They put blinkers on cars for a reason. I suspect that that reason is so that you can signal where you’re going to turn… Before you need to do it. That way, the people around you are aware of any future maneuvers you might be making. So why don’t people use them? I swear I feel like I almost lose the front end of my car twice a commute. People slam on their breaks, hammer the gas pedal, neglect blinkers, lay on their horns as soon as the light turns green, run obviously red lights, roll through stops signs, almost smash into bikers, run down pedestrians, flip each other the bird, scream obscenities and cut you off all because the place that they’re going is absolutely more important than anywhere you could possibly need to be. These people are often called Massholes and are members of a specific breed of drivers that inhabit eastern Massachusetts concentrated in Boston.
How do I know these things? Because I’m one of them.
I like to believe that I used to be to be a courteous driver. I have memories of being the guy who would politely let three or four cars go by before I continued on my way. I remember the days when I would drive the speed limit and strive to be aware of every biker and pedestrian on the side of the road. But that was all when I lived in western Mass, where people are conscious of these types of things.
This city, on the other hand, is kill or be killed. To get anywhere in a reasonable amount of time, you’re going to have to make a few enemies, screw a few people over, and make sure those sneaky little pedestrians stay on the sidewalk if you’ve got a green light. You’ve got to go at least five over or someone will be kissing your back bumper, flashing their lights, gesturing rudely or laying on the horn. Or all four simultaneously. If the light is yellow, you had better hit the gas to get through or everyone behind you will hate you for not allowing them to tail you through the red light.
If you put on your blinker, people are going to move to close in the gap so you can’t get in, so you’re better off just going for it instead. Cutting people off is the main tactic for getting to where you’re going, so if you’re doing it, you’re justified. However, if you’re the one being cut off then the other guy is obviously a self-centered jerk and you would never dream of doing that to someone! The numbers of double standards pile up to a mountain of unwritten rules that all people from the Boston metro know. We use and deny the existence of these rules as needed to justify our own position at the time.
The relationship between bikers and cars is equally stressed. If a biker is in the road, you have to swerve to avoid them and then damn them for biking where you’ve got to drive. If you’re a biker, you hate the people who swerve around you because you know that they’re damning you. But the cars that don’t swerve are too damn close and so you hate them too.
Pedestrians are the final members of the equation. STAY ON THE SIDEWALK. This is my view no matter what side of the windshield I’m on. As a driver: If you step off that curb and you don’t have a walk sign and I hit you? Tough luck. Pay attention to the signals! If my light is green, I’m going! It’s not my fault the body of my car can take more damage than your body can.
As a pedestrian, I know that the people behind the wheels of cars are all crazy and nothing will stop them from running me down - including red lights. I try to stay to the sidewalk and run across streets even if I have a walk signal. Because if I’m still out there when the lights turn green, I’m fair game.
I could complain about other drivers for hours. I scream no matter what side I’m on. I flash my lights. I gesture. I make occasional use of my horn. I’ll tell anyone who will listen what a jerk the guy in the other car was. I complain about bikers and pedestrians. I complain when I have to cut people off, and when they cut me off. I’m never happy behind the wheel. Why? Because I live in Boston; capital of the Massholes.
Wed, April 27, 2011
by Tucker Garcia filed under