Boy, stay away from the blog-creating keyboard for a few days and the readers get restless (you know I'm talking to you, Ray.) I don't want to have a blah-g so I am back at the keyboard, putting my random thoughts and untested theories to the cyber page.
Today's subject: signaling while driving. We seem to have signals for so many movements and situations in driving. Like: I-want-to-cut-in-front-of-you-is-that-okay-with-you? In stopped traffic, this involves pulling right next to the car you want to cut in front of, (sometimes with a bit of your car jutting into their lane so there is no actual need for discussion), getting the attention of the driver and giving questioning looks while pointing repeatedly to the space in front of their car and smiling as though you actually know this driver, until he nods his head expressively, sometimes adding a shrug and the mouth movement shrug. Sometimes you bite your lip as though there is real money on the table. After he lets you in, you give another universal signal, a big wave aimed at the back window to thank him.
There is the head shake, sometimes accompanied by a finger shake when someone tries to take the parking space you're waiting for. There is often verbalization, heard only by you, but it helps, doesn't it? "Nuh uh, you are not taking my parking space. Oh no you don't, you little ____." And we all know the sorts of signals that arise when someone takes that parking space, does not let you merge, or is generally a jerk. That is a well-established gesture we don't need to go into here.
There even seems to be a universal and well-choreographed routine for your-coat/belt/scarf-is-hanging-out-the-door-and-maybe-even-dragging-in-the-sludge. This involves following the driver in question, tooting your horn, pointing energetically at the bottom of their door, acting like a mad stalker, more honking, ignoring their puzzled and annoyed looks, finally deciding they will wish they had listened to you when they get home and see their coat/belt/scarf in its new state of ruin, and driving on your way, irritated as many good Samaritans get.
So, with all of the above signals and more not mentioned here, why don't we have a universal signal for I'm-really-sorry-I-almost-killed-you-fellow-driver? Haven't we all pulled in front of innocent strangers who were in our blind spot? Innocent strangers driving 65 to 80 miles an hour? Haven't we all cut across a lane of traffic we thought was empty only to hear the horn of distress and see the terrified faces in the other car? Turned a city corner just as the ancient woman with the walker entered the crosswalk? Haven't we? Or is it just me? Yikes. I think we need a warm, fuzzy signal that says life is short and I'm truly sorry I almost shortened yours. I am really, really sorry. Forgive me, stranger and accept my universal signal.