Tuesday, August 02, 2005

Driving Language

I swear at people in traffic – not just the mild expletive here or there. I provide colorful narratives about other drivers that include genealogical references, lifestyle suggestions and even commentary on flaws that they should have surgically corrected.

It’s lost advice since they’re never able to hear it, yet I find it cathartic. I should point out,
I don’t swear at the random motorist. I swear at those who commit grievous offenses against me.

You know who and they know who they are

You know who I’m talking about. They’re the ones:

  • Puttering along slowly with a cell phone welded to one ear while you’re waiting to pull out.
  • Stopping halfway through a yellow light to dial a cell phone.
  • Slowing to 2 mph then turning abruptly without signaling.
  • Making random U-turns in front of you after pretending they’re making a left.
  • Deciding while stopped in traffic to throw their car in reverse and back toward you.

All of these things have happened to me lately. Watching a Jesus fish hurl toward you above a set of blazing reverse lights really awakens your sense of mortality.

Negative reviews
Christine hates it when I take these people to task. I don’t think she fully appreciates the release it brings. I believe creative use of language within the confines of your own car is a real pressure valve. Used appropriate it can help quell road rage. Maybe along with GPS systems, cars should come equipped with an electronic version of the Dictionary of American Slang.

Anyone who says use of blue language shows a lack of creative expression clearly has a limited vocabulary and should get out more. Clearly they did not read the Dictionary of American Slang in the school library on lunch breaks in high school, either. By getting out more, armchair William Safires, while driving around would experience bad drivers who illustrate the need for expletives. They might also hear a few words that would improve their vocabularies and help them better understand just how creative language can be. Bad words like all words are tools and can be utilized in effective ways.

Family History
I actually have a strong family history of swearing in traffic. My father, who was a sailor after all, did some of his best work on Southern interstates. His admonitions against a driver who would not yield right of way in Baton Rouge, La., one year remain with me still and I cover that rendition on occasion – like the other day when a guy driving along a railroad track almost hit me.

“He had the right of way,” Christine said.

Apparently driving a truck on a railroad track does not set off the crossing lights like a train does. And a truck lacks the lonesome whistle immortalized by Boxcar Willie, so I’m not sure how I was supposed to know he was coming.

“He had the right of way,” Christine repeated when I made that argument after she berated me for the blue streak elicited by almost getting hit by a FREAKIN’ PICKUP TRUCK ON A RAILROAD TRACK.

I knew there were trucks that could drive on railroad tracks. I knew somebody who knew somebody who drove one once, but I really wasn’t expecting one to come cruising along in the middle of the day on his way across a major thoroughfare to reset points--or whatever he was up to. So when he gave me a smug look and a shake of his head like I was a total idiot I said, well use your imagination. I did, and the results were really satisfying.

No comments:

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...