THE GUY DRIVING the white Lexus convertible, that is.
This little river town has one main route in and out. A four-lane main street — and state route — that hooks up to the Interstate just across the city line. There are two lanes of traffic, two of parking. (It is a residential street.) Most times traffic moves along, but at some other times — noon to 1:15 PM and morning and evening rush hours — not so much.
It didn’t used to be so bad, but some town planning genius allowed commercial development to cut off the side streets (and is doing even more of it as we speak), thus concentrating all and more traffic on the state route.
Whatcha call yer basic bottleneck.
So this asshole, this putz, this pile of stinking offal in the white Lexus decides he’s too important to wait in line. He pulls into the suicide lane out of the UDF driveway and cruises along past twenty other cars or so. No big so far. Happens all the time. People turning left shouldn’t have to wait for all the traffic going straight ahead. It’s marginally illegal, but nobody gets het up about it.
White Lexus Asshole gets to the intersection of Fairfield and Patchen, by the Vet’s ballfields, and stops in the left turn lane…
…right next to me. I’m stopped at the line to leave the intersection clear — as the law requires — so that cross-traffic can get through while I wait for the road ahead of me to clear.
And, as it does, I start to roll forward, nobody coming from the right (They have a stop sign anyway. I’m through traffic with the right-of-way, just being nice leaving the intersection clear on the off-chance.), seeing the guy in the Lexus to my left, and figuring… He’s in the left-turn lane. He’s turning left.
Then he pulls into the intersection. His right turn signal comes on and he starts to nose into my lane.
I blow my horn. Not a nice polite, ladylike tootle to say, “OK. Go ahead.” No. A loud, long, hostile blare. “NO. Asshole. Wait your furglering turn!”
And he goes ahead anyway!
I yield to him, but I wonder if I shouldn’t. After all, in the accident report, it’d be his fault. He’s making the illegal lane change. “Gee officer. I couldn’t imagine he would do something so stupid as to make that lane change when there was a left-turn lane clear ahead of him — and he was in a left-turn-only lane anyway.”
And I’m sure the laws of physics favor my two-ton SUV over his little two-seater ragtop. Not to mention my repairs would be cheaper — and paid for by his insurance to boot, what’s not to like?
Instead I give him another blast of hornly displeasure and get a rude hand gesture in response.
Along beside the Burger King, through the intersection at Riverboat Row. Now there are two lanes going our way, both straight-ahead-only, and a left-turn lane onto the ramp to the expressway and onto the Big Mac bridge (which backs up to a reciprocal left-turn lane onto Riverboat Row. There is only room for about six or eight cars in the actual turn lane, but people know it clears fast, so they’ll hang over by the double-yellow, allowing cars to pass in the lane (again, marginally illegal, but it works). If everybody moves spry, you can get ten cars through on the green arrow and two or three more after the light turns yellow at the end of the cycle.
But Lexus Asshole is too good to wait his turn. He realizes that traffic isn’t rushing ahead to his satisfaction, so he noses OUT of the turning line of traffic and into the straight-only lane (causing more traffic hassles with oncoming cars), and has the unmitigated fargling gall to turn on his left turn signal, and cut across THREE lanes of traffic — against the signal! — and onto the expressway ramp!
OK. So the guy deserves a horsewhipping. But killing?
One time you can understand. You get lost in a strange town, you don’t know the customs, you are afraid to get lost if you — you know — OBEY THE FRIGGING SIGNALS, so you act the asshole. ONCE.
But if you do it twice in less than two blocks, you have revealed something deep and significant about yourself. You are a scofflaw. You are an arrogant feckwit. A malodorous specimen of human debris. You care nothing for law, convention, or the rights of your fellow citizens. In a less urban, less anonymous society, you would be disciplined by various forms of ostracism, shunning, banishment, or beatings by the male members of your tribe.
But in an urban society, you can “get away” with it. And then you act as an example to others. “Hell! He got away with that! (Why’s there never a cop around when you need one?) Why should I sit here in line like a good little sheep?”
And, all of a sudden, it’s every-man-for-himself and devil take the hindmost. In extreme cases you get… well, New York City.
You remember Rudy Guliani’s theory of community policing?
You mean the “broken windows” theory?
Right. Well this guy is of a type who throws stones to break those windows. He is a saboteur drilling holes in the bottom of the lifeboat that is civil society. As such, he is an enemy of the people and deserves … well, banishment from civil society until he can learn some manners.
But the problem is: where do you put him? Put him in prison and he will doubtless drag that place down. Nor would I expect the place to have a salutary effect on him. Banish him from the land? To another land?
No, the only proper sentence is summary execution.
I only wish there were some civilly-acceptable method for applying said sentence with an even hand.
Can’t have people taking the law into their own hands.
No, Dolly. That’s where you’re wrong. That’s what we need. The problem is that, here of late, too many people have been unwilling to take on the task of enforcing the law, when it ought to be the responsibility of all citizens. Having a professional police force has made the posse of the whole a tad lazy. More’s the pity.