Texas Aggression vs. LA Aggression

I’ve recently discovered that there’s a fundamental difference between Texas road rage and LA road rage. They’re both vicious, but in different ways. Neither is worse than the other. Except LA road rage is absolutely worse. But I’ll get to that.

In Texas, the left lane is a coveted area to control; sort of the Texas version of the Autobahn. In fact, there are “official” Department of Transportation signs that actually say: “left lane is for passing only.” But we won’t waste our time with unrealistic fantasies.

By saying this, I don’t mean it’s difficult to get into the left lane – in fact it’s quite simple. You put on your blinker and turn the wheel (I take that back; it’s way easier said than done). However, once people get into this lane, they don’t feel the need to move, regardless of how far below the speed limit they are traveling. We will henceforth refer to these evidently illiterate drivers as “Slowmobiles.” To them, the left lane is like retirement – they had to work pretty hard to get there, and once they’ve arrived, ain’t no one gonna make them go back. And this is where the aggression commences.

Everyone behind Slowmobile is going 90 and joke’s on you, Slowmobile, if you think they’re planning on slowing down. These drivers have several options. Option A: get right up on the bumper of Slowmobile and then aggressively move into the right lane, speed up, and promptly switch back into the left lane inches in front of Slowmobile. Option B: realize that life is too short to have road rage and slow down to Slowmobile’s pace (Lol). Option C: speed up even more until you could be mistaken for a passenger in Slowmobile’s backseat and lay on your horn until the cows come home (literally. I mean, Texas.). Of course there are tons of other options – maybe two more – but these are generally the go-to’s.

I, myself, usually go for option A because I’m a passive aggressive road rager. I want to get my point across, but I’d also like to quickly be on my way.

The thing is, this scenario doesn’t just apply to highways. This happens in neighborhoods, on access roads, in school zones, in open roadless fields, I mean there’s no area out there that is safe from the wrath of Texan drivers. And the more aware of it I become, the more sociopathic it seems. Betsy Jo awakens to a lovely, sunshiney day. She has breakfast with the fam, kisses her dog goodbye, and heads off for work. Betsy Jo gets stuck behind some lunatic going 50 in the left lane. Betsy Jo loses it. Betsy Jo furiously honks and tailgates until she finally accepts that her actions are in fact making this car drive even more slowly. Betsy Jo whips into the right lane, then back to the left just to make her point, then back to the right and takes her exit. Betsy Jo calmly parks her car and strolls into work, greeting everyone with a smile as she continues her peaceful morning.

What?! How does Betsy Jo compartmentalize like that? Could Betsy Jo also go rob a bank and then pick up her kids from school as if nothing out-of-the-ordinary happened? I do not trust Betsy Jo. Although, regrettably, I am Betsy Jo. We are all Betsy Jo.

Texas road aggression is real, yes. But it’s a choice. LA road aggression essentially keeps you alive. Without it, you’re a goner. The difference: in Texas, your road rage is on the offensive. Your team has the ball and you just want to score (stay with me), but in LA, you’re on defense. You’re just trying not to get trampled because you know the ref won’t be giving you that charge call. You’re about to foul out and be on your way to purchasing a new car.

All 87 lanes are jam-packed with vehicles, so there’s really no use in trying to get into the left lane. The “left lane” concept that I took for granted for so long is obsolete here. The goal is no longer to reach your destination as quickly as possible; the goal is to reach it at all.

Sounds terrifying? Yeah I KNOW. If you’re a nice person in middle school, everyone tends to walk all over you. I grew up thinking that kindness was, like, important, so basically I was a middle school doormat. I can’t afford to be an LA road doormat. I’m really reaching with these metaphors, y’all. I guess I’m still shaken up from today’s drive. Nothing in particular happened. Just the fact that I had to drive has me a little apprehensive. The recovery process doesn’t gradually get any easier.

I guess what I’m trying to say is that I hear honking in my dreams at night. Yesterday, I apparently I left work at a magical time because, by some miracle, I was able to drive 60 on the highway for upwards of 3 and a half minutes. It was the strangest feeling – I haven’t driven that fast since 2015. I felt free. I felt like anything and everything I want to accomplish in life is ripe for the picking. But soon enough, it was back to jammed lanes and tuning out everyone’s venomous yelling by blasting Usher’s reassuring voice.

 

Road rage exists. In some places, you choose it. In other places, it chooses you. To all my passengers, both past and future, know that I am deeply sorry. To all the other cars on the road with me, know that I accept your forthcoming apologies.

Dallas According to Katie

I moved to Dallas for a summer internship. After one week in this city, I have a few thoughts.

On Day 1, I wore Nike shorts and wet hair to The HEB Platinum (this is how I refer to Tom Thumb and/or other Dallas grocery stores) and I have not made that mistake since. People do not leave their homes unless they actually look presentable. This is new for me. Sometimes I’ll see a woman in yoga pants, but I can tell by her hairsprayed curls and flawless makeup that she did not come from the gym nor is she on her way to the gym. Nonetheless [insert any Dallas female] still looks better in “workout” gear than I do with real clothes on.

Luckily, I moved just in time to avoid the bring-your-own-bag rule at stores. Perhaps that changed because shoplifters were the target audience. I’m a little annoyed that it’s no longer a thing – I just bought all these cute bags to carry around the grocery store. However, I had to first buy bags to bring with me upon purchasing the cute bags, so you can imagine how many extra bags I am now burdened with.

 

Driving in Dallas is more terrifying to me than a montage of Chucky films. Trains appear quite literally out of nowhere. Everyone I’ve asked about this has told me I will probably not be hit by a train as long as I hear the sound which precedes a train’s appearance. Therefore I no longer listen to music. If someone is riding in my passenger’s seat, they too are to be silent. No sounds in the car anymore ever again. I will not be hit by a train. If I am going to die in Dallas, it will be from overdosing on popsicles (why are they so delicious here?).

