The Fast and the Furious: New Jersey Drift


What the hell is wrong with drivers lately? Are licenses being handed out at Walmart on a “special needs” basis? Has someone dropped a truckload of bath salts in the water supply? Or is it just that we have collectively crossed some kind of invisible behavior line from barely civil to overtly feral? I ask because every time I emerge from a highway on-ramp it seems I am immediately surrounded by the Toads of Toad Hall – their weak brains intoxicated by the rush of speed as they execute a frenzied series of high speed, signal-less maneuvers while talking on the phone, checking their email or plucking their eyebrows. This final activity is not confined to the ladies, either – I frequently have to drive in New Jersey.

It never fails; no sooner do I take to the highway than I am on the receiving end of a constant, escalating series of vehicular assaults that make a NASCAR race look like a geriatric Prius rally on National Put Granny Behind the Wheel Day. The local streets are equally treacherous.

Just so you know, I have driven in some scary ass places, on either side of the road and in panic-inducing conditions including but not limited to blizzards, monsoon rains, black ice and one unforgettable airport run with my in-laws providing a steady stream of helpful safety tips. Even so nothing, but nothing, can equal a few miles on today’s urban highway for sheer, trouser-fouling, mind-bending terror at the hands of gratuitously aggressive psychopaths on a manic UP and lacking any regard for life, be it human (yours) or sub-grade (theirs).

I’ve noticed that there are two recognizable types who are particularly dangerous (I’m talking about drivers who can personally skew the actuarial tables of entire regions): the overextended housewife in the massive SUV and the overcompensating middle-aged man behind the wheel of a minivan. If you routinely attempt highway driving, you will recognize the types. Consider yourselves warned.

Mrs. Apocalypse

To the unknown housewife who cut me off this morning after I obligingly pulled into the granny lane at 75 miles per hour to let her pass, I have a message.

Hey Blondie, put your bedazzled fucking iPhone down and listen up! That massive, white glacier of an SUV you pilot certainly is bangin’ and I’m sure you are, too. But as much as I enjoyed the thrill ride of having your fifty-ton Chevy Apocalypse half way up the tailpipe of my Jetta for the better part of thirty miles, I really must ask that you tighten up your driving skills, especially when you have at least twelve screaming ‘tweens in the vehicle, as you did earlier today.

Mrs. Apocalypse’s Death Star

Listen up Mrs. A, I have now officially had enough of you and your bling mobile, and next time we meet I cannot guarantee that I will show the kind of restraint I did earlier today when I merely love tapped your rear bumper. Though you may not have noticed it from up there in the wheelhouse, you very nearly turned my ride into a belly tank when you abruptly, and with no signal, swerved into my lane in an apparent effort to avoid missing the exit for whichever mall your ass was on fire to patronize.

My little bump was merely an effort to draw your attention away from the phone in your claw and the riot in your backseats and back to the job at hand, namely keeping that tarted-up cruise ship moving without actually killing me or anyone else. It is clear to me that the distractions in your Apocalypse, combined with your complete and utter inability to handle a vehicle that should require a class two license, had long since shorted out your small, bleach-addled brain, overtaken your limited cognitive powers and obliterated what remained of your hand-eye coordination when we encountered one another earlier today. You, Mrs. Apocalypse, have elevated inattention to an art form.

A word of advice: Next time you decide to start your day with that morning cocktail of Valium, Dexatrim and a vodka smoothie, get someone to drive you to your pole dancing class and stay the hell off the road, because you are a goddamned chaos machine.  If ever we meet again you’d best hope it’s not in my neck of the woods, bitch; the Brooklyn Queens Expressway will eat you alive, and I will be first in line at the buffet.

Mr. Minivan

Yo, Senor Caravan, just a quick question: What the hell is up your ass? I can only guess that having to cruise around in that powder-blue teeny bopper transport mobile is so demoralizing, so demeaning, so utterly emasculating that you feel you have no choice but to whip out your unit (yes, I’m sure it’s gi-fucking-normous and it’s a miracle you can even walk) and show the world who’s the man when you’re behind the wheel. How else to explain your excessive speed, hyper-aggression and crazed recklessness?

At rest a benign family car, but in the hands of Sr. Caravan it’s the great white of the turnpike.

Come to think of it, I have never, and I mean NEVER, seen you with both hands on the wheel. Now, maybe you’re busy twiddling the radio dial or touch-texting on the down low, but I have my doubts. In any case, I don’t really care what’s going on below my sightline; in truth, I’d rather not even think about it. The fact remains, however, that since you treat every little run to the soccer field like the final lap at Talladega, you always seem to get up in my grill.

Does it bother me when you refuse to pull over and let me onto an otherwise empty highway? Am I bugged when you swerve out into my lane on a local street, narrowly avoiding a head-on collision, to get around the double-parked Fed Ex truck on your side of the street? Does it fry my ass when you lay on your horn every time I fail to peel out within a nanosecond of the light turning green? Hell yes, you bet your sorry, middle-aged, Dockers-wearing ass it does.

So in the interest of road safety, I’d like to offer up the following: Mr. Caravan, please know that I realize your other car’s a Lamborghini, and I assume you’re just borrowing the little woman’s wheels while your chick-mobile is in the shop. In fact, I admire you for having enough confidence in your masculinity to get behind the wheel of a vehicle sporting bumper stickers that say This broomstick is PMS Powered! and Does this car make my ass look fat? Really I do.

I gave up on the paint job a LONG time ago.

Now would you kindly get the fuck off my rear bumper before I give you a brake job? Because I’ve got nothing left to lose here, pal. My car is fifteen years old and the odometer gave up the ghost at least 80,000 miles ago. Scratches and dents are just the cost of doing business in my world, but I’ll bet your wife doesn’t feel the same way.  You will not enjoy explaining the long ugly scrape or the bashed-in fender to Mrs. Caravan; I know because I’ve seen her screaming at you from the passenger seat.  So put it back in your pants and slow the fuck down, asshole. You have been warned.

About WSW

Writer, wife, mother. Toiler in the bottomless, black, soul-sucking coal mine of domestic life. Thank God for the portable bar.

Posted on March 16, 2012, in Rants, The Slattern Speaks and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 10 Comments.

  1. Oh my. How did I miss this gem? I’m going to be chuckling and thinking of you as my normal five mile commute turns into 6o tomorrow. Rage on sister

  2. There must be a little-known law that says only drivers who have the attention span of goldfish are allowed to drive SUVs. Furthermore, there is a little-known law that here in the UK, only drivers who live in the least vertically-challenged parts of the country are allowed to drive the bloody stupid things. Why get a normal car to make your stupid way around the flattest, warmest, least prone to snow, part of England when you can get a stupid four-wheel-drive peak-hopper stupid truck that was built for getting up mountains in blizzards?

    PS I popped by hoping to find ideas for things to do tomorrow night with a nice half-salmon someone gave me today: good luck with the new Slattern blog!

  3. This was amazing to read. So true! Thanks, I needed that. 🙂

  4. As my Grandpa Harvey used to say, “The things you see when you don’t have a gun…”

  5. LOL. I’ve been around the country and seen some pretty bad driving conditions, but so far SLC and Utah takes the cake. Some of the friendliest people in the country magically turn into ravening mean spirited lunatics behind the wheel, attempting to defy the word stupidity even when their car isn’t physically moving.

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