The election is over, and even though The Observer is a fan of political horseracing, let us be the first to say: Good riddance to it. Though the guy we wanted in the Top Office managed to pull out a win — and though Pulaski County once again proved itself to be a blue island in the middle of increasingly red sea, which suits us fine — we're always glad to see our neighborhood polling place receding in the rearview mirror, no matter how all the tabulating turns out. There's just something about elections that puts everybody in a foul mood, The Observer included. Perhaps it's our sense of helplessness, all of us knowing that for once our future has to rely not only on our own wits and good sense, but on The Other Guy's. The Observer's job description requires Yours Truly to be an incorrigible eavesdropper in public places, and we can tell you: In the months leading up to the election, we've overheard a heck of a lot of grumbling voices, with people obsessively hashing and re-hashing and re-re-hashing the thoughts and quirks and motives and hidden biases of politicians who they'll more than likely never meet in person. As a very smart guy once told us: You have to be a little crazy to run for office in the first place, and trying to figure out why crazy people do what they do might be a sign you're crazier than they are.
Whether you believe Good Sense won this go-round depends on which side of the increasingly-high political fence you're on, of course, and the prevailing wind seems to be you're either sure The Zombie Horde has been vanquished, or Beelzebub once again reigns triumphant. Not a lot of air between those two extremes these days, though it would be nice to get back to a country where there was some wiggle room. Maybe even a wide median, where we could plant some flowers.
But, to get back to the original point: Good riddance to ballots and booths and "I voted" stickers. Adios to PACs and Super-PACs and annoying glimpses of Sarah Palin's smirking face and dog-contemplating-arithmetic eyes on the nightly news. We'll love you again on the 'morrow, Madame Politick. For now, though, we're anxious to get on to the next, more pressing debate: pumpkin pie or sweet potato?
While The Observer is normally reticent to use this space for grousing, griping, nitpicking, complaining, kvetching, airing grievances, bitching, moaning or otherwise venting spleen, we're going to make an exception this week, because we've lately noticed a supremely irritating and potentially dangerous trend on the highways — especially on the interstates — of this fine state, and it's one that seems to grow worse by the minute.
Namely, we've found that when we're cruising along in the left lane to pass someone and have allowed for even one freaking millimeter of space between us and the car in front of us, some jackass passes on the right to try insert himself into this space.
Now, The Observer is a friendly, law-abiding sort. We're not one of these concealed carry vigilante types who's just waiting for the opportunity to pull out the gat and start throwing lead every which way. But boy howdy, if you want to get our blood up, just cut in front of us in line. Any line — the movies, post office, DMV, grocery store, wherever. But it rarely ever seems to happen in those places, because most people are courteous and follow the implicit social contract of staying in your place and not cutting. Why the highway is somehow an exception to this rule is beyond us. After all, it's far more dangerous to cut the line when it's all moving at 80 miles an hour than when standing still at the bank, right?
So there it is. No scientific evidence to support our theory that more people are driving like discourteous, impatient idiots, just pure, gut-feeling conviction based on several years of personal experience. Anybody else out there feeling like us on this one?
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