Tuesday, June 23, 2009

A Brief Treatise on the Gaper Block

I spend a lot of time in traffic. A LOT of time. I repeat. Very much time spent in traffic. And one thing that annoys me to no end is the most common form of traffic jam – the Gaper Block. Aka, the Rubbernecker. I've written about it before, and I'm sure I'll write about it again.

I’m sure you know it well, in all its varied and equally maddening forms. Its essence – at the true heart of any Gaper Block, and writhing in its deepest, darkest soul , and that which gives it life – is a bunch of stupid assholes slowing down to stare at another asshole or bunch of assholes who have somehow managed to collide into one another, and are now parked on the side of the road.

Maybe it’s raining and the roads are slick. “Oops. I’m an asshole and I don’t know how to use my brakes so I slammed into your bumper.” Maybe someone’s drunk. “Shit dude. I had like 15 beers, and I accidentally drove off the road into a ditch, after sideswiping a minivan and two Passats.”

Whatever the case may be, and whatever the spectacle, people feel the need to slow down to see what’s going on. The general public is completely helpless against this phenomenon. It’s a fact of life. It’s unavoidable.

Taking this into account, I’ve finally decided to go with the flow, instead of screaming at the top of my lungs to no one in particular when I encounter one of these jams.

Often times, the slow down is due to something really fucking stupid – like someone changing a tire, or some jerkoff who being pulled over for speeding. Big deal. I wish people wouldn’t waste their time – and mine – by slowing down for that kind of scene.

My only defense against the intense, undying rage I feel while stuck in one of these Rubberneckers is to try to view the situation as if through the eyes of an outside observer. In other words, to imagine myself above the scene, floating over the terrible traffic – and imagine that I wasn’t so fucking pissed off about missing “So You Think You Can Dance” because of this goddamn 2-hour traffic jam.

And you know what? It kinda works.

When I finally make it to the source of the actual jam, I take a good long look – just like everyone else. I slow to a crawl, and allow my eyes to gorge upon the twisted metal, the carnage, the stupid asshole with the road flare who’s trying to change a tire. And what I’ve found recently, is that often times the scene is worth slowing down for.

“Wow, how the hell did that tractor trailer make it over the barrier and up into those trees?”

“Oh man, why is that smashed up car on the back of the flatbed completely covered in mud?”

“Heavens to Betsy. I can feel the heat of that engine fire from here! And how did that hippo get into the middle of the road?!? What a mess!”

The point is, if you’re given lemonade, make lemon ice pops. They’re incredibly refreshing and delicious, after all. And don’t despair if you find yourself mired in a hopelessly miserable traffic jam. It’s like waiting in line for the greatest ride at Disney World, or for the best hamburger you’ve ever tasted. When you finally get there, savor the scene. And don’t forget to pull your new iPhone out so you can capture some sweet video footage.

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The Mill said...

That makes zero sense - except the sense that English is not your first language.

In any case, I hope you avoid traffic jams, as that is what my post was about.

I hope you have a great Presidents' Day.