If there's one subject about which parents can be hypocrites, it's the operation of motor vehicles. We've already learned that some parents have a list of special rules (that they made up themselves) regarding drive-thru lines, but did you know that special rules apply to parents in other car-related areas of life? For instance, I have an entire folder of examples that pertain exclusively to parking drama. Did you know that some people drive huge automobiles that take up an enormous amount of space? Did you also know that some people are shitty at parking and can't stay within the lines no matter how much (or how little) they try? Lastly, did you know that kids are now required to sit in massive, frequently-recalled, expensive car seats, and getting kids in and out of cars can be tricky? Due to these laws, many people size up their cars, which -- shockingly -- contributes to all of the poor parking jobs and small-parking-space drama, creating a nightmarish concrete hellscape in which everyone gets increasingly pissed off UNLESS they're driving a much smaller car OR they make the apparently difficult decision to park farther away by choice, which 90% of Americans choose not to do. Hence, parents of small kids have a harder time navigating the intricacies of parking, because they neither care to wrestle their children out of their carseats, nor do they wish to park farther than 10 feet from any establishment's front door. Life, man. It's ROUGH.
Parents have an especially volatile relationship to driving, because aside from being rushed and stressed doing all the things parents have to do to keep their kids alive and thriving, they're riddled with worries and lacking in sleep. They're paranoid about their children being injured AND they're driving on a sleep-deprived hair trigger. They're also fully convinced they're the most important people on the road, and they've got the tiny passengers to prove it. Pretty much anything can set off a parent on the road -- people cutting them off, tailgating, stopping short, etc. -- but unlike regular folks who internally tell other drivers to go fuck themselves and move on with their lives, parents take to social media to let out all their anger because their baby might have, hypothetically, been hurt. I'm not saying pissed off drivers who aren't traveling with children don't ever go on social media to moan about getting cut off on the highway, but usually when they do it, it's to let off some steam. When parents do it, it's because they're protecting the world's children (or at least, their children) and the stakes are just that much higher.
Road rage parents are looking for other angry mama and papa bears to come roaring alongside them over some stupid bullshit that most people would agree isn't worth the time or energy to get worked up over in the first place. And yet, when it comes to their own driving, they let themselves off the hook. If a parent is in a hurry, it's for a GOOD REASON. If a dad needs to drive "dangerously" to buy his son a discontinued Elmo doll, don't front. If a mother cuts you off, it could be because she's hurrying to a preschool graduation, or the grocery store is closing soon and her child is in desperate need of fish sticks. You can't possibly know! The rule of thumb should always be to assume that parents are carrying precious cargo, so everyone else should understand if a parent drives erratically OR scolds another driver for driving erratically. When you're transporting future leaders, aka your children, the rules get a little bendy. Y'all know what I mean.
This is all to say that in the hierarchy of driver importance, parents are always going to be The Most Important Ones in their own minds, much like BMW drivers are always going to be the biggest douchebags on the road (#sorrynotsorry), and people who drive large trucks will always come close to mowing down the cars that are half their size just for fun. It's the basic order of things. So if parents see young people driving poorly or speeding irresponsibly, they'll do whatever they can to shame them, but when it's their own child breaking the law, the rules can change instantly in their favor.
C'mon, give this mom a break! She's just letting her 13-year-old illegally drive her car in a parking lot, is it really that big of a deal? Answer: Probably not, but how would this mom feel if she was driving with her kid in the car and passed a 13-year-old behind the wheel? Would her attitude change?
Let's check out some examples of parents whose road rage has gotten the better of them -- assuming, of course, they don't act this self-righteous and hostile all the time, which is probably not something any of us should assume. A few of the parents in today's column sound CRAY. Let's put this thing in drive and get to know 'em.
1. Road Rage From Inside Your Home
Does it count as road rage if your rage is directed at people on the road from the comfort of your own living room? I think it does, because what Holly is oh-so-comically suggesting is that she'll use a BB gun to shoot out the tires of loud, moving motorcycles whose drivers would then crash their bikes and possibly cause an even larger accident and get severely hurt. Super funny stuff! As much as I'm not a fan of motorcycles myself, this is the kind of thing I really wish parents wouldn't post on Facebook because it's so unnecessarily hostile and subjectively superior. What exactly does "consideration" even mean in this context? Motorcycles are loud pretty much all the time, no? That's why so many people hate them. And yet, only a select few joke about putting motorcyclists out of commission on Facebook after giving their pals a "friendly" warning. Sorry, Holly, but it sounds like you should just get over it.
