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June Renew: Day Eighteen

I’m a pretty good driver when I want to be. I grew up with my parents creating safe-driving videos for an insurance company, so I learned a lot of rules of the road, like how to calculate how far behind you are from someone, and how a safe distance behind a car is three seconds. That way, God forbid you need to stop short, you give yourself plenty of time. I go fast, but I don’t tailgate if I can help it, and I play a good balance of offense and defense. Lately I travel as if I’ve got my baby in the car, so I make sure to keep the swear words at a minimum lest the road rage bug get me.

Today was a little different. I became a traffic cop and I didn’t even mean to. I was driving home from New Jersey when the leadup to the George Washington Bridge hit a snag. There were also, um, some people selling fruit on the side of the road and helping snarl things, but I’ve already gone into that. I can’t knock people trying to make a buck but it’s obnoxious they’re even here to do it. Anyway, the New York-New Jersey-Pennsylvania driver trifecta represents a bunch of dicks on the road who have very little regard for anyone not themselves. The bridge’s lower level was backed up for miles, and I was at the point where three lanes were merging into one. Off to the left was the ramp for Fort Lee, but people weren’t using it for that. They were trying to sneak right and into the lanes to go to the lower level, completely not caring that by doing so, it would cause even more of a jam. My inner Karen wanted to call the non-emergency line on the people I saw messing with an electrical box underneath a highway sign, but for this I’d have to be the one in the driver’s seat.

Two cars zoomed past me on my left and tried to cut in via the shoulder. I got mad and tried to yell at them with my window down, but they were too far ahead of me. Then in the rearview mirror, I saw another car attempting to do the same. So I stuck my hand out the window and screamed “Stop! Stop!” while waving my hand in the same manner. And to my surprise, they stopped. They didn’t try to keep creeping up and pass anyone behind me, they just pushed in where they were. And that was the end of it. I saw no one else do it, and I went on my merry way, returning the car to the garage with three minutes to spare.

I felt a sense of power and authority for a minute there, realizing someone actually listened to be and decided to obey what cannot always be enforced. People ride on the shoulder all the time and no cops pull them over. And while I don’t think people should face law enforcement over shoulder-riding, I would like to see the etiquette return to the roads. We all have to get to where we need to be. Your need to get there four seconds faster doesn’t override consumer courtesy.

I don’t know how much more of Traffic Cop Gines we’ll be seeing, as I don’t drive that much, but I won’t ever back off from wishing for a more driver-friendly future. They want us all to drive the same thing so they can shut off our batteries if our social credit scores get lower. I say no to that, but yes to safe driving. It’s the least I could do to help keep us from causing unneeded roadblocks. Happy travels to you.

Words yesterday: Some. Simply not enough. I’m on a mission to complete 2,000 words today.

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