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Tips For Road Ragers

 Clever Cohorts and Miffed Motorists,

Daily, if we drive an automobile, we are forced to deal with all sorts of things on the newly Obamasized highways and roads of our nation. Many of  them can and will annoy us, while others drive us, literally, to distraction.  Manners are in short supply but nowhere is the supply shorter than on our roads.

People do not care about the other driver anymore. It is like a battlefield out there some days. In the film, It’s A Gift, starring W C Fields, we see roadhogs get their due when our tipsy hero buys a whole fleet of cars to follow him around and purposely crash into roadhogs.

Roadhogs are one of the worst problems. They cause a lot of the rage. Roadhogs come in all shapes and sizes, like the Harley-Davidson rider who feels he belongs in the passing lane while going 40 miles an hour, because he is a ‘biker’. No wonder we hate bikers so much. It brings back the Carlin line about how people used to ride bikes to piss off the squares and now it is the squares who ride the bikes.

When not slowing traffic down, they often feel the should ride on the center of the double-yellow lines, to show their ownership of the road, which they bought with the title to the cycle…probably because they could not afford a decent car. If you see one on the double-yellow, swerve towards them. You are really doing them a favor, since the increase in heart-rate and blood flow will keep them more alert and less prone to injury. Plus, the look of terror on their faces is always a gas, too. Bicycles are the same way. They really do need to make separate paths for bicycles, as these idiots in the shiny pants (which leads one to question their sensibility to ride a skateboard, much less a bicycle) are some of the rudest variety of roadhog…the self-righteous alternative transportation roadhog. A blare of the horn as you edge up behind them always gets a little jump out of them, if you do not have a squirtgun full of warm milk handy.

Tailgaters are maybe the worst of all, next to the cellphoners. Tailgaters show some of the more developed asshole tendencies. Often they will drive 45 mph in a 55 mph zone, and to be sure they slow down everybody else, they do this in the passing lane. Remember the passing lane? It used to be for passing. If you pass a tailgater on the inside lane and then shift over to the fast lane because you are in passing mode, they will often speed up just to tailgate you for passing them. They were in no hurry before you passed them but they took the move as a personal affront and feel like they must tailgate your car so you know they can go fast, too. Of course, we know the most common way to deal with this is to ‘brake check’ them, that is to hit your brakes hard so they almost hit the back of your car. Keep in mind that if they hit you from behind, it is always their fault, by law.

Sometimes such an action will rile up the offending party and they will continue the dangerous habit of riding your bumper.  If you have a car (which is really the only thing to drive if you do not haul heavy junk and are environmentally responsible), you may have windshield wipers that spray washer fluid over the roof of your car and onto the windshield of the car behind you. If so, a good thing to do is to lay on the sprayer a few times until you see the car behind you put on the windshield wipers. When they are distracted by that and cannot see clearly due to the wipers, hit your brakes then! It usually scares all hell out of them. Again, it may only rile them up, so we suggest keeping a few rolls of pennies or a cup of old rusty nuts and bolts in the console of your vehicle. These metal objects, when flipped over the top off your car, will bounce off the highway and, depending on what speed you are traveling, bounce up into the  grill of the car behind you or, if you are lucky, the windshield. Old golf balls from the shag bag are good for this, as well, as the large white orb has a scarier effect when flying toward you. The good thing about using pennies is that they are barely visible, should an officer look for evidence of projectile-influenced rage.

Sunday drivers have been an annoyance for nearly a century now. They are usually old and have no idea what is going on. If you rage at them, it does no good. They have to turn up the hearing aid just to hear you honk at them and that action alone slows them down by another 10 mph. If you have to drive on a Sunday, take valium.

Most offensive these days is the cellphone user. Most roadhogs and tailgaters are cross-addicted to the cell. This works in your favour because they are distracted. To them a brake check is especially terrifying. They really ought not to be on the phone and most states have laws against it. As much as we at CFYSA hate the law, we try to help the enforcers of the laws when it comes to these selfish, talkative bastards who think they are so important that if they do not phone to say where they are at the moment, the world will stop.

 If you see someone on a cell, lay on your horn. The person on the other end of the line will get an earful, as well. Better yet, here is a trick we learned by mistake a few weeks ago. Sitting at a red traffic light, we looked over and saw a driver yapping inanely on the cell, waiting for the light to change. We were not even with this car but our hood was about even with the driver’s window, perfect for a blare of the horn. We were in a two lane left turn exit from a shopping plaza that dumped onto a well-trafficked road. Reckoning to give the driver/cell-user a little blast of sound, we hit the horn. When we honked, the car abruptly pulled out, through the red light, into traffic.  Apparently, they were used to being honked at for sitting through green lights while yapping and thought they had done it again. Luckily, they did not get hit by another car but it certainly opened a whole new avenue of fun to us. Try it sometime and see for yourself! We encourage you!

There are many other ways to deal with the rogues of the road but we just wanted to throw out a few helphul hints for the novice ragers in the ethernet. Happy motoring!!!


