Riding the HOV Lane

December 18, 2012

The Nordic Warrior Queen blames traffic congestion on carpoolers. “What’s up with those stupid diamond lanes!”

She makes this comment as we enjoy the freedom of the northbound HOV lane, whizzing past stop and go traffic as we return home from Target, or driving the pickup truck back from Bevmo, the back heaped high with cases of Miller Lite for the Sister Wife. “Look at those poor people,” she says. “What a waste of space.”

Of course she means the HOV lane, not the people.

But after today, I have to agree with her. HOV lanes suck.

It’s like this: there’s a new customer in Phoenix, and my employer, tired of paying me to work at nothing all day, told me to go help them out for the next few months. So instead of lounging around in my PJs for half the day while pretending to work, I actually have to get in a car and drive rush hour traffic clear across the largest metropolis in the United States.

It’s not fair.

What’s worse, I sit in the car stewing over the fact that we moved to Scottsdale for the Sister Wife. She drives four minutes to work, while I drive an hour. Yes, I know my driving situation is temporary, and that under normal conditions, worst case would be an easy commute to the airport once a week, but still; I’d like to see her try this drive. Her head would explode.

I actually imagine this gruesome event as I sit stalled in traffic.

The cars around me are a slow moving herd of assholes and idiots, people who either failed Driver’s Ed or have a poor understanding of simple physics, and think their car is a perfect place to shave, apply eye shadow, and eat Egg McMuffins.

And all those cell phones. Just who are those people talking to anyway?

My rage mounted as I sat among my motor vehicle challenged peer group, watching each BMW, Lexus, and Mercedes fly past in the HOV lane, their drivers sneering at a potential $250 fine for driving solo.

Enough. No more of the endless stop and go, speed up, slow down, slam on the brakes for me. With a squeal of Detroit rubber, I swerved into the HOV and punched it.

Hahahahaaaahaa. There I was, zooming past all those losers, gloating over the three minutes I would save getting to South Phoenix. And that’s when I saw the motorcycle cop behind me.

Lights flashing, he pulled me over an agonizing five lanes of traffic. People whom minutes ago I’d scorned, that dickhead in the pickup truck I’d flipped off, now had the last laugh.

The cop approached from the shotgun side. I leaned over to roll down the window, wishing the Nordic Warrior Queen was there. She’d straighten this guy out.

“Driver’s license and registra—,” he said. “Oh, it’s you.”

Officer Anderson, who’d last pulled me over running a toll booth. “I thought you retired to San Diego?”

“You think I can afford that place on a cop’s pension?” He laughed grimly. “Besides, it’s just a bunch of liberals, pot-smokers, and movie stars out there.”

I changed the subject. “What seems to be the problem, Officer?”

“Are you kidding me? You were driving in the HOV lane!”

“Everyone else was doing it! Why didn’t you pull over that old broad in the Audi?”

“Two wrongs don’t make a right, Mr. Hanson.”

I tried a different approach. “But, Officer,” I said. “Jesus is riding shotgun.”

He leaned around to inspect the passenger seat. “I don’t see anyone,” he said at last, and pulled out his ticket booklet.

“Aren’t you a little old for a motorcycle?” At this point, I didn’t care if I made him mad.

He scowled at me. “It was all they had available.”

As he handed me the ticket, he smiled. “Have a nice day, Mr. Hanson.”

I was ten minutes late for work.

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