Why is it that there seems to be a higher percentage of Car Privilege syndrome in Los Angeles? Why is it that there are SO MANY people in L.A. that think their expensive car will cause others to bow down and acquiesce to their demands to right of way, or increased speed, or whatever it is they’re acting like jackasses for?
I had a run-in with a couple of girls with a bad case of Car Privilege Syndrome – or CPS – today. I was coming down 3rd just past Fairfax, in the left of the two lanes, when a Saab with a couple of late-teenage girls (in full designer sunglasses and high end mall outfits) tried to come out of the Whole Foods parking lot, cut across the right lane, and cut me off all the way over in the left. No doubt they were trying to cut across both lanes of 3rd and into the left turn for the Grove. I wasn’t amused, and refused to move. They inched forward, clearly conveying that they would hit me if I didn’t get out of their (illegal) way. I inched forward, to convey that they needed to make the legitimate right turn, loop the block, and get into the Grove through normal traffic channels, because their threats would not scare me into getting out of their way. After all, MY car is already scratched up – and a Saturn is more dent resistant than a Saab.
I am often the girl who lets people into traffic, in the hopes of Good Traffic Karma – that it will mean someone lets me in when I’m trying to make a left turn. But this sheer attitude annoyed me enough that I wasn’t going to be helpful or nice. The driver – a dead ringer for an Olsen twin – started shaking her Blackberry at me, rolled down her window, and started yelling something. Probably “I’m going to call my Daddy!” But all I caught was “you need to back the f–k up” before traffic started moving again. Unfortunately, the girls then decided to tail me.
I tried to escape the vengeful Twinkies by changing lanes in front of the Palazzo. But by then, they wanted another shot at insulting me. So they cut off another car to get right behind me, and then proceeded to bring Daddy’s car within six inches of my rear bumper. And I hate deliberate tailing. If I can’t see your hood in my rearview, you’re being a jackass.
Now, we all know the reason you don’t tail people is because they might slam on the brakes suddenly. This is why they tell you to always drive “the count of two” behind someone. Which is why I stopped suddenly when I realized the girls were trying to tail me to threaten me. Again, my car is made of dent-resistant plastic It already has a scratched rear bumper from when I used it for stupid college pranks (long story). So a hit from a Saab at a low speed won’t bother me, or my car. But it sure gets the message through to someone who is deliberately trying to intimidate me with their vehicle.
Of course, they hit me when I stopped. Not hard, not even hard enough to put another scratch on my Saturn. Just hard enough that they got the point – tailing is a bad idea. I’m not older with more insurance, just older with a less vulnerable car. But to avoid any further unpleasantness, I pulled off into the Palazzo driveway. They passed me, yelling and flipping the finger. And that was it. Unless I get a call from their daddies, I can only hope that I don’t run into them again.
It was an extreme reaction, to get so angry, and to cause any sort of accident, no matter how inconsequential. But few things make me angrier than Car Privilege Syndrome. One jackass last week actually tailed me because I insisted at stopping at all the stop signs in a school zone on Gregory in Beverly Hills! Your money, and your expensive car, does not give you the right to try to intimidate me on the road with it. Nothing gives you the right to be an uncourteous driver, and act as if you have more right of way due to your material wealth. If you’re going to be unsafe in traffic in order to threaten me, I’m going to be equally unsafe, call your bluff and let you hit my car, instead of getting out of your way like you want. And that will screw up your paint job much more than it will mine.