2. Irradical Behavior
Okay, then, Denise! Something tells me you're not in the proper frame of mind for me to explain that "irradical" isn't a word, unless you're on Urban Dictionary, which defines it as "Something that is not very cool or radical; something that is lame is irradical; the opposite of radical." But I'm guessing what you meant to say was "erratic," just before calling out the "blonde bitch" whose "@$$" you'd like to "beat into the pavement." How about just telling your son that erratic drivers are everywhere, and dealing with people who aren't paying attention just comes with the responsibility of driving? Oprah would call this a teachable moment. I don't think teachable moments are supposed to be punctuated with threats of extreme violence, but hey what do I know?
3. West Virginia Backwoods Hoodrat
OUCH, Bethany, looks like you've run into the consequences of complaining about other drivers while driving yourself and posting on Facebook. Don't no one got time for that shit in 2016. People genuinely fear (more) for their lives on the road now, and it's not because of people who tailgate; it's because of idiots who text and drive. Even the worst drivers among us will be vocally critical of texting and driving, because it's not safe, it contributes to major collisions, and it's simply not worth it. Newsflash: Nobody cares about your experience with a single tailgater unless your story turns into that inexplicable Urban Legend about a man hiding in the backseat with a butcher knife. If you just narrowly escaped death-by-backseat-butcher-knife, please, by all means, let the world know. Otherwise, stop distracting yourself with hatred for a random stranger who won't get off your ass. We've all dealt with tailgaters, and having a baby in the car just means you should be more inclined to pull over and let the person pass. It's not an invitation to whine to all your friends about how extra-special you are.
4. Grade AAA Asshole
Ah, who doesn't love a dad who calls himself psychotic as a term of endearment? There's nothing like a fired up, aggressive dad who sees himself as a full-time bodyguard for his daughter to get me cheering in the stands! This guy Michael sounds downright heroic. He's paid LOTS of money to AAA over the years, only to be rudely instructed of some policy by a bitch who deserves to have her small intestines made into shoe laces. Did that call center cunt not recognize that it was Michael's DAUGHTER who blew out a tire on 2nd avenue? Was she somehow "unaware" that this was MICHAEL'S fucking daughter who needed help, and not just a random Joe Schmuck? She's lucky that Michael didn't follow the tow truck to the car repair shop and then immediately figure out a way to hunt her down in her stupid, pathetic job where she gets paid to tell protective fathers what their plans do and do not afford them!! Does this bitch not realize that Michael plays by MICHAEL'S rules, and that if his daughter -- who may or may not be covered by AAA herself -- ever needs assistance again, she will get it, and she will get it PROMPTLY? I hope this bitch knows who she was talking to. You don't mess with a protective dad who happens to be crazy enough to slip into your bedroom window and cut your throat while you sleep. Everybody knows that.
5. For Some Reason, Gina Never Got An Apology
"So either way I fucking win" is a lower back tattoo that I plan to get as soon as I file this column. But aside from that stroke of genius, Gina here sounds like she's completely and totally INSANE. I wonder what being "very cautious" in Gina's world means if she's prone to getting out of her car, screaming in strangers' faces, banging on their car, kicking their doors, and punching their windows? Is that like...some kind of cautious behavior practiced in the dystopian future? Because my version of being very cautious would probably be to slow down, change lanes, and possibly pull off on the first exit that has a sign for Waffle House. You know what I love doing when I'm feeling cautious with a 17.5 month old in the car? Braking for hashbrowns, smothered and covered, and maybe a waffle or two. When I'm NOT feeling "very cautious," I might -- maybe -- yell an incessant string of obscenities at another driver with my windows up. I live right on the edge. But I guess Gina and I exist on two entirely different planes of reality, because what she's describing actually sounds frightening and abusive. The idea of her calling the state trooper to complain about these other people just confirms that Gina thinks she's the Most Important Driver on the road simply for having a 17.5 month old baby in the car (emphasis on the .5, because Gina's baby's life is precious and we must be accurate about these things when it's a life or death matter.) Thanks for proving my point about parents with road rage, Gina. I'll be sure to stay out of your way moving forward.