The theory of going slow

June/2006: Arts of Vengeance - With my girlfriend in town, I've found that I've "gotten" to do a lot more driving than normal because we go out and actually DO things. It's amazing. Yet, perhaps more amazing, are just how bad most people are at driving. Or if not terrible at it, really really angry about having to do it. People are running red lights more than I've ever seen, speeding like madmen, being rude with their horn, etc, etc. Now, all of this should make me mad and hate driving, but no, for I have found the cure-all psychological relief for those driving blues.

I call it the theory of going slow.

Let's call it a typical day lately. I'm driving along to some destination (Perhaps the Brody Theater or Kennedy School!) and behind me honks a car. You see, I took less than two seconds to fully speed up when the red light turned green. So he honked at me without adhering to the "three second rule" on the car in front of you gassing. What's the answer? Get angry? Flip him off? No, no, the answer is...

Go slow.

I have perfected this technique to win every road battle I've decided to take on. The idiot behind you honks, the speed limit is 40... go 20. Then if he tries to get around you and uses his turn signal, stay in front of him by changing lanes as well. Or, even better, find someone who is going slow in the slow lane and box the rude idiot in. Recently on the freeway, I'm going the speed limit, a salty 55 miles an hour, when a car behind me passes me in the emergency lane for no good damn reason. He then gets stuck behind someone going even slower than 55. Seeing my opportunity, I sped up, changed lanes and got in front of him. Vvvvvzzoooommmccccllloonnnggg... I slow down to about 35 miles an hour.

He then tries to get around me to go in the other lane. I get into the other lane faster and maintain my pace, managing to box him in between me and the other slow driver. This guy is livid and eventually gets boxed in by another driver who got behind me. So I sped off.

Another story from the theory of "going slow" was in a Burger King parking lot recently. We're sitting there, getting ready to order when some half-pint tiny jackass in a little suped-up Honda honks randomly. I gave the guy the benefit of the doubt, figured he hit the horn wrongly. I complete my order, go up to the window. we haven't yet received our food when I hear, again, honk honk. That teared it. Got my food and decided that yes, it's time to practice the theory of going slow once again.

I inched the car. I'd move up an inch, he'd move up an inch. I'd sit there breaked. Then when his face got angry enough, I'd move again, just an inch, raising his blonde-boy hopes that I'm leaving. But I'm not leaving! Oh no, time to break again. Now he's angry so he honks yet again. This time, I honk back. And move an inch. Eventually after doing this five times over a near five minute span, he gets so pissed off that he starts screaming almost incoherently, puts his car into park and jumps out to try to come up and pick a fistfight. Then, my friends, and only then, is when you bust out the middle finger and a choice name-call.

Most people deal with these idiots and let themselves get frustrated, get angry, yell back. Answering road rage with road rage only let's the initiator have his victory. If you answer road rage with road malaise, then you have really gotten to the idiot. Someone thinks you're going slow and wants to pass you? Go slower and block him in. Someone wants you to cross a crosswalk faster? Walk slower. Everyone needs to learn to go slow. Go mellow, relax and let the person behind you get so angry that they go home and hopefully, shoot themselves in the head. Because really, that would make society much better.

It'll work for other things too. Like that idiot that taps his foot waiting for you to finish something, say, copying at Kinkos or cheesing up the Nachos at 7/11. That guy is an asshole, and he's in too much of a hurry. So go slow. And don't forget the most important part of this theory, make sure your victim knows you're doing it on purpose. It works at work, it works at school, it works on the road, it works in business. Slow should be your new fast.