(By John Boston) “I bought my wife a new car. She called me and said there was water in the carburetor. I said, ‘Where’s the car?’ She said: ‘In the lake.’”— Henny Youngman
I haven’t been to Miami in eons. But when I passed through in 1976, I don’t recall anyone behind the wheel being an Adam Henry. You know. The police euphemism they use over the radio for a difficult personality?
They do these oddball surveys and for some reason, Miami is an annual sanctuary for the rudest drivers in America. Of 2,000 drivers queried from major cities, Miami got a big, fat “F” for behind-the-wheel manners.
“Drivers in the high-octane city are more likely to tailgate, honk their horns and make inappropriate gestures than their counterparts in Boston, Chicago, Cleveland, Dallas, Denver, Detroit, Los Angeles, Seattle and Washington, D.C.,” quoth a survey reported by The Associated Press.
AP didn’t go into detail about what exactly constitutes an “inappropriate gesture.” Perhaps it’s a dismissive wave of the hand when someone cuts in front of you while you affably chuckle: “Oh, you hurry person! Guess you have to be some place important!”
I confess. Although not hailing from the land of the Seminoles, I have been a rude driver in my day.
Years ago, I was at the north intersection of Orchard Village Road in my hometown of Santa Enchirito. I was about to make a left onto Lyons Avenue. The left arrow turned green and I’m not kidding you, the nanosecond — the NANOSECOND — it lit up, this big fat lady behind me was standing on her horn. I quickly glanced in my rear view mirror and you know what?
Her lips were pursed in frustration.
Sweet, decent me.
you know what I did? I didn’t move. Not an inch. I waited for the light to turn yellow, paused an instant more, then burned rubber through the intersection, leaving her stuck for one more traffic light cycle behind me.
THAT’S 45 seconds of her life she’ll never get back.
I don’t know if this is rude, but it sure was funny. Well. It struck me as funny.
Back in the 1960s, Soledad Canyon used to be a thin country road with a single lane in each direction. For some reason, I was by myself, driving a friend’s car. Way up in Canyon Country, I happened to take a quick peek and in the rear mirror, there was one of my good pals, Gail Chatham.
Gail was this monster of a young man with muscles coming out of everywhere. He was one of the football team captains and was wearing his letterman’s jacket, which wasn’t unusual. I suspected the gridiron hero slept in it.
Captain Chatham is driving behind me in his gutless blue Volkswagen bug and doesn’t recognize that I’m piloting the vehicle in front of him. It’s a lazy spring afternoon and I’m doing about 25 mph. Gay-Gay, as we called him then, didn’t want to do 25 mph. He wanted to do the posted 50. I’m wearing a smirk he can’t see and watching him in the mirror. A polite fellow, he’s not exactly tailgating me, but he’s close.
Read more here: The Boston Report: The Lost & Proper Art of Hogging the Road