Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Vicarious road rage

Some days I don't know which is worse: Auckland's demented road rules, its drivers, or its journalism.

This offensive piece from yesterday's Herald tells the plaintive story of a motorist complaining about being ticketed for an illegal left turn. He points to the "Turn left" sign that appears just a few metres before the very clear "No left turn" sign that he defied.

What the Herald doesn't mention is what I realised the moment I saw the photograph, what is obvious to any honest person on the road, and what the journalist could've learned with three minutes of research: that the "Turn left" sign applies to a completely different lane.

See, I know that junction. I used to take it on a daily basis. At busy times, there's often a very long queue of motorists trying to get onto the motorway. And there exists the option for antisocial scumbuckets to save themselves a good seven minutes or so by zipping straight past that queue in the sparsely-populated lanes reserved for people heading to Newmarket, then making that clearly-illegal left turn. Google Streetview gives a fairer impression of the road:

And that's what this git is complaining about being pulled up for. He vows to fight a $150 fine. And he expects sympathy from us, the public, in his righteous struggle.

(Do you think everyone else on the road is just queuing up for fun, because they've nothing better to do with their time? Do you enjoy cutting into the proper lane at the last possible moment? What would you do to get home ten minutes earlier? Would you cut off an ear? How about an eye? You could wear a cool eyepatch over it and make up some tacky story about a terrifying hostage rescue, so that no-one need know it's part of a Faustian bargain to save you from missing the start of Shortland Street. No? Then why are you so happy to maim your own soul like that? Don't you feel it twitching inside you, gasping, dying a little more, every time you brag about shaving another 40 seconds off your commute? Or has it already shrivelled to a leathery, walnut husk, like that of an estate agent or a newspaper columnist? Do you feel a smug, sick pleasure in knowing that right-thinking drivers around you fantasise about dragging you screaming from your cosy driver's seat, kicking you brutally in the stomach, and leaving you by the side of the road to choke in a pool of your own blood and vomit? Or would you secretly welcome it as a blessed release? The Jerry Springer team would like to hear from you.)

I'd like to see him appeal the fine. Really I would. Then I'd like to see the court order that his car be crushed in front of his eyes, without giving him time to take his personal effects out first. This is the kind of crime we really need to clamp down on: the kind that is not motivated by anger, but engenders it; the kind not driven by fear or hate or lust or any natural human emotion, but by cold, rational selfishness.


Nodressrehearsal said...

I hear you loud and clear, even from this far away, vet.

I love those drivers who, while we're all waiting in a line of traffic on the expressway, decide to make their own lane out of the shoulder of the road and drive by us on the right... and then expect some driver up the road a bit to LET THEM MERGE IN. Grrr...

The car-crushing punishment is pure genius.

vet said...

Yeah, them too...

I've toyed with the idea of attaching paintball guns to every car, with a 60-second cooldown between uses, so that you could shoot and spoil the paintwork of anyone who pisses you off on the road. Chances are everyone annoys people sometimes, but those who do it most would end up way more spattered than the rest of us.

But those same bastards would find some way to spoil it...

vet said...

(Whole pile of spam comments deleted)