I feel a host of driving missives boiling up, reminiscent of my series of critiques of libertarianism a few years back, also affectionately known as “The Great Ayn Rand Beat Down of 2002.”
So let’s talk about a sub-species of the animal known as “Parkius Leftius,” or what is in the common vernacular often referred to as “Passing Lane Slow-Poke,” “The Speed Challenged,” and my personal favorite, “That &%!$!! Idiot in Front of Me.”
The sub-species of which I speak is the lowest of the low. He camouflages himself as a passing lane slow-poke until you get some clear space in the right lane to move comfortably around him and resume your speed.
Then he speeds up.
That’s right, he races you to ten, fifteen, even twenty miles over the speed limit, until you have to get back behind him because you’ve come to another string of people in the right lane.
Then he slows back down.
Let’s do a thought experiment. Imagine you are in Nazi Germany, or Stalinist Russia. Do you have any doubt that this little man — and it’s almost always a man — would be gleefully working the machinery of oppression?
He is a closet dictator, an iron-fisted tyrant stuck in the body of a seemingly innocent American motorist. He wants you behind him, under his thumb and, in my case, very nearly under his bumper, because he is H. L. Mencken’s definition of a Puritan: “Someone who is desperately afraid that, somewhere, someone might be having a good time.”
He probably votes for mandatory recycling and kicks his dog. He believes homeschooling should be outlawed. He thinks it’s good to soak the rich, unless he happens to be driving a Lexus, in which case he thinks it’s good to soak the poor in the form of higher subsidies for PBS and sports arenas. He supports mandatory voting laws, eminent domain, restrictive zoning, hate speech penalties, Astro-turf, the Drug War, restricted toilet flushing capacity, China’s right to regulate the Internet, and those irritating little tags on your pillows. He shops regularly at Hobby Lobby and wears golf pants. He secretly calls the neighborhood association because he thinks your hedges are too high.
He is the mandarin of his own imaginary world, and for those brief but interminable minutes when he has you behind him in the passing lane, he is your miserable little king.
I like to think that all those cases of road rage we used to read about were simply a string of would-be dictators getting their comeuppance. I mean really, when you read about someone getting shot on the highway, why do you assume he didn’t deserve it?
Yes, it was a stressful drive to work today. But it only took 15 minutes, because I no longer live in Gomorrah.
Our topic for next time: The Entry and Exit Ramp, or, Who That Yield Sign is Really There For.