I’m a pretty decent driver.
With an officially clean driving record and accident free.
So, yeah, decent.
I excel at highway or expressway driving, in particular. Although I am just as capable out on the street.
Unfortunately, I have recently discovered that I may end up tarnishing my driving record with community driving. I didn’t know there was such a thing, but there is. I moved into a town that obeys some alternate universe rule of driving, which is not aggressive and not passive, but really passive-aggressive. Where drivers will never honk their horns, but will ram their cars incredibly close to yours.
I have attempted to go to the supermarket twice. Twice. The first time I nearly ran someone over who decided to walk through the empty parking space between two SUVs. By the time I pulled in and gathered my things, both SUVs next to me were loading groceries and an endless amount of children. I waited for them to finish, as the SUV to my left kept their car door ajar, inches away from my glass window. After it was over and both SUVs pulled out, I did too. I lost my nerve for grocery shopping. I just wanted to go home and be held.
The second time, I never made it into a parking space. No. I had reached the end of one parking aisle and needed to turn into the next row. Only, an SUV was trying to turn into the aisle I was so desperately trying to get out of. But the SUV couldn’t fit with me there. So, I thought, or I interpreted, or I assumed, that perhaps it would be best if I would get out of its way. After all, we were making eye contact through our designer sunglasses. And, not to mention, the SUV was completely stopped with its blinker pointing straight at my steering wheel. So, I went, I made a left at the same time the SUV decided to go forward and phooey the idea of turning into my aisle. I didn’t stop and the SUV didn’t stop. My quick thinking put me on the opposite lane. So there we were, side by side. Clearly now I’m going the wrong way. Finally I accelerated enough to cut in front of the SUV and get out of that parking lot for good.
Pedestrians are also a serious problem – being that they exist here. Actual pedestrians crossing the street. I’ve already almost hit two of them, not counting the one at the grocery store parking lot. These pedestrians don’t use crosswalks. They just dart out. Like something out of a video game. Next thing you know, they are in front of your hood. And as you brake for dear life, they don’t even acknowledge you. They just keep walking. Which I appreciate greatly. This way they don’t see all of my personal items flying out of my purse and on to the dashboard.
If that wasn’t enough, the police is out in ridiculous numbers, which makes for serious traffic problems. All of a sudden, normally safe and smart drivers are acting like they are hiding a kilo of cocaine in their trunk. Everyone is going ten miles under the speed limit. Using blinkers and hands free devices. Pedestrians actually wait for the light to change at the crosswalk.
Until, the cop car turns into a street.
Then, everyone goes insane. Cars start changing lanes every which way, drivers are texting their friends while putting on nail polish and pedestrians are running down the street like crazy people.
Until, the fire truck comes wailing down the street.
Before I start with the fire truck story, I have to tell you that this town is three blocks long and something like four blocks wide. The fire truck alone, takes up a block. Why it needs to turn its siren on and drive at 90 mph on the opposite side of the road escapes me.
On to the fire truck.
Even though the fire truck is on the opposite side of the divided road. A road divided by a beautifully manicured green landscape, complete with trees and flowers. Everyone on my side has decided to stop and scoot over to the right lane. The cars already on the right lane are now on the sidewalk, alongside the pedestrians. In a matter of seconds, the truck zooms by and everyone gets back on the road.
Until one of the cows gets loose.