August 22, 2007

Road-Rage Revolution

I am not known for genteel manners and impeccable patience on the roads. I don't enjoy seeing a car's boot (or trunk if you're my reader from Texas ;-) in front of me. I prefer the open road, so I like people to getoutoftheWAY. My little brother drives like a bat out of hell and he claims it was the hours spent driving with me when he didn't have his license yet that taught him how to drive like that (but, in my defense, he comes out alive, thank goodness).

Well, I drove from Salzburg to Corinthia (southern Austria, bordering Italy) this afternoon and I didn't swear, scream my lungs out, turn beet red, pull a zap, honk madly or flash my lights at a n y o n e. That, people, is real progress! I only called one person a 'fat-ass' and I didn't even shout it, I just thought it out loud-ish-ly. I knew today was going to be different from all others when the first numb-skull to cut me off on the highway elicited nothing but a weak flap of the wrist and dramatic sigh from me. I sat up and took note of myself. Normal behaviour would have included speeding up and following the guy very closely so he can lip-read my cursing in his rear-view mirror and understand my sign language more easily. Hysterical honking might have been an optional extra... but nope - nothing doing, big guy. Youuuuuuuu just cut me off all you like... one day you'll do that to the wrong end of a 17-wheeler truck (maybe? One lives in hope?)

Hey, I was so happy in the company of Tristan Prettyman, Arno Carstens, Tori Amos, Joseph Arthur and my man Jason Mraz that getting excited about the second and third and fifth windbag to cut me off just did not seem worth the effort. You know you're aging maturing when getting angry and loud and upset and dramatic doesn't feel worth it! The slightly-dramatic drama queen? The undramatic drama queen? Apparently, I'm working on it, despite myself. And "music is a healer"... well, a calmer-downer and smile-maker at any rate.

"Fat-ass" was however reserved for the trailer trash who wouldn't let me back onto the highway after a pee break. For crying out loud, the oke ('dude' to my Texan reader - hellothere!) was dragging a caravan around - does he think he's going to stay ahead of me just because he forced me to bite his dust on the on-ramp?

Although, I did notice that I was about the only person on Austria's highways even vaguely bothered with the speed restrictions. But I realised that if I stuck to the legal limit, I could crack open both front windows and get that freshly cut alpine grass smell whirling around the driver's seat without the wind noise drumming in my ears. Even the occasional top note of cow dung made me feel more connected to the landscape. And when I drove through the 6km Tauern Tunnel, I worked out that that is the distance we drove from the house I grew up in, to Cresta Centre. Wow! What a thick mountain. Imagine driving to Cresta through the belly of a mountain? All in all, it was a glorious little drive. Living without a car and without a sound system in the aforementioned non-existent car really, really makes me appreciate driving alone when I get the chance. And the mature me has decided that the antics of the other idiot drivers on the road - cos let's face it, that's all they are - will not have me hopping mad. Especially if there isn't an audience worthy of my performance, right?


DN Houston - San Antonio at moment said...

I drive a "semi" SUV, so I dont really have a trunk. I was told I'd get laughed at if I got a normal car here in Texas, I was advised to get a truck (bakkie) but that was going to far for me. Eksie vannie plaas af nie.

Hollywoodgal said...

Hey there - welcome back! What are you doing in San Antonio?

DN-Houston said...

For the only way I get to travel, work. Was in Chicago (for training) last week, didnt see much, the little I did see wasnt great, like Texas more (more love than like), people are just more friendly, food and service better, for less. But I am "eenogig". You have been missing in action, so havent checked in on you much.