Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Thanks, Jabba

I commute on Central Expressway from Santa Clara to Mountain View most days. Central Expressway is a 55 MPH roadway for much of that distance, with restricted access (on and offramps) for a large portion of that route, with a few actual intersections.

Sounds scary, but I find Central to be a great commute route. The shoulder is very wide, and in practice the on/offramps are lightly used, the skill involved in managing passing them is not hard to acquire. A co-worker once saw me on Central Expressway and expressed amazement that I would take the risk of riding on Central. First, I asked if I should be afraid that he's going to hit me. Of course, everyone is a good driver - it's just the other people who are bad drivers.

I then pointed out that I am on the very wide shoulder away from the cars - he is in the travel lane mixing it up with those other people - the bad drivers. I'm more likely to die in a collision with a car, he is far more likely to be in a collision, and as a whole he is probably more likely to die on Central than I am.

Anywho - yesterday I ran into (not literally) not only a bad driver, but a malicious one. At Mary, if the traffic light is red, I cross 2 lanes of thru traffic to get to the left turn lane onto Mary. This is a pretty simple maneuver - since the thru traffic light is red, traffic is slowing and I can negotiate across traffic. I signalled, the car approaching me from the rear slowed, I began to merge into the rightmost lane.

He sped up.

I veered back onto the shoulder, he slowed down. I signalled again and tried to make eye contact. He was looking at me, I began to merge across.

He sped up again. This time he started frantically waving his finger at nothing in particular as far as I could tell. I backed off and went around him.

The light being red, I had the opportunity to come up along his left side and give him the big "What the hell are you doing?" He rolled down his window with his finger still wagging incoherently, and he yelled "You are going to get yourself killed! Use the crosswalk".

I said, "Thanks Jabba, but crosswalks are for pedestrians, this is a vehicle, and for me to cross that crosswalk that direction would be of questionable legality. And you're gonna get yourself killed by being such a fat (expletive deleted)"

I've been trying to be more calm in my interactions with drivers, but this wasn't a stupid driver, this was a malicious one.

I did miss my chance to use a famous line I heard on a poker table once back in the bad old days. A very large patron had just put a bad beat on one of his opponents, and the beatee exclaimed "YOU SIR, HAVE EATEN A LOT OF BIG MACS". I need to remember to keep that one in the front of the insult rolodex.

1 comment:

Yokota Fritz said...

"Jabba." Heh :-)

I'm not a fan of Central only because the volume of traffic = lots of fumes. And there's always a burrito truck that passes smelling of heaven.