I had a wonderful night’s sleep and felt so relaxed this morning. William woke on his own, and at the perfect time, so we had some wonderful, sweet time together this morning. As I pulled out of the garage and drove down the hill, I debated what music I wanted to hear. I have a love/hate relationship with worship music in the car, it’s a constant battle for me to sing along with worship music while driving in the midst of frustrating traffic, but this morning I felt really positive that I could do it!
I merged onto the freeway and was pleased that I managed to do so without inconveniencing anyone. I merged onto the 405 and then, from a mile behind, someone who had taken the truck bypass lane off the 5 rapidly came up behind me and tailgated me. I ignored him, because most people, when they come off that merge lane choose to go over to the fast lane. My strategy is to stay in the slow lane and merge gradually when the lane ends. So I figured he’d move on in a minute or two.
This guy didn’t do that. He stayed on my tail, and when the slow lane started to slow, he THEN swerved rapidly to the left, to the fast lane, and I breathed a sigh of relief.
I tracked him with my eyes, just a little concerned. He wasn’t hard to miss, since he was tailgating and weaving. I just followed my usual pattern of driving, this lane here, that lane there, I stayed in the slow lane, merging where I needed to, etc., but for the most part just “holding my lane.” Leaving appropriate “heavy traffic” space between cars as usual, just enough for me to be comfortable. Heavy traffic drivers know it’s a fine art of just how much space you can leave without pissing off everyone behind you because you don’t want the entire county to merge in front of you. But I’m always careful to let people in if need be, so they can get over to the car pool lane, etc. Just doing my usual drive. My pattern is a good one, I know this… I’ve been doing this drive since 2009 and my pattern has been proven over and over again, because I’ll usually pick a car or two in other lanes and “track” them. On a normal day, my pattern usually puts me quite a few cars ahead of the ones I’m tracking.
My pattern bore out again today, because despite this guy’s weaving and tailgating, from the fast lane back over to the slow lane, back and forth he went, he wasn’t able to get in front of me. Apparently, I was his car that he was “tracking” and it was pissing him right off. There was one instance that I refused to let him in front of me, I had let someone merge who had just gotten on the freeway, and it was apparent that they were trying to get over to the car pool lane. Now, the thing is, that merging lane is approximately 1 mile, maybe 1.5 miles long. It serves as a major freeway merge on ramp, as well as a major street’s off ramp, 500 feet after the street’s exit lane, the merge lane ends. My experience tells me that the only reason people urgently move over is because they’re trying to get into the car pool lane, because the car pool opening ends mid-point, and people (if they’re trying to get into the car pool lane) have to cross 5 or 6 lanes of cars to get there. For the most part, though, people just be-bop along in that merge lane and then merge like a zipper when it ends. Easy peasy.
After seeing me let a car pool merger in, the Fool decided that he was going to be opportunistic and rapidly “jumped out” into the merge lane, and then attempted to “merge” back in, right into my passenger door! It was at that point I realized, for whatever reason, he had it in for me… because, as mentioned, he could have easily just be-bopped along for another mile and merged back in, but he wanted in front of ME. Since he wasn’t merging into an open space, but rather into my passenger door, I didn’t want to brake abruptly (not sure that would have helped in this instance anyway) and I am rather fond of my passenger door, so, I attempted to change lanes to let him have my spot, but someone was next to me, so I blared my horn at the Fool. He apparently wasn’t expecting really loud air horns to be part of my tiny car, because he backed off and went back behind me.
I was able to safely change lanes a couple seconds after that, intending to let the Fool have my spot, but he followed my lane change. And then from that point on, he copied every single lane change I made and left about 3 inches of room between my rear bumper and his front bumper. To compensate for that (since I’m rather fond of my rear bumper), I left a bit more space in front of me in case traffic were to stop rapidly (which it does in the lane I (we?) was in at that part of the freeway). I was not using my brakes, but rather my engine/stick shift to adjust my speed. I’m sure he thought I was leaving extra space with the sole intent to piss him off, but I wasn’t. When traffic opened up, he zipped into the lane next to me and cut in front of me (despite ample room in both lanes, he just had to make his point), and crammed on his brakes. In his impulsive move, he actually left a better lane open. So I changed lanes to the better lane.
Even though he was now in front of me, he changed lanes to be in front of me and hold me behind him by braking maliciously. I sighed and rolled my eyes. (I really did.) it was apparent that he was desperately trying to start something with me. So, I signaled and changed lanes again, moving to the right, and got behind a car who had a semi truck in front of him. He changed lanes to get in front of the car, wedging himself between the semi truck and the car. I changed lanes, again, pretending i was getting off the freeway. He was unable to change lanes because there was a semi truck where he wanted to go. He executed a rapid two lane change in one fluid swerve to get back in the fast lane and accelerated to tail gate his next victim. And the last I saw of him, he had swerved back to the right, crossing two lanes, and was braking hard because he was behind an SUV.
People like that terrify me. I was still shaking when I got to work. I was thankful that I got to work safely. And I realized my worship music was still playing sweet accompaniment to the craziness as I parked. So, happy Friday to you and I’m glad it’s a happy Friday.
I’m thinking it may be awhile before I brave worship music again in the morning.