to present it.
Starting with the idiot in the SUV behind me this afternoon.
In our town we have a weird intersection, I think planned by an engineer from Weird, Florida. If you've never heard of Weird, don't worry about it. The engineer who planned that intersection probably doesn't remember where it is either, even though he likely graduated from the Weird University of Weird, Florida.
At any rate, the intersection is undesigned so traffic coming north on Route 3 from Bar Harbor has to swing right onto a newly built street that "S" shapes its way past Home Depot and Walmart to a traffic light that leads onto Route 1. The northbound traffic has no traffic signal, but vehicles heading south on Route 3 do. The villainous signal of which I write is to make a left turn from southbound Route 3 onto this new wiggly road.
There is really no way traffic heading south on Route 3 have any idea that traffic heading north on Route 3 has no traffic control. So, naturally, when the southbound driver turning left onto Wiggly Street sees his green left-turn arrow, he goes. He has no way to know a northbound Route 3 driver turning right onto Wiggly Street has no red light or even a "yield" sign.
Lots of confusion at the intersection of Route 3 and Wiggly Street.
Which is where today's tale of an idiot begins. I, driving our mighty but tiny -- 13 feet long -- Ellie Echo, had been coming northbound and, seeing no traffic also turning on Wiggly Street, swung right onto Wiggly Street.
So far, all was well.
Then, after swinging onto Wiggly Street and having gone a couple of hundred feet along it, I glanced in my mirror -- a habit more motorists could practice if they would like to continue being motorists -- and noticed a white sedan behind me. Behind that, right behind it, was a white SUV.
The SUV driver blew his -- checked out the male driver as he flew past -- horn, at what I wasn't sure. Possibly upset that the white car behind me was taking up space on the same Wiggly Street that his white SUV was trying to conquer.
Okay, so far nobody dead on Wiggly Street.
Then the white car turned into Home Depot, which I like to do on Saturdays, Home Depot being a kind of place guys like to hang out while searching for this or that. It has no potbelly stove as did the old general stores, but still a good place for guys to hang out on Saturdays.
The plot thickens. Actually it gets tighter. Mr. White SUV now crowded Ellie's rear bumper, the SUV was about a foot from her. Hoping the driver would notice Ellie was in his way, I did something I always, always, always advise other drivers not to do. I put my foot on the brake enough to turn on the brake lights and even slow down a bit.
Mr. SUV driver was caught unawares and actually slowed enough to back away. He slowed until he was at least eight feet from Ellie's rear bumper. (Had he not slowed down this would be a different column.)
Then Mr. SUV driver -- no turn signal of course now nor in any of the other maneuvers he negotiated -- swerved to my right, passed illegally on the right at about 40 miles per hour in this 25-mile-per-hour zone, and then swung left back in, right in front of Ellie.
A commuter in a hurry. I once read a study that those guys and gals who drive like crazy to get home, generally arrive home about 60 seconds sooner than they would had they driven as if they had been sane. The study didn't deal with what Crazy Driver does with that 60 seconds.
Perhaps the males of that species pound their chest awhile, about 60 seconds, to let the world know what great powerful, important beasties they are.
When apes and gorillas do that, they have a bona fide reason, although I forget the reason stated on a PBS Nature show.
Anyhow, Mr. SUV then turned left at the same traffic light I was about to negotiate, since I was now right behind him -- well over 12 feet.
I watched him race down Route 1, turn left at the traffic light at the foot of the hill......
.....and turn into McDonald's.
No wonder he was in such a hurry!
This SUV driver is at least the potential recipient of this week's Idiot of the Week Award. Of course, it's only Monday. There are several other days left in the week for other candidates for said award to perform.
There are, of course, lots of idiots out there on yonder highway, threatening all driving and walking civilization by their idiocy. The nonstarters are fun. Like the one I got behind today, while I was driving Mr. Bus, which has a nice, loud, frightening horn, if I need to use it.
The nonstarter today was sitting at a red light in front of Mr. Bus. The light turned, the other lane went. Nonstarter didn't went. Didn't move. I thought he or she was double parked in the traffic lane.
Cell phones are wonderful for causing that nonstarter behavior.
I finally blew Mr. Bus' horn, and apparently blasted Mr., Mrs., Ms., or Miss Cell Phone User back to a wakeful state. The car seemed to kind of jump, as I do when I'm minding my own business in the woods and a moose comes up behind me and blows his horn. Oops, forgot. They don't blow those antlers. And that' probably why when I notice Bullwinkle I kind of jump.
Like the car did.
Then the car drove around a right turn, no turn signal of course. If you use them, you know, they may burn out right before its time for the annual inspection and you'd have to buy a new light to pass inspection.
Horrors, can't have that! That could help our sagging economy.
Actually drivers turning without using turn signals or turning them on as they turn is one of my pet gripes. Recently, I was heading down a hill, starting through a green light, when a guy coming toward me on the other side of the intersection suddenly turned left in front of me.
I hit the brakes and blew the horn, knowing full well this idiot would have no idea why I was so excited. A couple walking on the sidewalk nearby looked at me. Good, someone pays attention to a horn. They probably wondered why I was so excited.
One of my non-favorites are the people -- not sure what award they're trying to get -- who pull right out in front of my bus, which is typically going between 50 and 55, so they won't get stuck behind the bus.
Then they go 40 or so, and I brake so as not to squash them.
I'm no longer going 50 or 55.
I used to get angry at these guys, but I remembered that way back in high school my driver's ed teacher taught me to treat idiots on the road as if they were bumps in the road. Don't hit them and just keep going. The bump is still there. The idiot is still there, and, if young enough, will eventually go home and multiply to guarantee that the world's supply of idiots will remain intact or increase.
Isn't that what God told Adam and Eve to do? Multiply. They weren't idiots, although one has to wonder what idiot would eat an apple and lose his place in a beautiful garden, where he would never have to work. Or drive like an idiot.
Later in the afternoon, as I was returning home from work in Ellie, I was stopped at a red light. I noticed the guy in front of me was waving. It looked as if he were looking in the mirror as he waved. I looked carefully, and saw he was waving at me. Turns out he is a regular passenger on my bus and a neighbor. (We even share the raccoons that love the bird seed we put out.)
I waved back and, as I did, I noticed to my right one of our buses. A motion caught my eye, and I looked up to see the driver waving down at me.
There we sat, all three at us, smiling, waving our hands in that sideways motion as one sees those silly toy arms and hands in the back window of a car waving, back and forth, back and forth.
I also noticed the other drivers looking at us, and reaching for their cell phones, no doubt to call a hotline at the DoogleDeDoogle Nuthouse to tell them about the potential three new patients stuck with them at a red light.
Using cell phones while driving, and at a busy intersection!
More candidates for the Idiot of the Week award.
And this is only Monday.
Milt Gross can be reached for corrections, harassment, or other purposes at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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