Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Just because I felt like it...

Today being the last day of our work week, I found myself with nothing to do during the last hour. And since it was a nice day out, and since I was a bit bored, I decided on a whim to indulge myself and correct the behavior of some of the violators that just get my blood to boiling--the lane-cutters.

On my way home most days, I have to pass by a highway on-ramp that gets a ton of traffic come evening rush hour. Usually cars are lined up in the merge lane to get on it, and all too often, the impatient among us decide to get into the right non-merge lane and drive past all of the people who are waiting in line and then horn in at the last second just as the ramp splits off from the main road. As anyone who has waited patiently in line for several minutes only to have some jack-ass zip past and cut in can attest, there are few ways to be more selfish and disrespectful towards everyone else, and it's aggravating enough to make the Pope want to slap a nun, especially after a long day at work.

So today, with nothing but time and a repressed desire to see justice served, I pulled up to that split and parked my car in the safety zone between the actual road and the ramp. Then I got out, put my safety vest on, and began targeting those cars that were passing all of the waiting motorists and trying to cut in. It didn't take but a few seconds to spot the first one whipping across the beginning of the safety zone. I pointed to the driver, and when he made eye contact with me, I waved him right back out of line, told him that I could either cite him for crossing a safety zone ($150) or else he could get back on the surface road that he'd cut in from. He got back on the road and drove off, and I was loudly thanked by the drivers of two of the next three cars that came by--cars that he'd just cut right in front of because he was (in his mind) more important than them.

This felt good.

I pegged about thirty of these people in a bit over ten minutes, offering each the choice of a ticket or a detour back on the road that they'd come from. many of them whined that they only know one way home (the highway via this ramp) and a few got downright panicky at the thought of having to navigate on unfamiliar city streets to try to find a new alternative route. Most of them had GPS units too, which was the sad part. "You got a GPS and you still can't find your way? Sucks to be you today. Move along."

One young woman in a new Lexus SUV tried to tell me that she had a baby in her back seat. I replied that that was nice, but she still couldn't cut in front of other people or cross my safety zone in violation of the law. She began to get upset and then turned on the tears, growing louder and acting more hysterically each time that I told her to drive straight ahead back onto the road. Maybe that crap works with her baby daddy or her mom, but it doesn't work with me. Finally her baby started to cry too, probably because she was crying and carrying on. Then she yelled: "You made my baby cry! I hope you're happy!"

Another guy was peeved at being told that he couldn't just cut in front of everyone as he'd just done. (He refused to come back out of the merging traffic lane and I had to go stand in front of his SUV to force him to stop.) He told me that everyone cuts lines and that he does it like this every day. I let him know that if I catch him doing it again he'll be going to jail. (Even though we rarely arrest for traffic charges, all of our traffic offenses here are technically arrestable.) "Yeah, we'll see about that!" he yelled as he drove away (on the surface road).

Yes sir, we more than likely will. Even more than the many people who thanked me as they drove by today, you've just motivated me to come back out here next week and do this again.

Besides, it's fun and it generates no paperwork.