Monday, May 9, 2011

NY FGF 1312

Though the calendar proves I am demonstrably an adult, I still play the license plate game on drives long and short. I am always amazed how, between my house and the Stamford Town Center 10 miles away, I can generally pick up at least 10 and often as many as 20 states - and not just because I-95 is a massive truck corridor. So it is always amusing to me how, on longer drives, the farther I get from NY Metro, the less diversity of state plates there is.

And I took some longer drives this weekend - to and from the greater DC area. By the long way. All of my mother's family lives in the Baltimore-Washington area and for years we have gone back and forth from NY Metro to DC Metro via the world's single least interesting corridor: I-95 between NY and DC. I mean the interminable part on the Jersey turnpike would be enough, but when you finally reach the Delaware Memorial Bridge, you're barely half way there. So in October, when we went down for my cousin's wedding, devoted partner and I tried something different: the long way. For road nerds, that would be I-95 to Newark, I-78, then PA 222 to PA 30 to I-83 and then I-695 to I-70 etc. etc. Google will tell you this adds anywhere from 30-45 minutes to your drive. Google does not tell you that even though there are some single lane bits in there, there is no pile-up by exit 8.

It is definitely longer IF the turnpike was never congested. However, the drive is gorgeous - through Pennsylvania farm and Amish country (the former does smell like cow poo, I mean a lot like cow poo, but it's bucolic), and, for the penny pinchers among us, CHEAP! The roundtrip via I-95 can set you back close to 60 bucks in tolls. This way: $13.45. That's one of the tanks of gas you'll need in savings.

But every route has its frustrating drivers. I'll attempt to spare you the by-now-unpleasantly-cloying description of where I learned to drive and how the rules of the road are better there, and instead point out the following to any of the people I shared the road with this weekend: if our route contains more than one lane and you and the car in the lane to your right are going the exact same speed, there is no reason for you to be in different lanes. I will grant you that speed limits do exist if you will grant me that they are considered guidelines, more than rules, to the majority of drivers, many of whom would enjoy getting in front of you. You have the power to facilitate this simply by moving to your right. Going the speed limit in the left lane when there is no traffic is just poor manners.

You know what else is poor manners? BMW 5-series with the drug-dealer tinted windows, NY plate number FGF 1312.

Dear sir, you seemed to be in such a hurry from nearly the PA/NJ border to the Jersey Turnpike toll entrance. I mean, the kind of hurry that would have led a casual observer to think that you were running for your life. Only in such dire circumstances would a man (and you HAD to be one) veer so dangerously in and out of lanes multiple times in an attempt to get ahead of all the other cars, even at the expense of those other drivers' lives. I mean, we all know that if there is already only one car length between cars, there is no room for your car to get in, but you had a different idea of the limits of geometry. The funny part was that the speed of traffic was about 76 MPH and for many miles. There was just no going faster. There was a critical mass of cars all progressing at the same speed and no break up ahead for a single driver to pull away. So, in point of fact, all of your life-threatening lane changing didn't get you ahead of anyone. You pulled in front of me, in the left lane, twice, then tried to better your luck and ended up behind me again and again.

Which is why what happened next is so perplexing. Once you got through the toll plaza at Newark and on to the turnpike north, you stopped. You were at the toll booth directly next to mine and then you were just in the right lane at 50 MPH, way below the average speed of traffic until I left you in my wake heading towards the bridge.

What gives? Why were you trying to kill your fellow motorists all along I-78 only to slow to a relative snail's pace once within spitting distance of home? It really did confound me. So much so that I decided to memorize your license plate so I could write about you today. Also, in preparation for the Next Big Thing, I have taken ownership of for the future home of the world's largest traffic griping website. In your honor. Because you scared a lot of people on that highway. Because you are a douche. With an ostentatious car. That isn't cool.

You know what's cool?

The guy in the vintage Corvette Stingray, color yellow. Driving in the right lane. On PA 222. Just being cool.