Last night, the Friday before Fourth of July Weekend, I came out of Fountain Square parking garage at 5:05 only to find four lanes of traffic at a dead stop. I waited ten minutes and was able to inch out into the far right lane, when I wanted to be in the far left lane to head down a very clear Fifth Street, hoping to make it home in less than half an hour. It usually takes just five minutes. I rolled my window down, put on my turn signal, looked drivers in the eye and graciously thanked them when they had the patience to let me across. This all took more than ten minutes, but I finally made it.
Down Fifth toward Interstate 471, traffic was backed up for four blocks so I elected to head down Broadway toward the Taylor Southgate Bridge. Now this bridge is usually the best alternative to I-471 because it has two lanes of traffic that usually flow fairly well. Except there is construction on the Kentucky side of the bridge that takes the two lanes to one.
I call it a merge situation. And my belief is not often held by others in this area. I call it the "I-go-you-go" method. In California, Utah, D.C., Virginia, Missouri and a lot of other places I have driven, it works well. Everyone assumes this is acceptable.
We creep along in our appointed lanes for another fifteen minutes or so, and I really am proud of myself for my patience, given my impetuous behaviors in the past when I just want people to get out of my way. As the two lanes of traffic funnel down to one lane I see that some people follow my method while others seem to follow my past and don't really care that we should be taking turns.
So I begin to slide and ease my car to the right, when I notice a white Buick Sedan, not only keeping abreast with my car, but actually coming toward it. I look over to see a white man with a carefully groomed white beard in the drivers seat. His red and white shirt stretches over his girth while his American flag blue baseball cap, of which I can only see white stars just above the bill, brushes the top of his white, bushy eyebrows.
I roll down my window and say, "Hey, I'm trying to merge here."
To which he says, "Well if you weren't trying to be such a bitch and just turn on your turn signal, I might let you in."
Okay, I have to thank Chelsea Handler for my new name for people like this, because he is my very own Whoopsie Doodle Shitski Mix.
I throw my hand up through my open sun roof and posed this question to my W.D.S.M., "Where else am I going to go?"
"Turn your damn signal on." Okay now he sounds like my childhood friend's dad when I got in trouble at her house.
Luckily for me I see an opening three cars ahead of us, and I gun my engine, wave my hand through my sunroof at the olive skinned, young man in the black Honda who lets me get into the lane. I can't help but have a passing fancy that I fixed W.D.S.M.
And later, I got to thinking about pain and how people react to it. My Whoopsie Doodle Shitski Mix is old and white, and I really don't want to categorize him as what I believe he is, but the evidence is there. He felt the need to control another person, me. He felt the need to call me a name because that made him feel better. And he couldn't leave well enough alone and give me some slack. We were all just trying to get somewhere else, perhaps a happy place. If he must call me a bitch and must attempt to force me to turn on my turn signal then perhaps I can look past his failings. He doesn't know me, nor my world of urban living. He likely is someone who comes from wherever that Noah's Ark thing is or that church that used to have Big Butter Jesus in front of it on Interstate 75.
I don't necessarily want him to go back to where he came. I want him to understand that merging is about this: I go, then you go.