People on the roads have gotten into such a hurry. Even in Oregon, where people generally will wait for you at a red light and not blow their horn when it turns green and you don’t dash forward like a race horse out of the gate. Unlike many other cities, you can drive around Portland without annoying drivers laying on their horns for the least little delay.

I’ve noticed, however, that people are starting to show signs of impatience. Like at intersections during heavy traffic, when you’re supposed to hold back and leave room so cars crossing in front of you can still get through. I have always done this, but last week a car pulled around in front of me and went into that space. What the heck? They’ve blocked the intersection to get a car-length ahead.

My first reaction was to use my finger as a sign of my disapproval, but I was too chicken. What if the person was a homicidal maniac? You couldn’t possibly get away from them in stop-and-go traffic. They could pull out a gun and make you look like a piece of Swiss cheese before you could say, “Uh, just kidding.” Instead I shook my head and wore a nasty frown for a few blocks just in case they looked in the rear view mirror. As if it would matter to a human being like that.

I hate when people get in a big hurry and ride right on your tail. It’s almost like they hope they can nudge you forward. When I first see these aggressive drivers zooming up in my rear view mirror, I lead them along a little bit and watch them posturing like they’re going to hit me, then I yank my car off the road and let them pass. The second they get by, I floor my car and go right up on their tails. Oh, I’m clever! I’m trying to show them how stupid they are, but they never notice, because they’re too busy roaring up to the next car.

The funny thing is that neither of these kinds of drivers get anywhere quicker than I do, especially in heavy traffic. If they go around me, they only get one car length ahead, and then they’re locked in a sandwich between me, the driver they just irritated, and the guy in front who they’re in the process of irritating. If they manage to get around him, they’re still only two car lengths ahead of where they were in the first place, and we’re all stressed out and testy.

What’s especially satisfying to me is when I change lanes or somehow get an opening and can pull in front of the idiot who was riding me a couple of minutes earlier. I’ve rubbed his nose in it. I’ve showed him that being rude, impatient, and inconsiderate does not pay. I’m still, however, too big a coward to flash him my finger. I figure even if he doesn’t realize he’s been one-upped. I know, and I  practically float off my seat with the little personal triumph. If he passes me again, it’s just another opportunity to teach him the same lesson again. It’s a win-win for me.