My Biggest Driving Pet Peeve

During rush hour traffic today, I waited at the head of a line of cars for the signal light. And waited. And waited.

Success! -no, a left turn for the other direction.

Suc- no, a left turn for our turn lanes.

Two lines of cars, trucks, minivans on each side pulled out to the intersection then off to the north- and south-going lanes whilst we idled. Then, finally, we did get our light! -no, the intersection still filled with those drivers bending the Yellow Light Rule. And more drivers. And more.

At about the fifth or sixth car turning in front of me, the minivan with the green light, I drove forward. And yet, two or three more cars came on. I employed a trick I’d learned from driving in California and New York, and laid on the horn as they eked past the oncoming horde.

And was reminded of my main driving pet peeve: red light rushers.

I know driving during rush hour can be tricky. In heavy traffic times, I’ve been a left-turner frustrated by a long wait. I’ve been further frustrated by the traffic light allowing four cars through after a five minute delay. I’ve been further further frustrated by no turn light after two five minute delays.

BUT I do not see any reason to squeeze fifteen cars through a red (YES, it was red!) signal against heavy, oncoming traffic. Do they all have a death wish? Surely they aren’t all selfish idiots.

Right?

On some occasions when I’ve complained about red light rushers, my friends have hinted to lighten up. Two of my friends even admitted to the practice.

I think I draw reasonable lines. What do you think? Do you experience people driving like this, or do you experience more heinous practices? Should I live and let die; or continue my righteous crusade, aided by my trusty horn?

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I’m calm. Really. And I wrote the following:
Wednesday, August 21: Wrote “Why Vacation if You’re a Stick in the Mud?” after a ‘fun’ family vacation.

Thursday, August 22: Nothing

Friday, August 23: Winner of the Weekly Terribly Poetry Contest. Congratulations to Gary!

Saturday, August 24: Announced the 40th Weekly Terrible Poetry Contest. The theme is Shakespearean laments. PLEASE ENTER!

Sunday, August 25: “Old World Customs,” in odd response to Carrot Ranch‘s prompt.

Monday, August 26: An inspirational thought from the BBC’s Sherlock Holmes.

Tuesday, August 27: “Wilhelmina Winters, One Hundred One.”

Wednesday, August 28: Today.

I also posted all this week at my motherhood site. I wrote “Picture Imperfect,” “The Beauty of Telling Children, ‘No,’” and “Mother, May I?

 

Photo Credit:
Image by methodshop from Pixabay

 

©2019 Chelsea Owens

Hallowe’en Serial, 5th Night

Continued from #4.

Like any sane woman with a few self-defense classes under her belt, Carol panicked. “Eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!” she screamed and flailed around helplessly. Fortunately for her, her left elbow bumped the Door Lock button mid-flail.

She heard the lock engage in the driver’s door just as the owner of the glowing eyes suddenly threw itself at her window. “Eeeeeeeeeeaaaaaahg!” she screamed again, and fell over the middle console to get away. Teeth, tongue, dark fur, manic red eyes, and long, long claws scrabbled at the window. The claws were the worst; each *Screeeee!* leaving a line behind and surely weakening the surface.

Carol looked around her small car, wishing for anything that might help her. The most lethal object she saw was a pen. She didn’t keep so much as a snow scraper handy in the front seat, believing all tools belonged in the trunk.

*Critch* went the window-glass, just as she spotted the garage door opener. A hasty getaway was her only chance, storm or no. She stretched up and pressed it, a brief relief touching her panic as the door to outside lifted.

Her attacker paused, distracted. She was surprised to notice he appeared to have remains of clothing on his …person. Carol squinted and could make out a few torn, striped strips, buttons, a cuff; maybe what once was a pair of khakis. The feral animal turned back to look at her; its brow lowered into a scowl. Carol could hear it growling as she saw its lip curl up in a malicious grin.

The creature squatted, then leapt. She heard a *thump* above her and watched its back legs and bushy tail thrashing through the driver’s side window a half-second before she realized what it was doing. “Eeek!” she squeaked out as the horrific face appeared in the passenger side, upside-down. She watched the whole of its body fall across the window, then was treated to the same desperate scrabbling on the starboard side. The attacks were more forced, more rapid this time. The car rocked on its suspensions; the glass creaked and cracked.

