We spend a great deal of time talking about what's wrong with driving, cataloging the ways it infuriates us.
Driving "pet peeves" are a fixture on the Internet and the supply of transgressions is regularly replenished. For instance, a month ago autotrader.ca released the results of a survey of 1,500 Canadian motorists who were asked to rank their driving vexations.
The list was predictably hypocritical. Thirty per cent of respondents ranked texting and talking as their top annoyance, while 15 per cent confessed to doing just that. Twenty-five per cent hated speeding despite the fact that 10 per cent of those who despise it, admit to doing it. In terms of road rage, New Brunswick won the top spot with a whopping 61 per cent of drivers from that province admitting to losing their cool while behind the wheel. The rest of the country wasn't far behind.
Out on the prairie, 51 per cent go ballistic
Forty-eight per cent of Ontarian drivers admit to road rage
In British Columbia, 43 per cent blow their tops
In Quebec (a province where last winter a man brandished a chain saw in a road rage incident), only 30 per cent admit to anger
Which proves that New Brunswickers are the most honest people in Confederation and Quebec really is different.
It left me wondering: Where's the love? Driving once embodied the North American dream – freedom of movement, freedom to go where you wish, to pull up stakes, load up your Chevy and start anew in some undiscovered town. Is it really as bad as our pet peeves make out? I'm as negative as they come, yet even I feel as if we're not getting the whole story.
In the name of positivity, I present my driving "pet likes." You may not agree but they're mine and, if there's one thing I've learned in this new millennium, it's that you can't criticize someone for trying. Well, actually, that's all anybody does any more but I'm not going to let it kill my enthusiasm.
Smoking while driving
Smoking is wrong and dangerous but whenever I see someone cruising along with the window down enjoying a cigarette, I feel a shameful admiration. This is daredevil behaviour (even Evel Knievel, I believe, was a non-smoker) and since these smokers are in a car, I don't get their sad back story – how they started as a teenager and really want to quit, blah, blah, blah. It remains a wonderful existential moment. They should make cigarettes you can only smoke while driving and call them "Sartres."
Someone who's just driving
If I see a driver who has both hands on the wheel and is looking forward, paying attention to the road – not texting, not yelling into some earpiece I can't see, not reading a book or watching television – I feel a surge of appreciation.
Cars that are parked in remote locations where the occupants are obviously having some form of sexual congress
I'd honk to show solidarity but I don't want to disturb them.
Desperate or unintentionally vulgar personalized license plates
There's something refreshing about seeing a car and realizing that the owner was last in line for his personalized plate and had to really apply the imagination. You know, "MyKoorvet" or "MibabisFeeyat."
Inappropriate music choices
If you're rocking Vince Guaraldi's Charlie Brown Christmas in July, you're my hero.
Plethora of parking pay-and-display slips
There's no better way to tell the world "I'm losing it" than by leaving a dozen or so of those annoying parking slips crowding the dashboard. It's also a great way to make parking officers who have to sort through them earn their money.
Convertibles are proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy.
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