More Thoughts On Driving In North Carolina

by LF (10/97)

I used to work from 7am to 3pm (no lunch). This had two overwhelming advantages. First, it usually meant that I could go at least two full hours before anyone blew me any shit. Second, the drive to and from the office was downright tolerable.

Then the bosses started enforcing my corporation's "core hours" of 9 to 4, which meant that (given an eight-hour day) I had to be there from either 8 to 4 or 9 to 5. I started working the former, and my usually sunny disposition immediately went down the crapper. The more rush-hour traffic gets snarled, the bigger the snarling bastard I become.

I began to tire of arriving at my destinations with the veins standing out on my forehead, so I've initiated a Casper Milquetoast campaign, forcing myself to drift along with traffic, stopping the jockeying for position, and ignoring grievous insults.

On the third day of this program, I was driving home at a sedate (and legal) 55mph on Raleigh's 440 Beltline when I noticed a red sports car with a NCSU sticker approaching on the on-ramp to my right. I planned to change lanes to accommodate the fella, looked into my driver's side mirror, and saw that there was a State Trooper about nine car-lengths behind me in the left lane, coming up at about 65. So I could either be polite to the kid by dodging in front of a civil servant who could double my insurance rates for three years (if I sped up he could've popped me for speeding, if I didn't, he could've gotten me for Failure to Maintain Assured Clear Distance), jam on my brakes, or hold steady and hope that the youngster would turn his head and see the big black logo and rack of lights on the silver cruiser. I stayed the course, the kid did not look, and worse yet, jumped on the gas at the last second to hop ahead of me by about five feet. The Trooper pulled him over. So I try to start acting like a nice guy, and still end up feeling like an asshole!

Two days later I'm calmly heading out to the range to shoot on a fine morning, and decide to stop in at the Biscuitville in Mebane. This coot in a conversion van in front of me had the same idea, but barely made it into the entrance (blocking both the incoming and outgoing lanes, of course) before grinding to a complete halt, apparently flummoxed by the sight of over twenty empty parking spots to choose from. I was up to "Seven-Mississippi" before I checked my rear-view and noticed a really large truck carrying construction equipment tear-assing up the rise towards my bumper. I laid on my horn to get the old rat-bastard's attention, and just managed to squeeze past him before the truck -- it's own horn blatting now to join in on the fun -- raced by. I was shaking so bad that I couldn't even trust myself in the drive-thru lane, so I skipped breakfast.

But the good news is that the more-leisurely trips that I'm now taking have permitted me to dwell on more of the fun things to expect while driving in NC:

I'm gonna start pounding on my manager to let me telecommute. Then I could get a shack on a big chunk of land in the middle of nowhere and cut my driving down to short hops to pick up food and beer. And the occasional longer run to pick up pallet-loads of ammo from the UPS substation.

Up the spout