Wednesday, November 18, 2009

The Rules

Chris, my daughter's ex who lives in the apartment downstairs, said, "You don't let many cars cut in do you?"

And I had to think about that because I generally imagine myself as a push over.

But today, I decided I have rules.

If I am in a long line of traffic, waiting for the train signal to let us pass, and a car is coming out of a parking lot -- no, I don't let him/her in (if they are white.) Have to pay their dues. 

In the same situation, if there's a long line of cars coming from the parking lot, I'd let the first in, no matter who is driving.

When cars are exiting the highway and I'm trying to get to work, I let one in if there are a lot of cars waiting behind him.

If  a white truck (any kind of truck) with a white man driving wants to turn into my crowded lane, I don't let him in. Though he usually gets ahead anyway. Two  white men, smoking, I do my best to keep them out, but they always nudge in.

If someone who is black, man or woman, wants to get into my line, I let him or her in, almost all the time. (I have very deep feelings about the historical racism in this country and that someone who is black, or Afro-American is still, too often, invisible.) 

A white man, especially in a fancy car, particularly a Hummer, will not be allowed in.

Actually no one in a Hummer will be allowed to get in front of me if I can help it, no matter who the driver is.

I'm not savvy enough to recognize a Prius or other energy efficient cars, if I did, I'd let those drivers in ahead a me.

I might let a white woman in a reasonably old, fairly good car, get into the lane.

I won't let young guys, especially if they are blaring loud music (though I like loud music baring from cars) in.

I'm in favor of liberalized immigration laws. If I could recognize someone who is illegal, I'd definitely let him/her into my line of traffic, ahead of me.

I'm not sure about the elderly. Would I let a little old white man with a handicapped sign hanging from his rear view mirror, his head just peeking over the steering wheel, in? Luckily I don't think that's happened when I was paying attention.

If someone catches my eye and has a beseeching expression, or makes a pleading gesture, I'll let them get ahead of me. 

All these decisions are made without thought -- at least until today when I began to think about my rules as I was driving to work and decide who I'm likely to let in. 

I am grateful to see that wave of a hand in thanks, or at least a nod, if I've let someone get into my line of traffic. (And I have to say, that it's often white men who never acknowledge me when they sweep ahead.) 

On the other hand, I do my best to listen to varying political arguments, I don't believe in only shoring up my own particular opinion or liberal position. So, I find it funny that I'm so narrow minded in this small sphere of power that I can exercise when I'm driving.


  1. I too love that wave of acknowledgment when I give way. Etiquette on the roads makes such a difference. I hate the mouth gestured into some sort of obscenity when I've upset someone, or someone's upset me. It's a jungle out there.

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  3. thanks, Elizabeth. It is a jungle...and I drive like an old lady and get various levels of honking... from those I upset...

  4. What about a black man in a Hummer? Or a black woman in a BMW with a vote-for George Bush bumper sticker?