This morning, after viewing The Tree That Tried To Eat the Apartment Building, I headed off to work, as is my wont. I've never been fond of traffic circles, but just about any way I approach the office, I have to go through at least one. This morning's route took me off 16th Street, through Scott Circle, onto Mass Ave for a whole block, down 15th to my garage on M. Got all that? Good.
There's an exit off 16th Street to enter Scott Circle. Two lanes feed into the circle at a stop light. After the stop light, on the actual circle, there are three lanes of traffic; two go straight only, and the innermost lane goes straight or around the circle, with another stop light before you actually make that move. I use that innermost lane to go around to Mass Ave. (I know, this sounds like a story problem, no?)
At the first light today, I was three cars back from the front. Patiently waiting, I heard someone laying on the horn like his life depended on it. I looked in my rear view mirror to see a young dude in a little import sedan behind me waving his hands for me to move forward. I had, maybe four feet between me and the car ahead of me. Now, call me old-fashioned, but I come from the school of driving that says, "if you can't see the license plate of the car ahead of you, yer too darn close." Also, I operate within the laws of physics that decree my car can't occupy the same space as the stopped car ahead of me.
The light was red. There was nowhere for us to go. I raised my hands in the great shrug to the anxious driver, to say, "Dude, ain't no place for me to move!"
This was not, apparently, well-received. Dude responded to me with an aggressively shaken middle finger salute. Whatever.
The light turned green, and I followed the other two cars ahead of me into that innermost lane, and again waited for the next light to go green. Aggressive dude pulled up into the straightaway lane next to me, rolled down his window and started to scream at me: "FAT COW! DON'T YOU CARE ABOUT THE PEOPLE BEHIND YOU, FAT COW?!? I HAVE SOMEPLACE I GOTTA GO!"
Nice. I just ignored him. If he doesn't understand basic physics or the rules of the road, nothing I could say to him was going to help.
Then, the light turned green.
And Mr. Hurry Hurry made a serious error in judgment. Let's just say, he failed basic physics. From the straightaway lane, he decided to turn left.
Directly into the side of a very large SUV that was making the left turn around the circle.
Yep, he t-boned that sucker. Big time. And, you see, when you're in a little Japanese sedan and you gun it into the side of an SUV... you lose, babycakes! The SUV may sustain some minor body damage, but your car will look like a vehicular accordion. (Ha -the Honda Accord-ion!) A cab stopped (perhaps as a witness, perhaps sensing an impending fare) and I continued on to work. Usually I stop for accidents I see, but this time, the cabbie could handle witness duties. And I wasn't entirely heartless - before leaving, I took a look over at the poster child for anger management and saw him cursing from his crumpled car. Yes, he had survived to be a jackass another day.
Karma, dude. It's a biyotch. I may be a fat cow, but at least I understand how traffic circles work. And today - for once - karma kicked the correct ass.
Thus endeth the lesson.
Thunderboomers are getting closer - time to shut down for the night!