by Nhan Nguyen
The license plate frame on campus reads, "COURTESY MY ASS: THIS IS HOUSTON."
It's interesting how automobiles become extensions of their drivers' repressed personalities. Previously level-headed pedestrians suddenly become demonic, wild-eyed maniacs you swear you saw in Evil Dead the second that key enters the ignition.
The automobile is more
than a mere mechanical contraption to take you from point A to point B. It lets any human, no matter how puny, transform into a frightening, potentially life-stealing juggernaut. The power of tens and hundreds of horses resides just beneath your right foot.
Every day, it's the same. Freeways are not just paved paths of transit, but ribbons of speed.
Drivers full of themselves attack as if there was no tomorrow; helpless cars in the way simply become moving obstacles in a high-speed maze of endless challenges -- like that Lexus commercial with the moving cones, except it's not OK to hit another car and drive off.
How many times have I seen a car trying to exit be continually blocked by some jerk-off who thinks his manhood is being contested?
City streets are no better. Honest, hard-working people suddenly become cut-off artists, blaring their horns and flashing their highbeams. Youngsters (and those who pretend they still are) boom raucous music while a frustrated mother in the next car tries to calm her crying babies. Another driver is dialing in his RPMs to leave smoking black stripes in his wake, while the guy next to him just wanted to get over a couple lanes to park.
Perhaps the worst area to be a pedestrian is in a parking lot. UH lots are a perfect example. Many drivers violate the sanctity of that "Unwritten Code of the Parking Lots," which says a turn signal lets a driver lay claim to a parking spot about to open up on the side the signal indicates. Once-polite and easygoing students angrily spew racist and/or sexist obscenities when the "Code" is broken; steering wheels and dashboards receive merciless beatings as drivers vent their anger.
Whether you are a driver or a pedestrian, you must always be wary of reckless drivers who come barreling around the corner (never mind the "YIELD" painted on the ground), or lurching out of a parking spot. How about the ones who do 25 MPH in reverse to get a spot opening up behind them? Here's the topper: drivers who back out of a spot and crunch into a car behind them, then speed off!
By the way, the license plate frame I mentioned is mine. It's for all those drivers who regularly drive this way. If you want to play Speed Racer, buy a game machine. You can crash as much as you want, and you won't have to spend money on gas.
If you're close enough on my tail to read my license plate frame, get the hell away and go to the local video arcade. What's that? "Video games aren't real," you say? Neither is the way you drive.
Nhan Nguyen is a junior RTV major.