Friday, April 22nd, 2016

Charming drivers

On the off chance that the charming people I met tonight around 10:15 pm on East First Street at St. Clair Street google “GAY CAR” and find this website, I thought I’d post a little “Hello!” for them.

They were rather displeased with me because they were in the inside lane but wanted to be in the outside lane, but I drove from the outside lane in front of them into the inside lane.

They hadn’t signaled and besides which they were slow, so I didn’t think I’d cut them off, and we both managed to be in the lanes we wanted when we got to the light.

However they clearly disagreed with my interpretation and did think I cut them off, earning me a honk. We were at the red light together so I rolled down my passenger-side window to ask what was wrong. The gentleman passenger was quite angry, yelling that I was an idiot. I pointed out to the lady driver that she hadn’t signaled, and she said that I hadn’t either. Usually I do signal, but even if she’s right, we were both wrong then.

And we were both rude. I ended our little chat with “Fuck you, and have a great life,” to which she replied, “Fuck you, and have an awful life.” We’re all such nice ladies and gentlemen.

They seemed like very angry people. I laughed to myself as they drove away. Maybe they did too, but I don’t really think so.

We should all learn to chill a bit. I’m not good at zen driving. Neither are they.

Thursday, August 12th, 2010


The other day I pulled up at a traffic light behind an SUV with license plates that said, “REPENT7,” and I burst out laughing, for two reasons.

The first reason is that I had just left a worship service at my church. I’m sure there are plenty of Christians (or Christianists) who would say that anyone who goes to my church really should repent, and I bet many of those people, if they ever hear of my seeing these particular license plates right after having left my church, will say God was trying to send me a sign. However, I don’t believe in an omniscient, omnipotent God who sends out signs.

I also laughed out loud, seeing this REPENT7 license plate, for another reason, really more important than the first. You see, just like the driver of this REPENTmobile, I too have vanity license plates, and there’ve been plenty of times when I’ve been stopped at a light, happened to glance in my rear view mirror and seen people laughing and pulling out their cellphones to take pictures of my car with its license plates. Until the REPENTmobile, I’d never myself encountered plates that made me laugh out loud and want to snap a bad cellphone photo.

Now I must admit that the driver of the REPENTmobile does have a point, and I probably should repent, although not for the sins for which this driver probably thinks I should repent. First, by laughing at this driver’s expression of faith, taking a photo of it and posting it with mocking commentary on the Intertubes, I’m probably not behaving as even the Jesus in whom I believe would want. Second, I should probably repent for what I did immediately after photographing the REPENTmobile, which was to get into the other lane, speed up and make sure I was in front of it at the next light so the REPENTmobile’s driver could have a good look at my plates. That was probably unChristian of me, although I suppose another way to look at it is that I was giving the REPENTmobile’s driver another opportunity to pray for someone’s soul.

But I just can’t repent. That would require my actually feeling contrition for my actions, trying to apologize to this unknown driver (a real apology, not the now standard “I’m sorry if you were offended by my actions” kind of apology), and trying to make amends. I’m not sorry, and I suspect that just as I’m strong enough to take whatever comments (mostly positive but some negative) I get because of my vanity plates, so too is this driver strong enough to bear the load of REPENT7 license plates, especially since I’m sure this driver believes he or she does so for Christ.

Thursday, April 19th, 2007
Don't back up in drive throughs

You'd think this would be obvious, and maybe the heading should actually be "Be sure your car is in drive before applying the gas," but a little while ago a woman in a big maroon Oldsmobile picked up her order in the drive through at Arby's on Patterson Boulevard downtown and then proceeded to put her car into reverse and back into the car behind hers, which, of course, was mine. No damage but incredibly annoying. She's either having a bad day or is too stupid to drive an automatic vehicle. Probably the former, but right now I'm thinking it's the latter.
Saturday, October 14th, 2006

Okay, I'll admit right up front that there are a billion more important issues in life and that I'm revealing my road rage tendencies by even writing about this. However, today no left turn some guy and I pissed each other off while driving, and there's a chance that he may be googling "left on red in Ohio" this very minute. My writing about this now will be too late for him to find this if he googles today, but someday he might see it, and then he'll know I was right. For all that's worth.

What the hell am I talking about?

