I know to expect a minimum of 30 minutes in morning traffic and 45 to 2 and a half hours in the evening or inclement weather.
Everyone in Seattle tends to have these outbursts from time to time and like most of my fellow commuters, my frustration is contained within the vehicle, affecting no one but myself, the occasional passenger and the dog.
This day, traffic was moderate to light on the commute home. The dog happily slept in the back seat, so deeply that his legs scratched against the back of my seat in unison with an occasional "woof, grrrrr, woof, woof." People merged effortlessly; everyone seemed to have the same mission... simply, get home safely.
Amidst a part of town known as the Mercer Mess, this cooperative-easiness is unusual for 5:30 pm. Calculating time left in the day vs. tasks that had to be completed, I paused to breathe a sigh of relief that I was headed home.
From a distance behind me, a horn honked in a long blast followed by a few short spurts. A box-truck was attempting to merge effortlessly into the lane, the accommodating vehicle had left enough room; what was the problem?
People changed lanes, turned onto other streets and everyone seemed to 'go with the flow' except the one unhappy, grump-muffin who shared his petulance with the rest of us. With his intermittent succession of horn blasts, it was evident he was getting closer.
Traffic became more congested and I was forced to stop at a green light until the intersection cleared... trying to determine if there was enough room for one more vehicle without my trunk (or more) impeding cross-traffic. A few seconds into pondering the age-old question of 'can I make it', it happened. HOOONNNNKKKKKKK! The red car behind me held his horn for nearly 30 seconds. The dog jumped up and stared out the back window, ears perked. A very small, middle eastern looking man barely peered over his steering wheel as his palm smacked his forehead. HOOOONNNNKK! He continued. Unimpressed, the dog laid down and groaned. I sighed. Two lights ahead cycled, yet traffic remained at a standstill.
"What is your problem? The passenger asked. "She won't GOOO!" said the road-rager. "She can't go, there's no room!" the passenger yelled. Next thing.... HOOOOOOOOOONNNKKKK! "Yeah, that's not helping. You're just being an ass!" said the passenger. The road-rager suddenly switched languages to Farsi or Arabic and yelled even louder. The passenger rolled up his window and turned up the music in the vehicle he occupied.
Following suit, my head was soon bobbing to the radio's beat. HOOOOOOONNNNKKKKKK! He tried again. Checking the rear view mirror, the road rager had one hand to his ear and the other flailing like a fish out of water.
At this point his antics were beginning to provide a little amusement. From my purse I pulled a tube of lipstick, adjusted the mirror and framed my brilliantly white smile with deep garnet. HOONNNKKKK! HONK! HONK! HONKKKKK!
Soon the light turned green, as did the two signals ahead. There was promise of some movement. The road-rager was now in the lane next to us and zoomed to my side. He careened ahead, using the shoulder to pass everyone else who patiently waited to merge into the on-ramp. Eventually, he cut off a vehicle, took a spot in line and disappeared into the sea of other commuters.
Frustration in traffic is understandable, but we're all there trying to accomplish one thing - arrive at our destinations safely. Some do this quietly, some scream in their cars and some... HOOOOOONNNNKKKK.
Drive safely, Seattle.