You’ve driven me to this

Welcome to the first-annual “You drive me crazy” awards. These awards were inspired by both local and expressway vehicle operators. Tell them what they’ve won, Bob.

1.) Our first award goes to the reckless, hormone-driven, tire-squealing speed demon. This person literally scares people out of his path, which may be his original intention. To this irresponsible, immature road hog I prescribe a normal, mundane suburban existence, complete with minivan.

2.) To my campus favorite—the driver in front of me who suddenly decides that he has to drop someone off. He pulls over, sans turn signal, and causes me to swerve around him to avoid an ugly collision. How convenient. To this epitome of consideration I present a trip to the body shop, no expenses paid.

3.) Speaking of turn signals, my compliments to drivers who don’t use them. My ESP must not work as well in the car. This especially applies to those conscientious people who switch lanes without signaling, not that there’s any lanes to switch into anymore. But the real winner here is the driver who does signal to switch lanes—without looking. Yes, that blinking light is a guarantee for a spot in an adjacent lane. You win a new pair of blinders, transparent ones.

4.) My favorite expressway driver is the minivan in the left lane doing, oh, 45 mph. “Gee, pumpkin, why is everyone passing us?” The sign doesn’t say “Slow traffic keep right” for your health. Well, maybe it does. To the pokey left-lane drivers, I award you with a very dirty look, and if you’re lucky, a gentle nudge on the shoulder.

5.) Inducted into the Hall of Shame this year is the entire state of Indiana. Yes, you heard right, and I think some of you know why. Indiana conspicuously lacks clear street signs and left-turn arrows (work that intersection). Plus, Indiana drivers are just plain slow. Call me a leadfoot and get out of the way. The whole state of Indiana is presented with the “Hoosier driving teacher?” award.

6.) On a more local level, the next award goes to participants in a cherished tradition: young people who drive around and generously share their music with everyone in a 3-mile radius. (This is a carry-over from DeKalb dwellings where students like to ensure that their neighbors feel included in the 3 a.m. festivities.) I present those of the blaring speakers with hearing aids. Trust me, you’ll need them soon.

7.) A nomination from a friend of mine: the creep who pulls out in front of you, slowing you down from 55 to 30 mph, just to turn onto the next street. Thank you for pulling out—this person has just won the Conscientious Catholic award.

8.) The woman’s award goes to all those truck drivers who feel compelled to honk when a woman passes by. Hey, good buddy, you’ve just earned a previously-viewed copy of “Thelma and Louise.”

9.) I have to take a moment and present a personal award to a special friend, Mr. State Trooper. You have made such a difference in my life, especially when you surprised me in a shiny, silver unmarked car. And here I thought you were up in DeKalb helping deter another theft-by-screwdriver incident. To you, my dear, dear friend, I present my driver’s license. It’s OK—keep it to remember me by.0.) Another nomination from a friend is the guy who sets his cruise control on 45 mph on a two-lane highway, particularly in a no-passing zone. What a courteous fellow; he’s concerned that everyone behind him drives the speed limit for safety’s sake. Give this person time to get to the stage to accept his social security check.1.) Let’s slow down now and take a moment to honor those who cause nonmoving havoc. The first such award goes to the individual who needs two spots to park a compact car. The winner receives a year’s supply of Slim-Fast.2.) The second parking award (not that there’s anyplace to park on campus) goes to the driver who feels the need to park 3″ from my car. It’s OK, I’ll get out through the trunk. My close, close friend, you have just earned my 6″ of personal space and a very ugly dent in your door.

Well, it’s been quite a year. I expect the coming year to prove just as eventful. In the meantime, I offer you a driving tip: Stop signs with white borders are optional.