I drive home on Santa Monica Blvd. I come to a fork in the road. I can take the 101 to Silverlake Blvd, which is not a shorter route, but certainly faster if the traffic is moving. Or I can stay on Santa Monica to Sunset Blvd. It’s the same really, slower traffic, but reliably steady.
When I get to the on-ramp, I can’t tell if traffic is backed up. So, if certain conditions are right, I will get into the turn lane and when I get up there to turn, I can peek at the traffic. If it’s stopped up, I’ll simply merge back into the traffic on Santa Monica. I only do this if the traffic allows me to, of course. Occasionally though there’ll be someone behind me. They will honk, ride my ass. I’m unclear why. A horn really is an inadequate communication device. That doesn’t stop people from using them, after all, the government mandates that every driver possess one.
But let’s look at it: If I get on the freeway when it’s all jammed up, I’m just taking up space in front of them that they’d prefer to occupy. And if I turn off and stay on Santa Monica, I’m out of their way. Why is my attempt to not sit in traffic with them a problem?
Or is the problem that I have a choice? I don’t have to get on the freeway, and unless it presents an attractive alternative then I will stay on the current path. The schmuck behind me has only the freeway ahead of him and if I turn off, I mock them. Can I just say, if you’re the one behind me who is irritated at my momentary delay, I’m sorry you must get on the 101 South at 6:10 PM on a weekday. I feel for you. I really do.