Before she had time to talk herself out of it, Carol slid back into the driver’s seat and started the engine. ♪ *…they don’t know -When / its coming,  / oh when / but its coming* ♫… crooned the radio. She put the car into Reverse and gunned it as she never had in her entire life.

♫ *Keep the car running* ♫

The poor sedan lurched and whined, hopping down the driveway in short, lame bursts. She smelt burning. The car was old, but hadn’t shown any signs of failure recently. She looked up and saw the hairy creature rising from where it had fallen in her hasty escape. Why couldn’t she go?! And then she saw the parking brake.

Without hesitation, she released it with a *Clunk*. The car shot backwards and collided into and up the opposite curb before she eased off the accelerator. Switching to Drive, she tore away down the street. She dared not look back, even to see if the garage door was still open.

♪ *And they don’t know / When it’s coming, oh when is it coming? / Keep the car running / Keep the car running / Keep the car running* ♫

The storm was closer; lightning illuminated the houses just a block away from her street and rain and wind buffeted her battered car. Just as she thought to slow down for the approaching stop sign, she heard a long, loud, Owooooooooooo!

Her eyes found the rearview mirror against her will. A flash of lightning showed a dark shape running down the street after her; hunger glinting in its red eyes and white fangs.

Traffic laws would have to wait. Quickly checking for oncoming cars as she drove, she ignored the stop and squealed a turn out onto the main road. Her sole thought was to get as far away from the man-creature as possible. She hoped no police were out, and not because she worried for her spotless driving record.

Continued at #6.

Wilhelmina Winters, Fifty-Six

One reason Rob had chosen their current apartment was its proximity to Cynthia’s medical clinic. Unfortunately, Wil reflected as she watched cars, stores, and traffic lights move through her dim reflection in the car window, the clinic was not where they needed to go for emergencies. Also, that health facility was closed, as most seemed to be, on Fridays. She had often wondered if the doctors all thought no one got sick at the end of the week.

She turned to watch shadowed pieces of sunset play over her parents’ faces in the front seat. Her father sat tensely, his thick fingers turning ever whiter in their grip on the steering wheel. His eyes bored through the windshield, willing them at the hospital already.

Her mother –Yes, my mother, Wil told herself. –Wait! Where did those papers go?– sat in her relaxation pose. Cynthia’s head lay back, her blonde hairs dusting the headrest. Her eyes were closed. Her breathing was carefully shallow.

Rob’s cell phone chimed. Wil jumped, then realized it was just a notification. “Mina. Please.” Her father’s request, as usual, was a succinct command. Forgetting her train of thought, she leaned forward and took the phone from the console.

Putting in the simple code of one horizontal line to unlock the screen, Wil saw that Jakob had texted back. She cleared her throat and said, “It’s Jakob. He says, ‘Class almost out. Can get ride to hospital with Jen.'” She looked up, curious. “Who’s Jen?”

Cynthia laughed, which brought on another coughing fit. Wil looked distraught, a feeling made worse by the stern look her father wore when she caught his face in the rearview mirror.

They were nearly to the hospital when Cynthia caught her breath. As Rob carefully navigated into the parking garage, she turned her head to look at Wil. “I love you, Wil,” she said sweetly. “Always curious.” Wil did not look reassured, which almost set Cynthia going again. She swallowed a few times, allowed herself a smile, and said, “Don’t worry, Honey. I don’t know who Jen is, either. It’s probably just a girl in the same class who has a car.”

They pulled into a spot, and Rob put the car into park. Securing it with the parking brake, he turned and pulled his cell phone from Wil’s hand. “Let’s go,” Rob said, ever tactful and patient.

Cynthia smiled up at him, loosening his features into his version of the expression.
Wil hastily unbuckled. She pushed the car door open, hitting the cement wall they were parked by. Rob sighed. Cynthia had to suppress another laughing fit. Wil looked around, expecting Jakob to say, “I hope Wil marries a car detailer,” as he always did when she dented their car. She remembered that he wasn’t there, and instead looked apologetically up at her father.

“Nevermind, Wil,” he said, tiredly. “Just get out and close it. If you can.”

Leaving their sedan with all its scratched doors locked and secured, the Winters walked out of the garage and to the doors of City Hospital.

 

Continued from Fifty-Five.
Keep reading to Fifty-Seven.