Thursday, November 16, 2006

I’m Retiring.

It is with much regret that I make this announcement today. For over a year and a half I have been a part of something that I consider to be bigger than myself. It’s a community of people first and foremost, but beyond that, it’s a sort of family. When I first started doing this, it was a bit of an experiment*. It was a way to find out more about myself and those around me. It was a unique field to work in because of the anonymity combined with the intimacy. I do not regret my time participating, but today, it is time to call an end to the experiment. I’m announcing my retirement once and for all removing the sign from my car that says, “Please Cut Me Off.”

This past year and a half I have enjoyed being cut off by various strangers and alternately swerving off the road or slamming on my breaks just split seconds away from heavy impact and certain destruction. I consider myself very lucky to have participated in the experiment and I can honestly say that I have learned a great deal from it. You’d be surprised how often you forget you have that sign on your car. But at least once a day I would get a nice reminder. And not once in the last year and a half did I ever see it coming. My heart still races every time I slam on the breaks and fishtail, narrowly missing another car. You’d think after awhile it would become routine, but you’d be sadly mistaken.

I think what changed it for me today was a lack of understanding. I’m part of the great scientific process. I don’t think a lot of people understand that. But more than that, they don’t respect it. As I was driving to work this morning, a large gray pickup truck was kind enough to move from the far left lane, across the middle lane and into the right lane (where I was driving), with such alacrity, that I barely had time to slam on the breaks and steer slightly to my right, giving him those extra inches he needed to move into my lane without making contact with my front left quarter panel. That was all well and good, but what really got to me was the Lexas SUV sitting at the corner waiting to make a right hand turn that I had even less time to steer my car back to the left and avoid by what felt like fractions of an inch once the gray truck had passed by. After I had passed the Lexas SUV, he was able to pull out and follow behind me. At the next red light, he pulled even with me. I looked over, expecting a commiseratory headshake, but instead what I got was a look of disdain. One of those, “How dare you bring your inferior piece of junk car anywhere near my gas guzzling piece of automotive perfection!” looks.

That’s when I knew it was time to get out of the game. Back in the old days, I would have seen that look and been driven by it. It would have been fuel for the fire. But today, I felt nothing. The fire was gone. So I’m stepping down for now. Please stop cutting me off. Thank you.

*The results of the experiment are still pending further tests. These tests are being performed by professionals and amateurs alike. If you would like to be a part of what I’m sure will be called science’s greatest breakthrough, simply put a sign on the back of your car that says, “Please Cut Me Off” and each time you get cut off, rate the other driver’s performance on a scale of 1 to 10. One being, “I totally saw that coming and was able to avoid it with ease. Didn’t even use my horn.” And 10 being, “That $&*#ing piece of *&$#!! I can’t &$^#ing believe he %&^ing pulled that $^&#!! I swear to @&%$ing &$%! Followed by a horn honk of at least 15 seconds.” Submit your results on a weekly basis to your local Department of Motor Vehicles. At the very least, it’s another good excuse to go to the DMV.

From there, the results will be sent to a team of scientific researches who are surprisingly bad at math. They will use this data to come up with many erroneous conclusions that will no doubt influence the questions they put on the written test for new drivers. And you will feel good about your positive influence on your community.


omar said...

You said "alacrity." NOW I believe you were an English major.

< givehardtime >I wonder why your mom, your girlfriend, one of your sisters, Omar, and Sara don't think you should ride a motorcycle?< /givehardtime >

Anyway, congrats on your retirement!

cadiz12 said...

that's why you have to only drive in the left lane until you exit and make sure you're going faster than everyone else. it's mighty hard for people to cut you off then, sign or no. but i'm glad you're giving up that kind of dangerous lifestyle.