A Special Place is a new weekly series in which we’ll cover all of the special places in hell and all of the special people who might reside there. This week, we’re covering a very special group of individuals I have failed to understand for a long time and have cursed in my car more times than even God herself, if she exists, could count.
After her husband’s death Sheryl Sandberg, author of Lean In, wrote a beautiful short essay reflecting on his passing. It included a passage I think of often:
“I have learned some practical stuff that matters. Although we now know that Dave died immediately, I didn’t know that in the ambulance. The trip to the hospital was unbearably slow. I still hate every car that did not move to the side, every person who cared more about arriving at their destination a few minutes earlier than making room for us to pass. I have noticed this while driving in many countries and cities. Let’s all move out of the way. Someone’s parent or partner or child might depend on it.”
The first time I read this, my heart broke. As the daughter of a police officer, I was raised that you get out of the way as fast you can for emergency vehicles out of respect for the first responders and the work they do. But I had somehow never really thought about the people inside the ambulance and suddenly all of the animosity I felt towards the idiots who don’t pull over and get out of the way — the ones who are too busy (in their cars?) to notice the emergency vehicles and to take heed at the first inkling of a siren, or are somehow too important to get the fuck out of the way, doubled in that very instance.
Just last month I got stuck on a 5-lane street that runs through the city during rush hour when a firetruck approached from behind. Most of the cars were struggling to get out of the way, myself included but no matter how hard I tried there were a couple of cars next to me who refused to move. Specifically, there was this jerk in the pick up truck next to me still trying to barrel through. As the firetrucks neared, I had no choice but to cut them off and hope for the best. The firetruck passed by us, blaring their sirens and blowing their horn, while the woman in the truck honked angrily at me and screamed out her window. I gestured at the firetruck and hollared, “Are you fucking serious?!” in her direction.
She glared at me and, other than my slight concern that this seemingly unstable woman with severe road rage might also have a gun (because it’s 2018 and, well, anything is possible), I was completely perplexed. Where the fuck was she going in Omaha that she couldn’t bother pulling over? To accept a $10,000,000.00 check from Warren Buffet himself? Did she know what sirens meant and what firetrucks were? Was she okay? As traffic regained movement, I got back into my lane and allowed her to pass me.
As she did, she flipped me the bird and flashed a scowl. And again, I found myself wondering 1) where the fuck she was going and 2) what the fuck was wrong with her.
There just has to be a special place in hell for these people.
Sheryl said it politely, let’s all move it out of the way. I’ll say it a little differently, pull the fuck over and get out of the way. What’s the big deal? You’re not that busy. No one is that important. And quite frankly, if you don’t, you’ll look like a complete douche stick. Even worse though, and most importantly, you could cost someone a life or a loved one.
Don’t be that asshole. Just don’t.