Drivers Ed

Dear Boston Drivers,

I would not consider myself a particularly amazing driver, but I have taken and passed several driving tests, so I feel confident in saying that when you approach an intersection to make a left hand turn and you are confronted by this sign:

you should not be very surprised when the guy in the lane across from you goes through the light. Moreover, cursing loudly and flipping him off for having the audacity to go straight when he has a green light, might be a rather inappropriate action seeing as you were the one trying to break the law by acting as if you had a green arrow.

Also, when you are on the freeway and the guy in front of you is rudely going only EIGHT miles over the speed limit while you want to go about twenty-five over, riding his bumper for four or five miles before getting over, screaming obscenities and waving a certain finger as you pass, might not really impress anyone much. Particularly when you have a hilariously awful seventies mustache and are driving a bright blue VW Beetle, otherwise known as the least intimidating car ever made.

I mean, I’ve heard about that whole Boston Tea Party incident, so maybe flagrantly flouting the law is just a centuries old Massachusetts tradition. But it doesn’t exactly endear you all to the newcomers (you know, those of us who learned to drive in places where people generally obey the law and don’t get up in your face when you try to drive like a normal person).

I’m just saying, the phrase “New England Hospitality” is not one you hear a lot, is it?

I didn’t think so.

Consider what we’ve talked about. 


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  • Reply Señora H-B April 2, 2010 at 12:05 pm

    OK. I have to say, that is NOT one of the things I miss about driving in Massachusetts. When I left, I was SUCH an aggressive driver. I have calmed down considerably, but that place gave me some serious road rage.

    Oh, and what about those jerks who jump the green light to turn left. You know, when there *is* no green arrow? Grrr….

  • Reply Melanie April 2, 2010 at 12:44 pm

    I think it's funny that any new place you go the drivers are always so much worse than where you were before. A lot of my family now lives in Vegas and they swear that Vegas drivers are the worst (no offense).

    But you're right, New England hospitality (I would extend that to east coast hospitality) will never be something you'll hear as a catch phrase. It simply does not exist.

  • Reply Life of a Doctor's Wife April 2, 2010 at 12:51 pm

    I can't stand aggressive drivers! Makes driving such a nerve-wracking experience. I'd rather be concentrating on not hitting anything than worrying about whether the jerkface behind me is going to smack into my car if I tap my breaks.

  • Reply Jenny April 2, 2010 at 1:38 pm

    [just smiling]

  • Reply Jess April 2, 2010 at 2:57 pm

    The first one AMAZES me. And I lived in Massachusetts for years. YEARS. But being furious that someone went straight through a green light? In Boston, isn't it the other guy's job to floor it in front of the guy going straight on the left turn? And if he fails to do so, why is he mad at the other guy?

  • Reply emandtrev April 2, 2010 at 4:53 pm

    This is great. My favorite line was about the blue Beetle or otherwise "least intimidating car ever made." Good times for a Friday.

  • Reply Shelly April 2, 2010 at 7:01 pm

    Wonderful! I love that they curse YOU out when they're in the wrong.

    And yes, the proper phrase is "SOUTHERN HOSPITALITY" for a reason!

  • Reply *LaUrA* April 2, 2010 at 8:05 pm

    hahaha! love it. I really hope Massachusetts sees the error of its ways after this talk you just had.

    Southern Hospitality…maybe. But the drivers down here have never heard of "slow traffic keep right". They ride in the left lane going 40 miles per hour and will stay there perfectly content for their entire trip. It gets REALLY annoying (especially when they are side by side with a car in the slow lane going the same speed…thus making a blockade…arrrrgh)

    Funny post though…if only the drivers read and obeyed your posts!

  • Reply Jodi April 2, 2010 at 9:36 pm

    I'm so glad you've noticed this as well- FAIL for left hand turning Bostonians. Along with many other things…

  • Reply Packrat April 3, 2010 at 12:18 am

    At least there are signs that say "yield on green". Here there aren't, so we never know if we can turn or not.

    "…the guy in front of you is rudely going only EIGHT miles over the speed limit while you want to go about twenty-five over, riding his bumper for ___ miles" Sounds like Boise area, Washington State, and Utah drivers who come through our area. (Sorry, but it is true.) Hey, there is a reason that corner is posted 45 MPH!

  • Reply Bethany April 3, 2010 at 2:40 am

    HA! I know this all too well, and I've only been here ONE MONTH! First week here, there I was, front in line, my light turns green, and I slowly accelerate. (with my baby in the back seat, mind you.) Suddenly the car across from me jolts out in front to make a LHT, just as you described. I thought, sheesh, psycho lady…what a fluke. NOPE. EVERYONE DOES IT! What the? Thank you for clearing that up, I thought I missed something when I crossed the Massachusetts border.

    Sadly, I didn't see much courtesy in Dallas either. On the freeways there was an accident by the HOUR, causing the worst traffic I have ever seen. Even on a Saturday. At 10am.

    I miss Utah. 😉 😉 (oh the irony!)

  • Reply Peaceful Reader April 3, 2010 at 5:11 am

    So funny! Hmmm, sounds similar to driving in Denver, Colorado and Washington DC-so many road hogs!

  • Reply Tamsen April 3, 2010 at 7:53 pm

    You have no idea how long I've considered blogging about Boston drivers! Very well said my friend. I think I might just send people to your blog and add a letter of my own in addition to yours:)

  • Reply The Harris Family April 3, 2010 at 10:51 pm

    I haven't been on your blog in way too long! I just wanted to mention to you that I read
    There's a Boy in the Girls Bathroom every year to my class. I never get tired of it. I am wondering if you have ever read the book CRASH! It is also one of my favorites that I read every year to my students…if you have not read it yet…You SHOULD! 🙂

  • Reply Jen Robinson April 4, 2010 at 12:33 am

    Oh, I don't miss driving in Boston, Janssen. But your post did make me laugh. Good luck adapting!

  • Reply Carole April 4, 2010 at 3:54 pm

    Melanie: You are right. LV drivers are the worst. Where else do you see tire marks on EVERY road barrier? Does everyone here drive drunk, all the time?? It's a scary thought. Also, if we get a drip of rain, the freeway is clogged with major accidents. It's pathetic.

  • Reply kristen April 5, 2010 at 2:34 am

    hehe welcome to boston. this is exactly the kind of thing that makes me miss the west coast every day.

  • Reply Brad April 5, 2010 at 5:24 am

    "otherwise known as the least intimidating car ever made…"

    Our neighbor has a kiwi green VW beetle. I've been trying to figure out what it is about the car that makes me cringe. I think your description just gave me exactly what I needed.

  • Reply Mad Hadder April 6, 2010 at 12:39 pm

    Do you know if Elizabeth McCracken is a UT library school alum?

  • Reply Operation Pink Herring April 12, 2010 at 2:19 am

    Yup, welcome to the East Coast! If you take a road trip down to NJ and drive around there for a bit, Boston might seem downright friendly.

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