Two Roads Merged in New England

My daily commute to work is always a bit of an interesting experience and often a lesson in human behavior, as I’m sure it is for just about anyone who needs to take to the highways to reach their place of employment.  There is one spot in particular that tends to draw the greatest opportunity for analysis of my fellow rat-racers.

I travel up an in-state route that ends near Hartford before merging into Interstate 84 where I then go on my merry way to work.  Near the end of that route, there are several off-ramps and the one most people are seeking is the 2nd from the left to go to Interstate 84, just like me.  The far left lane is for people seeking to go right into downtown Hartford.

Well, that I-84 lane tends to back up with more people than the other lanes.  So guess what happens?  You can see this coming right?  People will swoop into that far left lane with next-to-zero traffic and then at the last minute, re-merge into the I-84 lane, effectively bypassing the line.

My friends, I can assure you that the level of obscene gestures, steering wheel pounding and horn blaring that occurs is quite the visual treat.  People completely lose their minds when that lone maverick comes flying into that lane at the last second instead of dutifully waiting in line with the rest of us.  And in the interest of full disclosure, I too have been one of those “AWWW COME ON!” yellers who have been cut in front of.  It’s a natural reaction.

This morning when one of the maverick mergers jumped the line the umpteenth time, it made me think a little bit.  What pray tell?  Why, I’m ever-so-glad you asked!  OK, you didn’t really and I basically forced you to ask by reading that, but it’s my damn blog, skippy.  Pipe down.

First, I really don’t understand why the 2 minutes of saved commute time to so incredibly important to the maverick mergers.  Honestly.  You truly don’t get anywhere that much faster anyway and you’ve just succeeded in pissing off a whole trail of strangers for no good reason.Traffic Jam

Second, the level of reaction that people give to these maverick mergers (and again, I have been guilty of this before for sure) is also pretty puzzling when you get right down to it.  While someone may have broken some great unwritten rule about properly waiting your turn, is the level of aggravation and stress hormones subsequently pumping through your veins worth it?  I mean, your commute was probably slowed by what?  10 seconds?  And then you start off your morning completely bent out of shape for some goober you’ve never met and really has no impact on your life except for his wanton disregard of the highway line merge “rules”.

For me, the moral of the story is that on both sides of this unhappy tale, there’s a lot of needless stress and agita.  My goal going forward is to care a little bit less about someone cutting me off at the last second to merge after not waiting in line.  Buddy, if you need to get going into work in that much of a rush, be my guest.

Me?  I’m just going to enjoy my quiet drive, watch the commuting humanity and hope for the occasional blog post inspiration.  Heck, where do you think this one came from?

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