What is it about driving in cars that makes people turn in to assholes?
I went to Central Market to buy some pretentious organic groceries the other day. The Central Market parking lot may potentially be the worst designed parking lot of all time, to be fair. Even in the middle of the day, the Austin hipsters and hippies pack the place, and of course they all drive their cars to get there. I found a parking spot near the back of the lot, and as I was pulling in I saw that the one across from me was empty too. I’m thinking, best day ever! I get to pull through to the next parking space, and I don’t have to back out!
(Clearly, I need to fill some kind of void in my life.)
Anyways, I pull through the spot, and I’m getting my things and getting out of the car when I see a lady in a white Lexus SUV gesturing angrily at me. I frown and shrug, confused, and get out of my car. She drives up to me in the parking lot, rolls down her window, and screams, “I was about to park there, you bitch!”
This bothered me for several reasons. This was not the only spot in the parking lot. I had just vacated an equally decent spot behind me. There was another spot even a few rows closer to the store. Clearly, I had no evil intentions in pulling through that parking spot; I thought it was pretty obvious that I hadn’t seen her from the other side of the giant pickup truck next to me. Furthermore, it didn’t seem to actually improve her life or well-being in any way. This lady wasn’t any happier for yelling at me. She was no better off. She was still angry after driving away.
This led me to ask the question: what is it about driving that makes people so angry? Now that I’m a daily commuter, I deal with people like the Central Market parking lot lady constantly. People who speed up and refuse to let you merge on to the highway. People who weave in and out of traffic at dangerous speeds. People who are just angry drivers.
I’m just as bad. I try not to be, but anyone who’s ever ridden in the car with me has seen me yell at bad drivers (usually with a string of curse words, several of which I have invented). The fact of the matter is that being in the car seems to have the ability to turn most people into angry, red-faced assholes. Are most people just running late all of the time? (That’s usually why I’m pissed off at the guy going exactly the speed limit in the left hand lane.) If it’s not tardiness, then what? Sexual frustration? Pent-up aggression at crappy jobs/coworkers/wives/families/news media/bloggers? Or is it just that cars are an angry place?
One thing I know for sure: if I have to live in places where I have to commute by car every day, I will end up murdering someone. You’ll see me on local news in a few years: “Local Woman Stops Car in Traffic to Pull Gun on Guy Who Stopped Short in Front of Her.”