Mrs. E. and I were visiting my brother-in-law and some State Department friends in Washington last weekend and decided to take a ride around our nation's rapidly transforming capital (“I believe this used to be an open air drug market when you lived here…”) before heading to the Kennedy Center for “Anything Goes.”
It isn't unusual for traffic to be lousy in The District but that Saturday was an exception; the streets were fairly quiet. What wasn't an exception was the incivility of our fellow drivers. D.C. no longer feels like a southern city in which one didn't sound a horn for anything short of an impending disaster or dire emergency.
Our unfortunate example came in the form of a well-coiffed, blonde thirty year old in a BMW station wagon. We were stuck in back of a bus that was pulled over in the right lane. Mrs. E. put on her blinker, checked over her left shoulder, watched the guy in back of us dart into the center lane, checked again and begin to pull out. Our “local” citizen turned right from a perpendicular street into the center lane, slowed to almost a stop to glare into the car at us and hit the after-burners to blast off down the street.
She must have been late for her C-Span interview.
I know that modern life is hectic, that we are all ten minutes behind schedule from multi-tasking. I also know that by leaving in plenty of time, or calling ahead to tell your hosts that you are en route but unavoidably stuck in traffic will keep your blood pressure in check and result in a more peasant commute. Roll up the windows, put on the a/c, turn on the classical station and let it ride. Better to arrive cool and collected than hot and bothered.
Above all else, remember that you are not the only person on the road/late/ having a bad day. It's not a race, so don't be a rat. Don't blame some poor sap from out of town. you are far too civilized and evolved for that. Deep breath. It'll be fine.