Issue 6 Contents


Commuter's Notebook

Lately all I seem to be hearing about is road rage, on the TV news, in the paper, and in everyday conversation. I think maybe its time to redefine how we give out licenses, and some of our basic road rules, otherwise it won't end and more people will get killed.

Road rage is happening because our highways are full and there seems to be no end to the amount of cars we will try to pack on to them. There are no decent commuter options for many people, where they are good they are crowded, where they suck they are c rowded and dangerous to ride.

I commute every day from Providence to Westwood. I drive route 95 up to the split at route 128 where thankfully I get right off and don't have to try to get any closer to Boston. For a long time I took the train which even though it got me to work a hal f hour early and I had to wait for it after work for 20 minutes, was still worth it. 95 is full of nutballs and road rage is everywhere. Now that the company moved I have to drive because the train system can't get me to where I need.

So now I do the 95 drive each day. I get on the highway near my house every morning at 7:15, more or less. Its prime time commuter traffic and people gotta keep moving or be late. The speed limit is 65, but if you drive in the left lane (the PASSING la ne) you have to do 80 and ride right up on the guy in front of you or risk getting cut off by a guy in the middle lane who'll jump over when merging traffic starts to fuck up his life.

Since everybody is driving real close and fast there are multiple car accidents every day and you always run the risk of getting in to one no matter how much space you leave between cars. If you leave more than two car lengths in front of you the people behind will ride up on you wondering why the hell you aren't moving faster with all that daylight in front of you.

Traffic is wall to wall every morning. I know it is this way in many major cities because I see the huge accidents they're having in California where 78 cars end up smashing into each other in the fog and shit like that. After Labor Day it gets worse, a nd winters are a joke. At least half of the time I spend driving is in "backed up" traffic, waiting to get by an accident, or shooting, whatever.

I'm at the point where I'm waiting for my turn to be in the accident, or to get run off the road by some guy trying to get by me. I can't fight the law of averages, I ride that road every day, even in the shittiest snow, to get to work. In the winter I have to go in unless the state of Mass. declares a state of emergency- thanks.

Bad weather aside, the complete ass holes that are out there are their own risk. I saw a guy run at another with a tire iron on the side of the road one morning. That priest shot some dude with a crossbow after playing high beam games with each other- s hit is crazy. If you give somebody the finger you better have a gun to back it up. Make an honest mistake you might get run off the road in retaliation.

The first key in commuting then has got to be security. The first thing you must have is this- a cell phone. I know it sucks, don't ever use it in the car- those people we'll get to, but you have to have one, make sure its charged, and keep in close at hand- hell you might want to keep it live with 911 all dialed and waiting for the send signal. Think of it this way, at least your family can hear your last frantic words on the recording if the shit comes down on you. The cops might show up before he beats the shit out of you, but you might be able to scream his plate into the recording for the court date (if you live).

The second must for any car commuter has got to be a weapon. I prefer "The Club." Lots of guys have ax handles, cop flashlights, billy clubs, baseball bats, or guns, but if you get nailed for speeding and officer friendly decides to take a look in your back seat you can get chucked in the poky. "The Club" is totally legal. It might be useless in keeping people from stealing your wheels, but the thing is made of steal, has a grip handle and a nice forked end to smack the fuck out of somebody if you nee d to. "The Club also has a plastic coating, so after you murder the bastard you can wipe his brains off the thing pretty easy- fingerprints too! Go get one today.

The next thing you need in your car to commute on today's freakshow highways is a pen. You have to be able to write down license plate numbers. If you get good at writing and driving you can even make a list of people who do dumb shit and call the DMV a nd complain. In RI they had an 800 number you could call and tell on people you saw throwing butts and trash out their windows, so I used it to call in stupid fucks. I'd make up some shit about seeing them chuck a can out the window, then mention how th ey also drove for 15 miles with the left blinker on. Don't know if it worked, but it wouldn't have been possible without my trusty pen.

The last thing you need is BRAINS. Don't do stupid shit. Let people pass you if they want. Use your blinker. Don't drive slow in the faster lanes. Pay fucking attention to what you're doing- don't put on make up, don't talk on the phone, don't look f or shit in the glove box, LOOK AT THE ROAD ASSHOLE!

I was also going to spend some time ranting about the basic rules of getting a license, and road laws, but its Sunday and all this talk about road rage has got me worked up. I'm dreading the drive tomorrow. Maybe next time I'll talk about how in France trucks MUST stay in the slow lane, and they can't drive during the weekends and heavy commuter times, but not now. For now remember what we went over. Cell phone, "Club," pen, brains. Maybe you'll live to read my next Commuters Notebook.