Here’s something fun though! I’ve finally gotten to use my car horn! I’ve never actually used it in a real-life situation, but Dallas Katie has serious road rage. That newfound rage – coupled with the fact that cars decide at a moment’s notice to just park randomly in the far right lane with no warning or indication – makes for some exciting, yet permanently silent, driving adventures.

I would like to think that I’ll have time to explore the stimulating cultural exhibitions Dallas has to offer me, but I’ve calculated that most of my day is spent navigating some parking garage or another. The remaining hours are spent in elevators or aimlessly roaming around Whole Foods in awe of how many gluten-free, dairy-free, vegetarian meals there actually are. A lot. There are a lot.

 

Hindering my effort to make friends, I keep getting all the hundreds of Dallas sports teams confused. The Rangers do not in fact play the Cowboys and I guess there’s a hockey team or something? Oddly enough, no one seems to want to discuss the Spurs so I’m sort of at a loss. If I ever do pick a sport and go to any games, I would certainly not drive there myself (i.e. trains).

Despite the many Mavericks fans, the immense pressure to wear actual clothes and driving in general, I actually really enjoy living in Dallas. Stuff here stays open past 8 pm! And boys constantly walk around in suits. There’s an Anthropologie at the mall, so it’s already a step ahead of Waco, and I haven’t yet gotten stuck behind a tractor, so it’s already 10 points ahead of Boerne! Not too shabby.

Parking Drives Me Crazy. Pun Intended

hei ! That’s “hello” in Norwegian.

 

 

Driving is sometimes the worst, but parking is always the worst. Attempting to find a parking spot makes every morning an adventure and I have a pretty standard stream of thoughts throughout the duration of each day’s Parking Hunger Games. But maybe it’s a good thing that parking is so terrible, because your day can only go up from there! If parking were easy, discovering that $5 in your fleece pocket wouldn’t result in a frat snap, it would only precede a simple shoulder shrug/soft smile combo. So here’s a casual morning in the life of barely awake, but nonetheless bitter-about-Baylor-parking-services Katie:

 

“This could be my day! I will be victorious as long as I begin my search with a positive attitude!”

9 a.m. becomes 9:20 a.m.

“Alright so tomorrow I drop out of college.”

“Attention other cars: this parking lot is mine, I claimed it the second I pulled in. How dare you have the audacity to think you too can be here.” (As the journey continues however, teams are formed, enemies are created out of nothing – the car you thought would be your downfall ends up shielding your ultimate spot from other potential takers. Tensions run high as the gas runs dry.)

“Ah yes at last I have found a man…..to relinquish his spot to me.” 2 and a half valuable minutes pass “IF YOU WEREN’T WALKING TO YOUR CAR WHY DID YOU HAVE YOUR KEYS OUT.”

“I wonder if people see me singing and assume I’m talking to myself. Considering the music I listen to in the morning, I do provide an array of facial expressions.”

 

Listening to Mama Mia “They probably think I’m just over-the-moon to be in this parking lot.”

Listening to Poor Unfortunate Souls from The Little Mermaid “They probably think I’m dramatically outraged to be in this parking lot.” (usually accurate.)

Listening to Take Me or Leave Me “They’re probably associating me with the sassy emoji girl.” (this constant comparison is both a blessing & a curse.)

Listening to My Heart Will Go On by Celine Dion “They probably think I’m a little tired and slightly indifferent about being in this parking lot. What a melancholy mood I’m now in.”

 

“If I had left my house 47 seconds earlier, I could have gotten that spot.”

“Next time someone asks me what I want for Christmas I’ll say the guarantee of a parking spot anywhere I go for the rest of my life. Not even a good one, just the assurance of having one. I feel like that’s not unreasonable.”

“Dear Parking Lot Higher Powers, I’ll make a deal with ya. If you open up a spot for me, I promise to add vegetables to every meal for the rest –“ spot opens “Awww so close. Sorry guys, maybe later.”

“FINALLY a spot! Blinker at the ready.

Seriously dude? Did you really just cut me off? MY BLINKER WAS AT THE READY. Kids have no respect these days. If and when I am successful enough to purchase my own country, I will invite you and your family to live there and then banish you all.”

“I wonder how much gas I waste during the daily spot hunt. Maybe I should get another job to pay for it. What if I don’t get a job after college and can’t afford gas? What am I even going to do with my life? Who am I?” panic attack ensues

“Why do all these people feel the need to go to class every day? Baylor really should encourage more ditching. You know who didn’t go to business school? LeBron James. So, according to Michael Scott logic, neither should you.”

“I guess I could just bike or walk to class. But I get irrationally annoyed with bikers and walkers and I don’t want to be that person. If pop culture has taught me anything, it’s that how you’re perceived by others is far more important than ‘what’s best for you.’ How do I ever expect to become a reality star if I put forth that much physical effort every day?”

“Maybe I should just park in 15-minute-parking and take my chances. But I have the worst luck of anyone I know so maybe I shouldn’t risk it. Then again, big risk=bigger reward. Then again, I managed to get nine black eyes in high school. Luck is rarely on my side. Yeah I would lose everything in Vegas.“

“ALAS a spot is that a spot I see?! Victory. Triumph. All the good things. I shall now confidently exit my vehicle and make my way to class only 16 minutes late.”

 
 

The typical parking spot hunt lasts anywhere from 5-37 minutes – depending on the weather/lack of motivation on campus/my erratic, subjective measurement of time. I can usually tolerate the wait as long as I have a solid playlist, coffee, and the reminder that Blake Lively probably went through an awkward middle school phase.