If you can read this, you're too close
It's fine to love your enemies, but getting behind the wheel changes that. Kill, kill, kill! becomes the order of the day.
Crush the Suburbans, smash the vans, wreck the minivans, pulverize the pickups, bomb the four-wheel drives, squash the sport utility vehicles. Vaporize the 18-wheelers, atomize all trucks. Grenade mobile homes and trailers.
Take no prisoners.
Don't let them merge, speed up, close the gap. Cut them off at the pass. If not there, at the intersection.
Run the red light like the speed of light.
Cut, dodge, swerve. Weave in and out like a mad god. The road is yours. Your car is blessed. Inside, you are safe and sound, supreme. Let the bastards eat cake.
Read, shave, lather up, pluck your eyebrows, pick lipstick from your teeth, mascara away, pick your nose in oblivion. Pat yourself, pray, tilt the rearview mirror, fondle the tire tool, stroke the pistol, talk to your baby, plan your day, promise you'll never be late for work again, confess your infidelities to no one but yourself, whistle "Dixie," shoot the president, convert the corrupt, join the corrupt. Slaughter your enemies.
Forgive them, afterward.
Turn left headlong into traffic in the big city. Turn right slowly.
After all, it is your first time.
Meander, dawdle. Ease out at a snail's pace. Fake a fast getaway, then jam on the brakes. Panic in the streets.
Speed. Show the bastards how fast your machine will go. No one shall pass: not a teenager, not an old woman.
Show your evil eye.
Practice shooting the finger, flipping the world off. Learn how to give a cop car the finger without the cop's seeing but so you still have the satisfaction of flipping off a cop.
Jab the sky repeatedly.
More subtly, push your eyeglasses back up your nose with the digit. Drum on the dash, on the seat back, see that your foe knows what you're doing but doesn't know what to do about it. Have a finger come up one, two, three. Return a smile with a finger. For real kicks, a finger with a smile.
Burn rubber, make the tires squeal like a banshee, scream like a puma in the act.
Honking is exciting. As soon as the light looks like it's going to turn green, honk at the fool in front of you.
Honk wildly, no matter where.
Honking while you're stuck in the middle of a mile-long traffic jam is a different kind of exhilaration but with one possible drawback—honking in this instance may be hazardous to your health.
Skid on water, slide like a snake. If you hit 'em, hit 'em solid. Better still, let 'em hit you, but be prepared. Try not to leave your car unless it's absolutely necessary. Learn how to make wild-eyed maniacal faces, develop crazy laughter.
When the guy thumps on your window merely because you cut in front and slammed on the brakes, don't quite drool but grin as if you enjoy wetting yourself.
If you are in a contest that has grown beyond all reason because he or she is as crazy as you are, grope under the seat, as if hunting for the biggest gun in the world. Pray the searching works, that you don't come up with an empty beer can to face off against a .38.
Stop at the green light. Look bewildered as they all honk.
Better still, when you're waiting as the light turns green, stare transfixed until just before the light turns red, then ease out, leaving the trail of cars behind you to enjoy another red light.
Work on your fake starts. Ease forward, race the engine, glance at your competition, look ready to bolt the next 400 years in less than a second, but don't inch out—let the other maniac blast away. Be careful you don't get hit from behind.
Cut in, smile, and wave as if you really appreciate that the guy's letting you in. Guaranteed cardiac arrest.
Become a moral arbiter. Obey the speed limit. Slow down in the fast lane. Start slowly, stop like a snail. Be a one-car blockade.
Become a vigilante, a champion for law and order. Every sonofabitch, male and female, caught talking on a car phone is to be dragged from the car, stripped naked, and flogged. Rub salt in the wounds of the unrepentant.
Display bumper stickers for good, for law and order, for morality—Return Good for Evil, Yes I Am My Brother's Keeper, Real Men Love God—though I'm not sure what that has to do with driving, or even what it means.
When nothing works, when all else has failed, close your eyes, drive like crazy, and blame the other guy.
From Texas Journal (Spring/Summer 1998). Subscriptions: $25/yr. (2 issues; includes membership in the Texas Council on the Humanities) from Banister Place A, 3809 S. 2nd St., Austin, TX 78704.