I am always amazed at people on the freeway. People who drive in Colorado are a little more like Texans -- no-nonsense and generally willing to move over particularly if the tail-gating car is bigger than them -- and a little less like Californians -- who seem to have a sense of entitlement to their driving. "Who me? Move over?"
I've lived most of my life in Washington State, Seattle specifically, and I found the drivers there to be of the worst kind I've experienced at least. In Seattle, the traffic is so bad that you can get stuck in a traffic jam at noon on a Tuesday, not just rush hour. As a result, no one feels compelled to move over on the freeway -- in fact I've sailed past people in the right lane, only because everyone's so pissed and in a hurry to go, they all park in the left lane, and don't see the right is open.
Don't tell anyone, but here in Colorado, there is such a thing as "Rush Hour". It starts earlier and lasts longer on Fridays, but other than that there's only a serious pulse of traffic moving into the city in the morning, and out in the afternoons. Before I got laid off from my job, freeing me up to blog away, I sat in 15 miles of I-70 every day, out to East Aurora and back again.
This afternoon, I got another taste of it as I drove home from my afternoon at the spa (yes, even unemployed people have to take a break and sit around in bathrobes that aren't theirs getting facials they can't really afford). But I've digressed.
On the way home, there was the usual 5 p.m. traffic. It was worse coming the other direction, until I came upon not 1, not 2, but 3! rear-ending accidents, all within a mile of each other.
If Coloradans have one bad habit, it's the "Looky-Loo" Syndrome. This is where if the wind is blowing really hard, they will slow down to observe it. If the guy behind you doesn't notice in time, he'll hit you. They also drive Mach 3 with their hair on fire in the snow, which is why I've been rear-ended twice in winter here.
As I drove home today I thought about all the craziness there is on the freeway. I saw a State Patrolman at one of the three accidents and wonder what kind of messes he gets to clean up all day.
But from my padded interior of my 10-year-old Subaru, I worry about less serious things. I often find myself wondering about the stickers people put on their cars. My University of Washington window decal is a subtle way of saying where I'm from, but I'm smart enough to slap a Denver Broncos sticker in the middle, just so everyone knows where I sit in the Church of The NFL.
When I see people in big cars with "W" bumper stickers, yakking on their cell phones, that sends me a message. It's the one where I hear "I don't care about you, the environment, or the world at large, because I'm entitled to drive this big-ass SUV."
When I see someone driving a Bug, I just thinkg "Awwwwwww". They're so cute. When I see a 1970s Ford Pinto, I feel like applauding. Really, who has the guts (or the spare parts) to keep one of those things going anymore? And most importantly, "WHY?"
I decided a while ago I was too "Type A" to commute for long periods of time. I used to get so stressed out. I've been known to give the one-fingered salute, but felt so bad afterwards that it really is an incredibly rare occasion.
But today I popped in an old tape of UB40, refusing to let the bottleneck of traffic get to me. I wonder sometimes if everyone just left their houses 10 minutes earlier and listened to a little raggae on the way to work and back every day, wouldn't the world be a better place?
I think so.
And W fans or not -- if you've got something plastered to your car from the last election -- do the world a favor and take it off.