Friday, July 15, 2005

On my drive to work, there's a certain left turn that I never feel confident making without a green arrow. It's on a busy street, with oncoming traffic coming up over a hill around a curve. You can't actually see the car barreling toward you until you're halfway into the turn. So I usually sit there and wait for the arrow.

Inevitably, there is a middle-aged man in an SUV behind me in the turn lane, just itching to lurch into traffic and arrive at his destination one fraction of a second sooner. Often he's smoking a cigarette. Sometimes he's a woman. But regardless, my sitting at the green light ahead of him as traffic whizzes by is infuriating.

At the slightest break in traffic, I can somehow read his thoughts: "Come on! You could have made it!"

I anticipate the honk:


I know without even looking that he's shaking his head at me in disgust.

I glance in my rear-view window. Yep! There's the head shake. Occasionally it will be punctuated by an angry drag on the cigarette.

I used to take it personally, but it's become so routine now that I almost count on it. I think it's funny that no matter who is in that SUV behind me, they unfailingly participate in the traffic break/honk/head shake ritual. They probably don't even realize that every SUV that's gone before them in that same turn lane has experienced the same frustration at my little green car's failure to make that left-hand turn.

They should take comfort in that, I think. It'll give them something to do while they sit there and fume.

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