Little Known Fact Background: I'm 98% certain that everyone who regularly reads this blog actually knows me. But sometimes I like to dream of a time when I'm famous for these ramblings and folks will flock here and pore over the archives of my early days. So I'm starting a new series (maybe) that will help those future fans (who truly are the imaginary readers I reference so often) get to know the real ellen--because you know, I've been doing such a first-rate job of not talking about myself up until now. And perhaps, some of you who are actually acquainted with me will still learn something from these "little known facts."
LKF2: I feel morally superior about most aspects of my driving.
Maybe you already know this about me, but I'm considering this a little known fact because I didn't know it about myself until today maybe. I was sitting at a stop sign at River Market Avenue & 2nd Street lamenting, as I've done millions of times in the past fourteen years, that Arkansans don't understand the basic principles of the four-way stop, and I realized just how condescending I am about other drivers.
Four-way stops are not rocket science, but through my years as an Arkansas transplant, I've been shown time and again that no one in Arkansas really wants to follow the rules. Arkansas drivers love to wave people on ahead of them instead of taking their turns. I guess they're trying to be nice, but it's just stupid. I have watched cars try to out-wave each other to the point that the fourth car at the intersection will get fed up and take their turn. This behavior also breeds the sort of driver that assumes you're going to wave him on so he'll pause briefly and then take his turn no matter who got there first. Years of experiencing that has made me extra-careful, so I generally give my stop an extra second or two just to be sure that others are going to stop which leads to my absolute least favorite four-way stop driver: the guy who gets there after me and still feels the need to wave me on--as though he's allowing me the opportunity to take the turn that was mine all along. And because I do go ahead--because it was my turn--it seems as though I'm playing along with his little game. And then I want to hit someone. The rules of the four-way stop are logical and work for a reason. They represent one of those instances in life that I love--when following the rules is simple and expedient and beneficial to all. So when I witness Arkansans behaving badly at four-way stops, I don't just think they're too stupid to figure it out, I think they're breaking the rules because they can't be bothered to see the logic and benefit behind it. Essentially, I judge them all over the place.
My feelings of moral superiority don't stop at there. I judge speeders, folks who cut recklessly across multiple lanes of traffic, people who pass on the right, drivers who brag about their drivings skills as though that gives them permission to disobey the rules of the road. People who behave implicitly as though rules don't apply to them make me crazy in all situations, and since I follow the rules, clearly I'm a better person. Right? Aren't I?
I never claim to be a good driver. But I've always maintained that being aware that I'm not an excellent driver has made me more cautious, more attentive, more willing to submit to traffic laws, etc. In essence, believing I'm not a good driver makes me a better driver. So I get to experience another sense of superiority for acknowledging that I'm not in complete control of what happens out on the road and driving with that more realistic mindset.
Plus since I got the hybrid, I get to relish the fact that the choices I make while driving result in a better fuel economy and probably preserve the earth for the children and grandchildren of all those gas-guzzling reckless drivers out there. You're welcome, ingrates.
*****Jerky blogger's note: I had no idea I was going to use this series as a forum for so much complaining. But I'm discovering that so much of my life is an open book that it's difficult to find little known facts that aren't about the secret ways that I hate everyone and everything. Oh, well. I'm still optimistic that someday I'll find an LFK of which I can actually be proud.*****