Dec 6, 2011

The Time of Good Cheer and Competitive Driving

In these first five days of the holiday season, I have experienced so many surprises from my fellow drivers that I have been scared and puzzled by their behavior.  Then I figured out what was going on! I believe a new sport has been announced for next year's Olympics called Most Unexpected Maneuvers on the Road, and half the population is in training.

Events include Sudden Leap From Roadside Parking.  Competitors (do we call them car-letes?) will be judged on the size of the opening in traffic they squeeze into, with the smallest spaces bringing the highest points; the speed at which the traffic is moving (anything over forty miles an hour virtually assures a win); the speed of the contender's vehicle as it jerks into traffic; and, like in figure skating, that nebulous style element.  Style points are usually awarded for the surprise delivered to the driver being cut off and are viewed by the judges on an instant replay camera, trained on the anticipated location of the second car. Facial expressions of the driver such as shock, anger, and especially fear all bring high style points, as does the throwing of items to the floor, particularly food or breakables, the spilling of coffee, etc. caused by the car stopping and the contents not.  If the hapless victim actually hits the steering wheel and inflates the airbag, a perfect ten will most likely be awarded by the Olympic judges.

A second event is the U-Turn in Heavy Traffic. Points are awarded pretty much the same way as the above.  High speed, small space, great surprise are all prized.  Also considered, though, is location. How bold was the location of the U-turn? Mid-block, school zone, entry to the mall parking lot, into oncoming traffic, in a crosswalk, these locations will all garner high scores.  The replay camera will again be used to record the facial expressions of the victims; wide eyes, open mouth, white knuckles, all bring extra points, and an actual scream picked up by the sound equipment may put the contender's score over the top to take the gold.

Another pair of events is the Left Turn From Right Lane and Right Turn From Left Lane.  Car-letes may compete in one or both of these events.  Points will be deducted for the use of a turn signal and added for the number of lanes crossed.  One lane is minimum and I've seen some drivers practicing a turn across up to three lanes.  These should be strong contenders on the US Car-lete team!

There may be a pedestrian event as well.  These competitors will step off the curb into oncoming traffic, usually far from a marked crosswalk.  They will wear dark, hard to see clothes, but will be allowed to add thin shoulder stripes in the colors of their countries' flags.  Absolutely no reflective patches are allowed and this event is anticipated to be scheduled for after dark.   These contenders will be judged on just how close they get to an oncoming car, with extra points awarded for actually making contact with metal. Competitors who roll across the car's hood are sure to garner high points.  Any car carrying traumatized children or the elderly will provide style points for the competitor.

From what I've seen so far this holiday season, the United States is well on its way to forming a strong, competitive Car-lete team for these new events.  So keep that in mind when you get cut off by a car-lete in training. Let's go USA!


  1. LOL - You drivers take your lives in your own hands...

  2. I think there are many Olympic contenders on the streets of San Francisco!

  3. There are! We will be able to root for our local favorites come the Olympics.