Tuesday, August 10, 2010

The Mean Streets

I was driving to Lowe's Home Improvement this morning, a drive that takes roughly 4 minutes, and was dangerously cut-off not once, not twice, but three times.

My sister and I both went to Canada for our family summer vacations this year.  Her family went to Prince Edward Island.  Mine went to Quebec, with a pitstop in Montreal.  We both reached the same conclusion: Canadians are genuinely nice and don't seem to have anger issues behind the wheel.

No one in Canada tailgated to the point where we thought they would attempt to actually just drive over our car.  Nobody got into the left lane of the two-lane highway only to slow down because they needed to yap on their phone, or send a text or passive/aggressivly block traffic in a pathetic attempt at a powertrip.  Canadians passed on the left and got right back into the right lane.

Contrast that with Jersey driving.  Not only is this state the most congested in the nation, we have to absorb the drivers from Pennsylvania and New York, too.

Before I offend any of my friends: I don't have any NY friends who drive to Jersey -- they're all big babies who need door-to-door rides.  And my PA friends are obviously excellent drivers. ;)

So, wildly biased generalization #1: New York drivers leave their brains at the bridge or tunnel when they visit Jersey. Pass up your exit?  Just back up a half-mile down the shoulder and sit on the median  like a bug until you can cut off as many people as possible in an attempt to gain re-entry. Not sure whether to make a right or left turn?  Just start to go right until you feel the need to pull a U-ey and go left afterall.

Wildly biased generalization #2: Pennsylvania drivers, I'm convinced, must be former Jerseyans who moved to PA for a cheaper place to live.  Only, they now have to commute from four to six hours a day.  Which must make them tired, cranky and bitter -- and they're behind the wheel of an automobile!  Holy Christ.  When driving 70 in the middle lane of Route 80 at 4 in the afternoon, if a car should suddenly appear to be attached to your rear bumper and then it jerks to the left or right, and then cuts back in front of you, you can be sure a blue, white and yellow license plate adorns their car.  It's one of the thousands of Pocono drivers hoping to get home before 8 at night.

So, outside of moving to Canada, whaddya do?  We could charge every NY- and PA-plated car (except for my personal friends! LOL) a toll -- the same way NYC charges $8 to cross the GWB, Lincoln and Holland tunnels.  Maybe making a buck or two would take the edge off of dealing with all the extra congestion and aggravation.  Or perhaps major train service to PA.  (That would only take 25 years to install.)

But neither of those propositions would deal with Jersey drivers.  Who are all excellent and Autobahn-ready.  Except for those who aren't...!

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