Tuesday, January 31, 2006

The Penny Game

Is mother nature on the rag or what? We had ice, rain and pea-soup fog all at the same time. As if the roads aren't dangerous enough in Ontario with all the bloody Ontarians out there behind the wheel, entirely forgetting that they're behind the wheel.

Are you an Ontarian? Why do you think we're such insufferably bad drivers? What do you mostly do while forgetting you're behind the wheel? Let's take a survey: Do you -

- Talk on the cell phone?
- Admire your smile in the rear-view mirror?
- Explore intricate sexual fantasies?
- Catch up on your knitting?
- Read one of my books? (Just kidding! Never been published!! Ahhh, I kill me...)

I once watched a friend smoke a cigarette, drink a coffee and talk on his cell phone while driving. And the car was a standard. This requires five hands and two brains, I realize. But I swear it's true. Phone and butt in left hand, coffee and gear-shift in the right. The steering wheel received a modicum of attention, sometimes from the right wrist, sometimes the right thigh. He's still alive to this day as far as I know.

To be fair though, there are some drivers who are out there paying attention, who are very alert, always looking eagerly for ways to screw other drivers. Bless them. These are people who's time is more important than mine, I guess because they worship a superior god then mine - or perhaps they are superior gods. Regardless, they're more important than the rest of us so they find crafty ways to bud in front of us during rush-hour.

On my way to work there's a long stretch of highway where an on-ramp runs beside it with just a paved shoulder between. It takes forever and ever to finally connect to the core lanes. It's the longest bloody acceleration lane in all of motoring history. This is a major rush-hour slow-down area which is made exponentially slower because all these superior humans leave the core lanes, cut through the shoulder and fly down the on-ramp to bud in front of us at the other end. It's blatantly illegal of course but really, laws only apply to us regular every-day type people who's time is of no importance.

I love these privileged people. Really. I give them money! It's true. I make a financial donation to each of them who pass me - every day. I keep an ashtray full of pennies, you see. I toss a couple to each of them as they roar past. My assumption is that they'll use this non-taxable income to help pay their traffic fines or for driving lessons - or perhaps to help with those whopping psychiatrist bills. Narcissism takes a long time to treat, I hear.

Unfortunately they rarely stop to pocket my offerings. They just whiz by and let my friendly little missiles ping off their windshield or their hood or door panels. Perhaps you don't need money when you're a superior breed. Maybe they just take everything for free wherever they go. They must be entitled to, wouldn't you think? They're awfully special.

Nevertheless I keep offering the cash. It took a while to master the technique. Their speeds of choice are not all alike. It took a lot of practice to learn to study their rate of approach in the rear-view mirror and launch the donation at just the right moment. I'm now a master of the penny game and I take great joy and pride in it. It's the highlight of my morning. It's what I do while forgetting I'm behind the wheel.


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