Thursday, May 29, 2008

Lead Dog Syndrome

On my daily commute, I see the "usual suspects" and the usual - once foreign, now common-place - behaviors. Cell phone conversations that slow the driver ahead of you to a crawl; women putting on make-up (the mascara in the rear view mirror always annoys me for some reason); men balancing a newspaper with their coffee cup as they drive; my husband's all-time favorite: teens texting as they drive... And the most recent behavior I've witnessed, I've decided to christen "Lead-Dog Syndrome." I've had huskies for most of my adult life. Huskies are outstanding sled dogs, and from what I'm told about mushers, they know a good lead dog when they see it. That's the dog who always wants to be in front. Always. No matter where the dog is in the formation, the one who ends up being "lead dog" is the one who is bound and determined to make its way to the front and stay there. Today, on the way in to work, I saw the most aggressive exhibition of that syndrome. Mind you, on one of the routes I take, it is an interstate highway, though the part near my home is a 2-lane road. It's narrow. There's a big old valley on one side, and a forest preserve on the other side. And very low guard rails. And no where to go if some idiot is driving like his or her shorts are on fire. Anyway, this person (I didn't catch the gender because of the movement of the vehicle) was in one of those small cross-over autos. And the driver was zipping in and out between us - no signal of course, because that might have been courteous or (gasp!) safe. The driver actually didn't get very far because he or she was only getting ahead one car at a time, and this 2-lane highway does have stop lights on it. What causes this? What is the point? Are you really getting that far ahead? Do you know how absolutely annoying your behavior is? And shouldn't you get a safer hobby - like, say, maybe fire-eating? Traffic on this road in particular is very congested for a number of reasons: increase population; route change because of construction; high volume of large trucks. This driver didn't give a hang. He or she was GOING TO BE IN FRONT if it killed him (or her) - or anyone else in front of that vehicle. I would suggest to those who absolutely insist on being in first do one of a couple of things: get up wayyyyyyyyyyy earlier than the rest of us so you have the road to yourself; find alternate routes that nobody but the geese are using; or, my personal favorite: deal with the fact that if you do want to get to the head of the line, sign up for the Iditarod. I hear there's plenty of space on that trail.

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