The Fiction of Owen Thomas

Dear Miss Tinkles

Dear Miss Tinkles

Fed-Up Commuter

Dear Miss Tinkles:

I’m sick and tired of inconsiderate drivers. No one signals. Everyone honks. The driver in front of me throws trash out the window while the driver behind me rides my bumper. At every stoplight I have to read offensive bumper stickers. Every day I commute two hours to work and two hours back and every day I go to bed with a nuclear migraine from the stress. It is impacting my relationship with my husband and children. Yesterday a man cut me off and gave me the finger. Do you have any suggestions for improving this aspect of my life?  Sincerely, Fed Up Commuter.

Dear Fed Up:

As a West Highland Terrier, prohibited from operating a motor vehicle in all states except California, I am not much of a driver. But I am a commuter. I go for a lot of car rides and I do sympathize with your frustration.  I think you might be too passive. You are allowing yourself to be acted upon by everyone around you. Of course you are fed up. You need to push back a little. Let the inconsiderate road hogs out there know that you are not to be trifled with.

Try this small exercise. The next time you pull up at a stop light, turn to the people in the car next to you and show them all of your teeth. Seriously, as many teeth as you can. Contract the muscles in your nose and mouth back up into your face like you are trying to peel your own skull. When you have the driver’s attention, start scratching at the window as hard and fast as you can. Every so often, pause the scratching to scrape the window with your incisors. Then resume the scratching. Eventually, you will want to work in shrieking and drooling, but don’t push it. You will know when you are ready. I can almost guarantee you that this will earn you some instant respect from your fellow drivers. In fact, I think you will find that when that light turns green again, your car is the only one that moves forward. This, Fed Up, is the roadway courtesy for which you have been searching.

When you have mastered this technique at stoplights, you will then be ready to try it on the move. Since you will definitely need both hands at the window, make sure to practice steering with your knee around a parking lot or through your neighborhood before you take it out onto the freeway. The real pros will use an elbow to really lay into that horn for a little extra flourish. But that will take time and practice. And remember, don’t hesitate to enlist the help of your husband or children; the more windows you can cover, the better!

Happy commuting! Yours, Tink.

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