Driving home after a long workday is never easy – rush hour, crowded expressways, aggression and anger. Personally, I avoid expressways as much as possible, but my route through city back streets often has me biting my nails and wearing out the car’s brakes and horn.
Really, people: a stop sign means that you are supposed to STOP your vehicle, not keep rolling slowly with an eye to stomping on the gas pedal as soon as there’s a two-inch break in oncoming traffic.
Bicyclists: the narrow far right lane is there for a reason, and there’s a reason it has the picture of a bicycle painted on it – maybe it’s specifically for your use? Do you think? And I hate to tell you, but the stoplight and stop sign rules apply to you as much as to vehicular traffic. Weaving around moving cars and trucks simply is not very smart.
Pedestrians: yes, you have the right of way, but use some common sense. Trotting across four lanes of bumper-to-bumper traffic in the middle of the block, or trying to beat out cars going around the traffic circle, won’t get you home any faster – unless, of course, you plan to bounce off the hood of a vehicle right onto your own front porch.
Some days are worse than others. Snowy days in winter and rainy days in spring, fall, and summer can be nerve-wracking even when nothing else is going on.
I’ve already told the story of my red 2008 Ford Fusion, which was constantly followed through city streets by the police. [If you haven’t read that post, read it now, people! Jeesh, do I have to tell you?]
It was that same vehicle I was driving when this happened:
I was on my way home after work and had just made a left turn from Richmond Avenue, onto Forest, planning to then turn right onto Grant to head north out of the City. As soon as I was on Forest, I noticed a vehicle with emergency lights coming up fast behind me, so being a good citizen, I immediately pulled over to the curb to let the police car pass. It didn’t pass – it pulled up behind me.
WTF? I wasn’t doing anything!
But then I noticed another police car coming up behind it, and two more coming toward me from the front, all with lights blazing but no sirens. All three vehicles stopped, basically surrounding me.
Hmmmm – this probably isn’t good.
A large, unmarked panel truck pulled up.
WTF — S.W.A.T. ?!!
Now, I’m pretty sure I don’t look like a serial killer, or terrorist, or something, so I began to wonder if all those cops were there for some purpose other than to see if my driver’s license and registration were current.
As the S.W.A.T. team started to exit the panel truck, I glanced back and saw that the police car behind me had the driver’s side door open, with the cop crouching behind it.
Bad boy, bad boy –whatcha gonna do? …
I looked forward and made eye contact with the female police officer in the vehicle in front of me. When I saw her gesture to her colleagues to hold off, and then gesture to me to go on through, you can believe I took off like a bat out of hell – all the time hoping I wouldn’t hear or feel gunshots, or that she wasn’t just waving me on so I could speed off and then get a ticket to help her meet her monthly quota.
I never did find out what had happened on that block that evening, and everything looked perfectly normal the next morning when I went through on my way back to work. Just a normal daily commute.
How about you? Got any hair-raising stories to tell about your efforts to get to and from work?