Thursday, August 03, 2006

Road Rouge or I Am a Creature of Habit

I am a creature of habit.

Perhaps I'm understating it. I am obsessive-compulsive about some things. Like, when I'm done with my washcloth in the shower, I have to fold it in half twice and with the tag-side in before I drape it over the faucet. Before I leave my apartment, I have to say goodbye to the cats and put one of them "in charge" of things. If I burp when I'm alone, I still excuse myself out loud. My couch sags to the left because that's where I have to sit, with a particular purple pillow. I put potato chips into my mouth whole so I don't drop crumbs from breaking off a bite.

You get the picture ("And she wonders why she's single?" ... I can hear you, you know! Rude.)

Predictably, I drive a certain way to work. Not just a certain route, a certain way on the route.

I stay in the left lane on Geary for a certain number of blocks, and then when I get closer to the Masonic overcrossing, I move to the right lane so that I'm not stuck taking a left turn up Franklin Street.

Today, however, I moved over to the right lane blocks before I usually do because there were buses in my regular lane. Once there, I thought, what the heck, I'll just stay here.

The problem was the car in front of me. A silver RAV4, to be specific, with a Cal license plate frame and a blue "Keep Tahoe clean" sticker on the back window.

I could glean all that detail, you see, because I found myself on the RAV's tail again and again as it unpredictably slowed down or sprinted off after a stoplight.

I began to dislike this person in front of me. For several blocks, my ire grew as the person's erratic driving caused me to brake again and again for seemingly no reason.

Then, as we approached Franklin Street, I saw it.

A mascara wand.

The female driver had the rearview mirror turned to her face and she was putting on her f-ing makeup.

A spear of hatred shot through me.

In my mind, putting on makeup while you're driving is reason to be voted off the island, to be fired, to be passed over for a promotion, to be excommunicated from the church, to be divorced.

I think the reason I hate that more than people eating/drinking/talking on the phone/otherwise being distracted is because all of those other things are unisex. But putting on makeup in the car gives female drivers a bad name.

When I told my tale to my friend John, he shared my angst, but not for the same reason. He had an even better one, that spoke to the core of my philosophy of life.

"We all walk in this world together," he said. "If someone's putting on makeup or talking on their cell phone, they need to understand that their actions affect other people."

I think that's important to remember. We all exist in this interconnected web of activity. We owe it to each other to pay attention to what's around us. It's more fun that way, anyhow.

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