Well, I'm not the world's most patient driver. I don't think I'm particularly reckless, and I don't have high risk insurance, nor have I had a speeding ticket in several years. However, I do not see the need to putz along, and I do think that most speed limits are set too low for normal conditions. In my defense a large plurality if not a majority of drivers agree with me about speed limits as evidenced by their behavior. If you don't believe that, drive 65MPH on an Interstate (or 55MPH where that's the limit) and count how many cars zip by you.

So today I was out doing some errands (I stopped at Fifth Third, Kroger and Trader Joe's), not really in any particular hurry. It's a Saturday, and I had no place I had to be.

Map of Patterson, Second and St Clair

On the way home I decided to stop by the main library to pick up some books and a CD that I'd reserved (reserving books online and picking them up through the drive through is ultra-convenient). I live downtown, a feature of which that some love and others hate is its grid of one-way streets. Dayton's main library is on a block bound on three sides by the one-way streets Patterson, Second and St. Clair, and coming north on Patterson, as I was, meant I had to make three left turns to get to the drive through. On a busy weekday that can mean waiting a bit, but on a Saturday afternoon with little traffic downtown, even if the lights are against you, you can turn left on red, so it's no big deal.

Except today, as I approached Second St., there was a guy in the left hand lane waiting patiently for the red light to change instead of going. The light changed to green just as I stopped behind him, we both turned left, and he putzed along slowly enough that by the time we got to St. Clair, the light there was red too. There was a bit of traffic there, but even after it cleared the intersection, he made no move to go. Now if the light had changed to green, and he'd still just sat there, probably most people would think I was justified in tapping my horn lightly to call his attention to the green light. Perhaps fewer would think I was justified in tapping my horn lightly to try to get him to turn left on red, but that's what I did. Yes, three or four times, lightly, pausing between taps (no, I did not hold the horn down so it blared, although I did just a few minutes later).

He flipped me off in the mirror, the light finally changed, we both turned left again, and wouldn't you know it, he turned into the library's drive through. He pulled up at the window, waited briefly, no one came to help him, and I'm sitting behind him, yes, this time patiently, no honks or anything, but cursing my luck at having to wait on him yet again.


He decides not to wait, pulls up but then stops as I pull up and stop at the window, gets out and comes to talk to me, starting off with, do you always turn left on red? I reply that yes, in fact, I do, that it's legal to turn left on red from one one-way street to another. He says, well if I wanted to get a ticket, that's fine, but he's not going to, and I repeat, that turning left on red on one-way streets is legal in Ohio and he can look it up online, and he says that I shouldn't tail gate him, and I say, if he'd just go, I wouldn't have to, and he says, I didn't need to honk my horn at him, and I say, all I did was tap it to get him to go, and he says, I honked it as loud as I could, at which point, I do hold the horn down and blare it to demonstrate that no, I'd just tapped it earlier.

Well that was kind of embarrassing because my blaring horn got the attention of the librarian who should have been at the drive through in the first place. She saw the other guy's and my little discussion and realized I hadn't blared the horn to get her attention. I quietly turned to her, handed her my card and said I was there to pick up some books, and he turned to get in his car and left.

On the rest of the way home I was able to make my left turns on red and couldn't help noticing signs that say, "No Turn on Red except left curb lane," signs which this guy apparently never noticed before in his life, else he'd have had to wonder why we'd need such signs if left turns on red were always illegal. And now I am at home and have done my own Google search and found that on page 33 of the Digest of Ohio Motor Vehicle Laws, published on the official Ohio Bureau of Motor Vehicles website, it says:

Under limited circumstances, it is legal to make a left turn after stopping at a red traffic signal. A left turn on red may be made only from the extreme left lane of a one-way street to the extreme left lane of another one-way street, providing there is no sign posted forbidding a left turn on red.

One-way street to one-way street

So yes, I was right, and he was wrong. He wouldn't have gotten a ticket if he'd turned left on red. Yes, I realize that if Jesus were driving, he wouldn't honk at people who decline to turn left on red, but then Jesus probably wouldn't even own a car, and even Jesus got angry sometimes, though admittedly at issues that are way more important than this. Yes, this is not a shining moment in my life of which I should be proud, but fuck it. If you're sitting at a red light in the extreme left lane of a one-way street with your left turn signal on and decline to turn left onto another one-way street, I'm still gonna be annoyed, and yes, I still might tap my damned horn to let you know it.

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