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Tips For Conversationalists or How to Stop Interrupting Others

Gentle Readers (as Miss Manners used to say).

We have entered the dawning of a new era. For centuries, humans have tried to make others feel welcome in their lives by being gracious and mannerly. The ‘gentle’ in ‘Gentle Readers’ comes from the art of being a ‘gentle person’ as opposed to a rude one.

These days, people have an inflated sense of self-worth…and it is inflated to the point of bursting. Self-importance is the order of the day and nowhere does it show it’s ugly head more than in the simple art of person to person communication. Having been known to slip at times, Ourselves, we look to an expert for a look at this phenomenom and for way to handle it. That said, we turn to Vicki Santillano of Divine Caroline, a manners repository. Here is what she has to say about the state of modern conversation, along with some tips on how to be a Gentleperson. Thank you, Vicki!!!

Conversation Killers: How to Stop Interrupting Others

I’m always surprised at how blasé some people can be about interrupting and talking over others. That is, until I catch myself doing it in conversations, too. It’s so hard to quell the impulse to interject, especially when you have a relatable story or a point you don’t want to miss making. Perhaps that’s why chronic interrupting is a trait shared by so many, including some of the nicest, most caring people I know. Likewise, I don’t consider myself a rude person by nature, yet I make the same conversation faux pas from time to time. Simply knowing how frustrating it is to be talked over isn’t enough to stop it from happening; otherwise, none of us would ever interrupt anyone else. So how do we learn not to breach such basic etiquette

What’s Behind the Need to Interject
When someone interrupts us, we feel annoyed primarily, but also disrespected. Regardless of what we’re talking about or who does the dirty deed, being interrupted sends the message that our words carry less weight than the interrupters’. And that’s partly true, at least in the interrupters’ opinions. Think of the times you’ve stopped someone mid-sentence. You thought something was so crucial to the conversation that it had to be voiced immediately—that your point was more important, or so important that you didn’t want to risk it not being heard. 

Some psychologists differentiate between types of interruption when analyzing conversation patterns. There’s competitive interruption, which is an attempt to steer the conversation in another direction. Cooperative interruption is when the comment is meant to add to the conversational flow—such as adding a related opinion or even making supportive statements—but still stops the original speaker from smoothly finishing his or her thought. The well-intentioned among us tend to cooperatively interrupt, but etiquette-wise, that’s not much better than the competitive kind. Both prevent the other people we’re conversing with from speaking their minds freely. Both make them feel that their feelings on the matter aren’t worth as much as ours. 

Learn to Wait Your Turn
According to The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Etiquette, “interrupting is the most common and among the most irritating errors people make in conversation.” But just because many people do it doesn’t make it less of an etiquette no-no. It’s hard, but by no means impossible, to overcome such an ingrained impulse. Like any other bad habit, not interrupting others requires reworking how we look at the situation (conversation) and re-training ourselves within it.

Often, people who run conversational interference aren’t listening as well as they should be. They might hear a sentence or two, form an opinion they feel should be voiced, and listen for a slight pause or hesitation in conversation that allows them to interject. At this point, the attention is on themselves rather than the speaker. Instead of wanting to make points as they come to your head, have a notebook handy to jot down notes for later or make mental notes. This is especially good advice for people who tend to interrupt their coworkers and, even worse, their bosses during meetings. (Don’t feel bad if this is you; I’ve been guilty of it, too.) While you may want to make a great impression and showcase your enthusiasm or knowledge, speaking over peers and managers only demonstrates a lack of respect and patience. 

Rather than waiting for a moment to get a word in, pay attention to the way the speaker talks and the points he or she’s making. It’s possible the person will reach the same conclusion you have if he or she’s given the opportunity to finish speaking. Similarly, you may reach a different conclusion once the speaker’s done. If it feels nearly impossible to keep quiet, try subtly putting a finger over your lips as a reminder. Asking friends or coworkers to politely point out when you’re interjecting too much can also be helpful. The reminding should be slight and kind instead of disparaging; experiencing the latter could make you too afraid to speak at all. 

Dealing with Other Interrupters
Since most of us have been guilty of interrupting at some point, we’ve all been victims of it, too. When you have to deal with a chronic interrupter, try speaking quickly so that the person doesn’t jump on a break in conversation. If someone starts talking over you, raise your voice slightly and continue on. When interrupters are allowed to do so unabated, it only reinforces the behavior. Parents teaching their kids good manners are told not to acknowledge them when they demand attention in the middle of another conversation. Just as children have to learn to wait their turn, those of us who interrupt need to be reminded of that lesson, too. 

There are times when interrupting is more excusable. “I don’t understand what you’re saying” or “Stop talking, there’s an emergency!” are perfectly valid things to bring up in the middle of a conversation. But for the times when you’re itching to make a point or stir things in a different direction, it’s best to pipe down and let the speaker finish. Few things are so pressing to discuss that it justifies hurting someone else’s feelings in the process. When the urge to interrupt hits, just remember how it feels to be talked over and open your ears instead of your mouth.

Updated December 13, 2010


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