In the past, I've admonished motorists for their poor driving habits, but I think it's time to change things up. Instead, here's "New Road Rules Per Portland Motorist Majority (PMM)."
PMM: It's My Road. MOVE, ASSHOLE!
It doesn't matter, Operator Blue, that you're transporting 40+ people and I'm driving Mom's 1985 Honda modified to sound even stupider than it looks. You're in my way! Even though half your rush-hour load are medical professionals headed home after 12 hours patching up fools like me, I don't have time to waste waiting for you to let them off. I need to get to that red light first so I can tailgate the other slowpokes in my way. Your Yield light is a joke. Get a real job, Blue Shirt... like mine, flipping boogers into the burglet turds I fry all day. Besides, I have to beat my best score on the old-school Nintendo in Mom's basement while she cooks my food and folds my laundry.
Deke: Does she wipe your butt for you after you poop, too? Look Junior, I was driving before your mommy was a coke snort in her high school dropout papa's nostrils. My Yield light isn't a request or a suggestion, it's the law. One of these days, Perry Patrolman will catch you and make Mommy pay a hefty fine for your reckless driving. If you live that long.
PMM: What Crosswalk? Hell nah!
So what, I'm supposed to wait for you to load 10 people before I can make my right turn from the lane you're hogging? Get real. I'll just zip around you and turn right before you can get going again. Easy pleasy. OOPS! WTF?!? Why are your passengers walking in that crosswalk? Are they stupid? Hey! You almost just hit me as I made that right turn from the left lane! Aren't you guys supposed to be "professionals?"
Deke: Yes, we are professionals. That's why Mom's junker isn't a twisted piece of metal with my passenger nurses trying to keep your blood from spilling all over the upholstery. It's another good reason Mommy won't let you drive her 2018 F-350 with dualies and a pair of man-danglies off the trailer hitch. That poor teenager was nearly splashed across your windshield. Good thing I honked at her to get her attention so she stopped just short of your front bumper. Dumbass. Did you flunk Driver's Ed in addition to fifth grade Reading?
PMM: Speed Limits Are For Sissies
Nobody drives the limit, that's only a suggestion for wimps like bus drivers and girly boys.
Deke: My ride is a 20-ton 40-foot-long unforgiving bastard. Hardly a machine "wimps" could handle. Put you in this seat and you'd hit something (or worse, somebody) within the first minute. Yeah, I'm tooling along about six miles an hour less than the speed limit. Why? Because I drive this road several times a day, and I've timed each traffic light on the route so I can tell precisely when that red light (with 10 cars waiting for it to change) will go green again. Using the air-brake pedal hundreds of times a day makes one conservative on its use. Otherwise, this foot I'd love to shove up your impatient ass would ache even worse than it does now. See that? You raced around me into the wrong lane, and now I'm sailing past with a shit-eating grin on my face. You lose, as usual.
Why should I wait in this single lane for you to do your stupid bus driving crap? I'll just zip by you, even when you're trying to get that big piece of shit rolling again and had your stupid "Yieldy Light" blinking for five seconds already. Screw you, I'll do what I want. See? Even that cop did it.
Deke: That cop is a lawbreaker too. If I had the power, I'd cite his ass for Failure to Yield, along with the five other cars that broke the law behind him. You nearly creamed that car head-on waiting to execute a perfectly-legal left turn as I left my stop. You were well behind me, but sped up and passed me in the turn lane. That's not only illegal, it's a maneuver that even a three-year-old would wince at. Your balls are bigger than your brain, Billy Beemer.
PMM: If I Pretend Not to See A Sign, It's Not There
Everyone knows the cops don't patrol your joke of a Downtown Transit Mall. I'm in a hurry to get to the big sale at the pot store. The joint I just finished in the Transit Lane the light previously was my last bud. That "bus lane" should be a right-turn lane, so I'm taking it. Oops, people are crossing, I'll just wait and make you miss the green light. I don't care you're honking, too bad.
Deke: My transit light just turned red, a MAX train is bearing down on your rear bumper, and I honked to warn that guy in a wheelchair that you're not watching out for him. Dude had to stop in front of a train about to cream him because he's invisible to your lane-and-crosswalk-blocking inattentive ass. That bicyclist in the transit lane behind you isn't helping me either. Try a CBD strain, and maybe you wouldn't be such a dork behind the wheel. May the fleas of a thousand camels breed within your tighty-whities, Leather Tongue.
