Like a Mime in a Shouting Match

All the way to work, all I could think about was how much I wanted to honk my horn at all the bastards and dumb-asses in front of me, but that’s no longer an option.

A week or two ago I had a Little Miss Sunshine moment as I pulled onto the highway for my morning commute. That particular day Highway 40, one of the most used highways and the primary link from city to county, officially closed after a year’s worth of hype. For the weeks leading up to the great highway shut-down, all we heard about day or night on the news and in the papers was the same useless information, regurgitated again and again. It was as if nothing else happened those weeks. Apparently there was no crime, nor death the week before the shut-down; no heart warming tales of local soldiers returning home from King George’s Crusade and nothing of a political nature was hopping.

There’s only so many ways they can eloquently tell us we’re fucked.

The first morning commute after our life line was cut was full of anxiety, everyone was hypersensitive and afraid. It’s as if the sky were falling and the end was nigh. I left an hour earlier than normal. Groggy and unaffected by the world around me, I set out for the comfort of my little fabric-lined den of despair and the not-so-fresh office air. As I merged into the crawling highway traffic on my new route, I had that “Little Miss Sunshine” moment, and officially developed a case of the Mondays.

No sooner had I landed in the drudging lanes of my new commute, when out of nowhere my horn let out a long, angry wail.

Unlike in the VW bus driven in the heartwarming indie-movie, my horn didn’t sound sick and dying—there was nothing sporadic about it. It was one sustained, sport-utility vehicle-loud wail.

Everyone around me thought I was crazy and/or full of road rage.

I suffered the dirty looks and defensive finger-gestures of the world around me for two highways and a long drive down Page Avenue before getting to work and googling my truck’s schematics. It was like disarming a bomb. The fuse box was hidden in the most awkward of places forcing me to lay down, half-in/half-out of my car, still honking, in the cold dark parking lot of my office as my coworkers pulled in one after another. I spent the whole day explaining my reasons for the wailing noise and physical comedy, each coworker pointing out the same similarity to the aforementioned movie, each coworker tickled with their observation.

So I pulled the fuse, and as a result, I’m hornless. I simply don’t feel like spending the money to get the repairs, as the problem is most likely electrical and expensive.

There was a time when I enjoyed driving. When points A and B were irrelevant, and getting there wasn’t half the fun—it was all the fun.

That of course was before some random stranger set my garage (and fun, sporty convertible) on fire, burning it to the ground, leaving me to road rage and my Little Miss Sunshine moment.

Now, allow me a moment to celebrate my inner-hoosier (that would be a redneck to all you non-St. Louisans) with a quote from seminal hair-band of the 1980’s, Cinderella:

Don’t know what you’ve got till it’s gone”.

Cut me some slack, I grew up in a part of town called North County, or as I like to refer to it, NFC. (that’s north fucking county) A large portion of the population still drive Camaros—a lot of the men still keep a comb in their back pocket for the perfect feathered bang, wear hockey jerseys to semi-formal events and carry a wallet with a velcro enclosure—hell, NFC invented monster trucks, as evidenced by the gigantic Big Foot towering over the highway entrance, so quoting Cinderella is not ironic comedy so much as a sad part of my soul I can never escape.

But I’m digressing again.

“Don’t know what you’ve got till it’s gone.” Truer words couldn’t be spoken (or screamed by a sexually ambivalent rock star in spandex)

Our city is full of some of the worst drivers known to man, most of whom come from Illinois. People drive unaware and with their heads firmly planted deep within their posteriors. I don’t know if they’re confused, lost, afraid or experiencing a child-like wonderment at the pretty green light overhead—whatever the reason, they’re incapable of driving with purpose—I hate drivers without an agenda. 99.9% of my city’s drivers like to brake for right turns and green lights. City buses have no regard for the philosophy of proper lane usage, hellbent on running me into oncoming traffic. They drive 20 miles below the speed limit in the fast lane on the highway. The mobile population of St. Louis changes lanes in the middle of an intersection without a signal, oblivious to the car directly next to them, make left turns from the right lane and have a blatant disregard for yielding. They’re either driving at a snail’s pace or they’re trying to kill you. Sometimes they like to swerve between two lanes while: fumbling with their iPod, dialing their cellphone, eating a breakfast biscuit and applying make-up or shaving, depending on the gender—there’s no sexism here, men and women drive equally bad in St. Louis.

And they’re all in front of me.

The middle finger just isn’t cutting it. I’m like a mime in a shouting match.



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