Road Zen

I love my commute, most days. I ride my bike down to the water, take the ferry over, and repeat at the end of the day with the added bonus of enjoying a beer in the sun on the top deck.

a girl laughing on a ferry
My happy ride home

Some days I have to drive, and if I can bring Boonie dog in with me, it’s usually worth it.

And some days it’s hell. Road-rage inducing, inch-by-inch hell. The last tenth of a mile in the city, the last little uphill bit before I hit the bridge, has taken me longer than an hour to get through. Today it was only 45 minutes.

It’s not the time sink that bothers me. I’ve got some freaking amazing podcasts (although, pseudopod my dear, if you don’t come back soon I may lose my mind. Nothing gets me through traffic like your lovely, lovely horror) and I can chill out and wait my turn.

What bothers me is that I am forced to be an asshole. In certain parts of downtown San Francisco, at certain hours, if you’re not a law-breaking jackass then you’re simply not going to move. Most of the time I pull off and go get a drink instead. Several times I’ve even parked my car, BARTed home, and returned to pick it up the next day.

Today, I decided to push it. I decided that no matter what, I would not block the intersection. I would not be the person whom perpendicular drivers honked at, and upon whose hood pedestrians slammed angry fists. When the light turned green, I would not drive, not until I was sure there’d be a spot in the clear for me before the light turned red again.

Seven times that light cycled. And each time jackasses from every side blocked the intersection and blocked me out. I finally had to move, only because the driver behind me was threatening me with a shiv. I decided to break one law in order to keep him from breaking a much more important one (important to me and my kidneys, anyway).

It’s the prisoner’s dilemma. If everyone is polite and obeys the laws, we all get home in an hour. If you’re a jackass and the other car is lawful, you get home in half an hour and the nice schmuck gets home in three.

Actually, it’s worse than that. If you’re nice and polite, you never, ever get home because the rest of the people around you have bodily picked your car up and heaved you into the bay.

 

Road Rage photo is by Irish Typepad.

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