PMM: You Almost Hit Me! I'm Calling to Tell on You!
You turned onto a street you're not supposed to be on! I was waiting to turn left and you barely missed me! I thought you knew how to drive that thing!
Deke: Stifle, Arrogant AudiBoy. I had to re-route because of some catastrophe further down on my route. We're often treated to route diversions, and my turn there was not only legal, but beautifully-executed. Due to several years of operating this beast, I know within inches where my bus will be at any given time. Yeah, our front bumpers were momentarily inches apart, but in bus driver jargon, I missed you by a mile. Give me a thumbs up for my incredible skill instead of a temper tantrum in sign language, you middle-fingered novice. I also managed to not scrape my rear end on two telephone poles and a fire hydrant as I gently rolled over the curb so my passengers didn't even feel the bump. How about instead, you call in and tell them how perfectly I executed that maneuver? I bet next time you rent a U-Haul, it comes back with fresh scrapes and dents. My bus was perfect when I rolled it into the yard that night.
PMM: When I Yell At You, I Expect You to Listen!
You almost ran into me when I had to stop unexpectedly. And when I got out of my car to give you a piece of my mind, you ignored me!
Deke: First, you passed my flashing "YIELD," then cut back in front in front of me before slamming on the brakes to avoid creaming the heiney of that Hyundai stopped at the red light. I was slowing, with several car lengths between me and your near-rear victim when you zipped unexpectedly from the turn lane and negated my 15-foot cushion. That space ahead of me is not intended to be an invitation for violation; it's my safety zone. Why would you make such a foolish move with Snoozin' Sally is in the back seat? Are you stoned? Most likely. As for your road rage, I can't tell who has a knife or gun tucked in their purse or waistband. Good thing I shut my window in time, because it diverted your lugey-spitball onto my mirror, a much better place than in my face. Thank me for saving Sally's wee little life, or shut up and get back in your dented-up rust bucket.
PMM: That Light Was Yellow When I Decided to Run the Red
So what I was following that tractor-trailer so closely I couldn't see the traffic signal was clearly red when I entered the intersection? You don't have to honk at me, you simpleton bus driver! My girlfriend texted me right then and she's more important than anyone else.
Deke: That light was so red when you zipped through, hummingbirds flocked to it. My light was already green before you even hit the near-side crosswalk. I honked because you almost slammed into the phone-stoned pedestrians who looked up from their screens long enough to see a green light, and stepped into the street without seeing you. Wait an extra minute and STOP. It won't hurt, I promise. If you'd hit those pedestrians, you'd be chilling in a 6x8 cell while they bled onto the sheets of a gurney. You're welcome.
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Oh dear, I could go on and on and on... but you get the picture. Give Deke a week, and his words reek... of foolish escapades of those whose hands don't belong on a wheel. Now it's time for some kudos.
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Emergency Vehicles. You're trying to save lives, maybe even the mother of that bozo who won't get out of your way because the rap thump has damaged his hearing so much your blaring sirens don't even put a dent in his speakers' noise. Rolling into oncoming traffic lanes, weaving through ignorants who refuse to pull to the right, avoiding all kinds of danger to yourselves so you can aid someone in dire need. You're not paid enough for what you do. I will do everything I can to clear your path. Who knows? It could be somebody in my family who needs you. No matter; we're all in your debt. Thank you, and may you safely finish each shift.
Responsible Motorists. Words cannot adequately express my appreciation for you. When you flash your lights at me after four nincompoops have blown by my Yield, I give you a special wave of thanks. Slowing down ahead of me, I see you are trying to give a pedestrian at a risky crosswalk their legal right-of-way. Risking a rear-end collision from Road Raging Ronnie, you slow to stop when the light ahead turns yellow. In heavy traffic at a four-way stop, you yield your right-of-way to the bus who has a full load, likely running late, so we can turn when a spot opens after a two-minute wait.
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There you have it. The good, bad and undeniably ugly of Portland traffic. I'm sure people all over our shared blue marble can relate. Unfortunately, those who recognize traffic hazards and react responsibly are becoming more rare. Still, it's possible to imagine improvement. I hope your travels are shared with those who see danger and protect you from it. Bus operators sure practice this every shift... we could use some help. Patience, my fellow grasshoppers.