Wednesday, March 11, 2009

I drove Ginger to work today

And as she works on the far North-east corner of the city, that involved a trip on I465. For those of you who don't know Indianapolis, that's the high speed Interstate loop around the city. Now, as anyone who lives in a major city with a three-digit loop knows, that can be quite an adventure at rush hour; either terrifying or exhilarating, depending upon your reaction to adrenaline. Over the years, I have developed a method of handling the traffic- I won't say it's the only way, but it at least has the virtue of being unique: I use signals. I have noticed commuters have three basic reactions to this:

Some will freeze behind the wheel in shock, like a deer caught in headlights. As they struggle for composure, their speed tends to bleed off a bit- if I time it right, it allows me to change lanes.

Others become confused- signals on the Interstate? Is he insane, or is this some new form of road rage? Either way, they want no part of it; they clear room around me until I look like a bit of penicillin mold on a Petrie dish.

A few- possibly resident aliens who learned to drive in Paris or Rome- have never seen a turn signal before, and rush up on you to see what's about to happen. Those are easily handled; just lightly touch the brake pedal enough to make the brake lights come on. Even a Roman taxi cab driver knows what those are, and respects them- at least when they're on the back of a pickup truck.

As I said, I have done this for a number of years now, and i think some other drivers may be copying my technique- I've seen other cars use signals twice now; once last October, and then again this morning. Who knows- maybe someone will put it on YouTube and it'll go viral! I hope they warn me first though, I'd like to wash the truck.


ms. kitty said...

Signals! Heavens, a radical conservative!

David Throop said...

A favorite bumper sticker:

Now please turn to The Morning Hangs a Signal, 328 in the Gray Hymnal.

Charlie Talbert said...

A number of years ago a friend of mine from Bluffton unknowingly drove around I-465 twice before she realized she had been too frazzled to see the I-70 west exit she had intended to take!

Braidwood said...

"I won't say it's the only way, but it at least has the virtue of being unique: I use signals."

This has to be the most hilarious post about traffic that I've ever read! :D

I also use turn signals, and I have an idea about futuristic cars that could have something equivalent to facial expressions so that more complex exchanges could happen on the freeway.

For example, "Yes, I need to get into this lane (signal, signal), but I'm just as happy to get in it behind you, but if that is your preference, you will need to speed up as I do need to move over right now."

Joel Monka said...

Charlie- that's possible for even a native to do!

Braidwood- Great idea! And probably doable with modern technology. I have actually seen something similar... in Rome, I thought at first all the gesticulating was road rage, like it is here... but watching the taxi driver, I soon learned that it was a language; they were negotiating right of way and traffic flow- that's how the dense traffic moves so well while completely ignoring all known traffic laws. It works so well, that I don't recall seeing any crumpled fenders, despite the hair-raising pace! I wouldn't suggest a foreigner, with a misplaced trust in signs and lane markers try it though.

Joel Monka said...

Braidwood- not long after my first reply,I ran across this story