GUEST STAR! Chris J: It's the little things

Every day I go to work down the Spout Run Parkway, down the GW Parkway, and loop up to 395. It's usually here that my mood for the day is set.

Now, I may have found the one place in the D.C. area where drivers are actually nice and helpful. When merging onto the GW Parkway, by and large, people have let me in, or at least haven't tailgated me all the way to the Jefferson Memorial for aggressively inserting myself into the flow. But it's where the Parkway meets I-395 that things get ugly. If I take too much time in the morning psyching myself up for another foray into the cesspool, I'll have to get in line about a half-mile from the on-ramp. Drivers who neglected to get in line like everyone else sometimes like to cruise up on our left at roughly eight times our speed, screech their tires, and forcibly insert themselves--usually right in front of me. The best way to describe it is traffic rape. I've even had one guy pass everyone on the left ON THE FREAKING RAMP.

Now, I drive a short Jeep. I can pretty much merge without a problem. And I always give the "thank you" wave. I learned it from my Dad--right arm up, two quick side-snaps, and your gratitude for a nice gesture is articulated. I even give the thank you wave when their generosity is questioned, such as when I make a snap decision had to be made and I may very well have cut someone off. (You have to be careful with this one because it can come off as condescending).

I don't expect points or a gold star or a medal for this, it's just common courtesy. But see, that bites me in the ass every time. D.C. people know as much common courtesy as they do Pashtu.

It's one thing to be cut off in traffic--my favorite is when they needlessly thrust their cars in front of me, then slow down--needlessly. But on the fairly common occasion when I slow down and wave someone in, what really gets me is the lack of a thank you wave. I'll inconvenience people behind me so that someone in front and to the left or right can ease in.

And I'll get no wave.

It's a little thing, but you feel like a sucker when you do it. Especially when it's some hottie in a little Mazda. Like this morning. It's like she's saying "Thanks, ass."

So, just give the thank you wave. I'm just saying.

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