Q I have a feeling that your personality and persona is too genteel for such an idea, but I wanted to suggest it anyway: a column dedicated to the abysmal driving we see routinely (unfortunately) in the Bay Area. I don't know if you remember the awesome '90s website (Highway 17 Page o' Shame), where they had a page dedicated to specific types of "jerques." So I was thinking that such a section could be called "Jerque of the Day" in your column. I imagine you'll be flooded with candidates daily.
A What prompted this idea?
Q I encountered my own last Thursday morning. Commuting late, I took Highway 101 south, and at about 10:30 a.m. I was approaching Highway 85 when almost right in front of me an older model black Mercedes cut over one lane (from the second lane from the right), then another lane, then another lane, all at very nearly the last moment, and just barely managed to squeeze onto the carpool flyover, all in what I'd say was moderate fast-moving traffic.
That instead of moving one lane over to the right and taking the "normal" exit to 85 south. Sigh. At least the driver used blinkers.
A Geez, I get 1,000 emails, calls, letters, tweets and Facebook
Q I grew up in the Bay Area, but recently lived and worked in Orange County. I can report that the rude/aggressive/ignorant driving is a Bay Area thing. It does not happen in other parts of California.
Traffic in Southern California is miserable. However, all (and I mean all!) drivers there have a "we're in this thing together" attitude. They understand doing the right thing makes everyone's trip a little nicer, and that everyone includes themselves.
I could make a list of the pathetic driving I see here, but that would go on for pages. Just know that it happens here, and only here. Job security for you. Sad for everyone here.
A I think job security is a good thing. Many L.A. drivers may disagree with you, but some transportation experts say Southern California drivers are more disciplined than we are.
Q Gary, where has the ability to drive gone? The next person who blocks Saratoga Avenue at Moorpark, we throw rotten vegetables at your face. You are provided goggles.
A Venting is OK, but no violence is allowed.
Q I recently accompanied my wife to her high school reunion in Kansas. I was there for five days and observed that drivers generally were courteous, went the speed limit, and didn't tailgate or make darting lane changes. In short, no "get out of my way" behavior.
I agree with you that "jerk" drivers in California feel invisible or anonymous in their cars. I also think that life in California is a lot of things but laid back isn't one of them. Our rude jerk drivers should take a chill pill and realize that life is not all about them.
A But there's one area where drivers may be even worse than here.
Q It is interesting getting used to an entire new set of driving norms for Phoenix, where I moved recently. I still have a problem seeing drivers openly talking on cellphones and would never think to do that. I don't see the rash of tailgaters that I am used to in the Bay Area, but I am appalled at the left turns across traffic on major surface streets without any apparent regard to the laws of physics. Immovable objects and the like.
One day I came frighteningly close to being T-boned by an electric wheelchair whose operator felt it was OK to cut across six lanes of heavy traffic. Both my adrenals and my Volvo's brakes, I found, were in good working order. Think El Camino Real without a median, just the wheelchair zooming out of nowhere.
But paying about $3.25 a gallon for gas is almost a pleasure.
A No fair to rub it in like that.