Monday, September 24, 2018

I Don't Get Mad, Just Even

Deke's Note: Daddy Blue says, "Have fun every day." I try, Dad, really I do. Mama always used to say, "Don't get mad, get even." There's a way to achieve both, Ma & Pa.

Every day of transit operation, it takes great patience and self-control to remain cool behind the wheel. With a growing number of motorists annoyed at our mere presence on the road, we're constantly avoiding collisions due to actions of the feeble-minded. Over half of those licensed today should have their driving privileges revoked and forced to take driving lessons. Their antics cause accidents all over the world, and it's a testament to transit worker professionalism that most don't end up flopping lifelessly between our duals.

Since we're never thanked for saving lives, which we do many times a day, it can create bad feelings toward those who flip us their Driving IQ score. Therefore, I've developed a fun way of getting even.

ROPE A DOPE: Conceived by the great fighting champ Muhammad Ali in the 1970s. He would tease his opponent, making them angry with trash talk and constantly covering-up. He'd lay on the ropes, while Joe Frazier or George Foreman pummeled him. They put a lot of energy into trying to hurt The Great One. Every so often, Ali would land a solid jab, just enough to daze his tormentor. Then later, as time and expended energy took their toll on his opponent, Ali would suddenly "wake up." Having saved his strength laying on the ropes, he'd go to town on his weary opposite. A barrage of blows would eventually become too much, and the victory would be Ali's.

Often on my way home, some witless dipstick will relentlessly ride my tail. My car's speedometer rarely registers more than five miles per hour over the limit. Driving is what keeps a positive balance in my checkbook, so I'm careful to (literally) remain under the radar. Over the years I've realized that exceeding the limit by 5-20mph doesn't necessarily mean I'll arrive sooner at my destination. It's the "patience" part of maturity that keeps my license free of demerit points. When Sammy Speedboat rides my tail, I'm not sure if he thinks this tactic will make me go faster, but it tends only to piss me off. There are a few speed traps on my route home, and I can usually tell when they're active. So I speed up just a little to keep Sammy back there. Just as I'm about to round the turn where Cory Cop lies in wait, I slow down again. This time I clock five below the limit. Right where Cory's radar gun trap is, Sammy usually zips across the double-yellow line and blasts past me. I make sure to regain the speed limit as he makes his move, so he has to be going at least 5-20mph faster than I am. Unfortunately for him, Cory already has him zeroed in.


I laugh as I go by. Yeah, it's childish and petty, but it's great payback. Sammy's cohorts zip around our YIELD lights all day while cops ignore, or even join them. Payback and instant karma, you betcha.

THE BLOCK: Dolly Doper loves to zip in and out of lanes, including turn lanes, just to gain no apparent advantage whatsoever. When my route has a median, I love to chug up alongside another car and match their speed. This blocks Dolly from "shooting the gap" between us just to slam on her brakes as the light ahead turns red. With glee, I observe her from my left mirror as we're stopped. She's often slamming fists on her abused steering wheel, cursing and obscenely gesturing with her other. As we wait, I glance at the guy next to me, who also has been the victim of the horn-honking tailgater behind him. We exchange glances, he give me the index-finger-around-the-ear "crazy lady" sign, and I smile and give him the "ok" sign. He knows what's up. When the light goes green again, I once again enjoy my place in the right lane alongside my co-conspirator. Dolly is even more angry, now honking with fury as we slowly gain speed.

Once again, there's a few motorcycle cops parked on the far side of a particular intersection. We leisurely glide through the green-turning-yellow light as Dolly pushes the envelope and enters on yellow-going-red.


I chuckle and give the cops a thumbs-up as I roll by. My fellow motorist laughs, and I give him the go-ahead as our lanes merge into one. Mission accomplished. Another few hundred bucks for the municipality's coffers.

THE HONKIE: You know the type. It's obvious to most what we do out there. We drive, stop and pick people up or drop them off, then we drive again. Pretty simple, right? Not evidently so, to Horatio Honkie. He has some ill-conceived notion that this maneuver takes longer than it should. He doesn't take into account how long it takes to raise the bus from a kneel, or that most passengers stare at their phones prior to my arrival instead of getting their fare ready, taking a good 30 seconds to pay. Since we're not supposed to move the bus until they scoot past the yellow standee line, most of us do not. The slowest boardings can take up to 90 seconds, especially if Aunt Hazel in her walker takes time to get seated. Horatio sits behind us, laying on his incredibly-annoying beep-beeper which sounds like an adolescent whine on helium.

One day I experienced Horatio's horrible behavior as I serviced a stop at the near-side of an intersection. Watching the pedestrian timer tick down, I timed my door-close precisely to the point where I could scoot across the narrow intersection before the light switched to red. Unfortunately for Horatio, he was so close behind me, the height of my bus obscured his sight of the light. It had turned yellow as he entered the intersection, and then red before he hit the far crosswalk. Guess who was waiting for him? Nope, Perry Patrolman was somewhere else. The camera atop the traffic light popped off, I noticed in my mirror, as Horatio once again jumped up my bus butt.


I detest these cameras, because I believe they result in unreasonable searches, just like drunk driver stings have been declared in Oregon. But this time, I truly appreciated it.

So there you have it. Deke can be an asshole sometimes. I prefer to think of it as poetic justice. It's  perhaps a passive-aggressive move on occasion, but Ma & Pa were right. It is downright fun, Dad. And Ma, it's a safe way to get even.

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