Small Town Ponderings: Part Two

Tourist trap small towns are the perfect place for that road rage, so often concealed during winter, to bubble up in near accidents and dangerous tailgating. 

Every year, tourists from all over the world load up in long tour buses, windows black as soot and stickers peeling away from the bus’s metal, too scratched up to see the letters of the business hauling from one end of the town to the next masses of starry-eyed one-time visitors in awe over the American midwest. Some exude kindness and curiosity in every place they go; others turn up their noses. For many, it is their only time they will trek the midwest on a trailing path winding through the Rockies all the way to Yellowstone. However, to the people that live there, tourists filling up restaurants and stores is a special irritant that bursts from their chest year after year. 

As with such places that imitate the city at the dusty peak of summertime, the roads become nearly unbearable with such traffic. I am used to short times going from one end of the town to the other with very little hindrance; and while cities are no stranger to bloated traffic and lines that trail from one traffic light to the next, I cannot help but feel that agitation from tour buses blocking up main roads and taking up the majority of parking in teeny-tiny parking lots. 

My feelings are not alone in this regard. The lovely people, with patience as short as a stub of candle already burnt to the bottom, that fill the road burn with an absolute fury as images of t-boning cars dance like sugar plums in their brains. I figure that the congestion of summer traffic plays a big role in how horrendous others drive. 

Massive trucks with burning blue headlights make an agreement at the start of every year to be biggest assholes on the road. They pledge that any car smaller than them, will yield to them as they pull in front of you with a minimum low speed of three miles an hour, or with burning rubber on the road as they attempt even more dangerous ways to cut you off and slam on your brakes. If you are so unlucky to have a massive truck with tires bigger than a grown man, then everywhere you go will be accompanied by one riding your bumper. Or, as your small car huffs and puffs up a hill, five miles over the speed limit, have a truck ride your ass the entire way up to cut you off at an intersection and shoot you a lovely hand gesture, as if the offending one was you the entire time with your non-truck car. With the height of summer, more people pull out their trucks to take for a spin around town; but for every normal tuesday to them, follows the tear jerking terror of every person driving a car decades off the assembly line to look out for those menaces that prickle anger under their skin. 

I cannot say if arrogance or irritation plays more a role for those horrible drivers, or just pure incompetence. I wonder, if not by a far stretch, if an error had occurred on the day they received their license and the proctor was as well irritated or incompetant. 

Four-way stops become a practice area for those with fleeting wishes of becoming a traffic director to test their skills.  In their head, traffic laws disappear like mist in the morning and they become as forgetful as a fly buzzing around dung.  They often hang a limp wrist outside their window to wave you on far before you have come to a full stop. I try to ignore the insistence of those drivers parked in the middle of the road or those having an animated conversation on the phone who believe that rules bend for them.  I’ve tried methods before, waiting long periods of time or making intense eye contact with the person across the way, only for them to become angrier and nearly wave off their hand. Some even roll down their window to shout. And I cannot lie and say that a smirk doesn’t come onto my face, as I usually find the whole thing amusing enough to irritate them a bit. 

For the general traffic violations that keep driving oh-so-spicy, summer is a special kind of hell.  As tourists line main street with cameras, many people are pulling out their own to send claims to their insurance companies. It isn’t all bad; afterall the coveted irritation of living in the town you hate is watching those around you suffer as well. 

Kudos to summer.

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