Road Rage

Tis the season! Every Christmas, in this time of joy, peace, and goodwill toward men, we also all get on the roads together in mass numbers to honk, scream, and piss each other off in a last-minute effort to buy gifts to make others happy.

I was out-and-about yesterday in all that, and it got me thinking about the every day driving pet peeves that get exacerbated with a large amount of cars on the roads. So, I took mine, prioritized them, expounded, and came up with this list. Maybe you have others. I’ve probably not thought of something because it hasn’t happened to me recently.

This is my top ten.

10) Wrong way in parking lots – Many parking lots have one-way lanes. Stores don’t try to be tricky about this, either. The direction of travel is denoted by large arrows, and, to the astute, by all the parking spaces slanting in one direction. Still, many drivers just don’t get the concept, leading to near slow-speed head-on collisions as cars try to avoid each other in a cramped lane.
I actually got into an argument with a guy about this once. It was early on a Sunday morning and the parking lot was empty, so I thought it obvious that the driver coming toward me in the wrong direction would move across the empty parking spaces into the proper lane. He didn’t, and circled around to yell at me as I got out of my car for not moving over enough. When I pointed out the direction of travel, he screamed that it didn’t matter and that I should have moved over. I apologized, saying that I didn’t realize he was royalty and got to do whatever he wanted while the rest of us had to follow rules and move out of his way, so I’m not sure why he was still mad when he drove off.

9) Halogen headlights – Yes, I realize how wonderful these things are for the person driving the car. However, if you’re driving toward, or, even worse, in front of a car with these headlights, they’re a nightmare. I’ve pulled over before and let a halogen head-lit car go past me so I could stop squinting at night.

8) Crotch rockets – I like motorcycles, really. I wouldn’t mind having one. That said, there’s something distinctly disconcerting about driving down the interstate, seeing nothing in your rearview, then suddenly hearing a buzzing noise one second before a motorcycle rocks your vehicle passing at 150 mph. There’s a reason state troopers call those guys “organ donors.”

7) Turn-lane zombies– So, traffic’s backed up, and the car in front of you starts to move into the turn lane.  Thirty seconds later, half the car is in the lane. By the time it’s finally putt-putted over and out of the way, you and everyone behind you has missed the green light.

6) Blind parkers – Seriously, it shouldn’t be that hard for anyone with a driver’s license to put a vehicle between two lines, but it really is for some people. On the line, over the line, diagonally…I guess as long as the car’s stopped without hitting something, they consider it a successful park.
An adjunct to this would be the guy with the massive diesel duelie who squeezes it into a space with five inches’ room on either side. Just park out farther and walk, man.

5) Failure to signal – There’s nothing like missing an opportunity to turn out into traffic because the car coming toward you doesn’t indicate that it’s turning onto the road you’re trying to turn from. Or almost getting hit because someone turning left in an intersection doesn’t understand that not signaling is telling you that they’re travelling straight.

4) Not driving a consistent speed – I really don’t care how fast other cars want to travel, just as long as they keep a consistent speed. I hate having on my cruise control but repeatedly passing the same car. There are subgroups to this category:
Competitive obliviots – I almost made “obliviot” its own category, with obliviot meaning a driver oblivious to the fact that there are other cars on the road; however,  it encompasses too many behaviors. In this case, the competitive obliviots are those who don’t realize how fast they’re going, or even how fast they want to go, until you pass them, at which point they floor it and pass you, or turn into a blindspot ninja.
Blindspot ninja – The competitive obliviot who speeds up but doesn’t pass, preferring instead to hide in your blind spot. So you’re driving along, need to switch lanes, and suddenly there’s the car you thought you’d passed miles ago, forcing you to contend with it.

3) Tailgating – I live off a road with a 30 mph speed limit. Everyone knows the limit, it’s clearly posted, and cops patrol the road frequently, so it shouldn’t come as a shock when people drive 30 mph. Still, there are always drivers that come roaring up and ride far less than a car length behind others. I’ve had cars so close to me that I can’t even see the front of the car in my rearview. There’s no call for it, on that road or any other. Stupid. Just stupid.

2) Rubberneckers – It’s human nature to gawk at tragedy; however, it can be controlled. Wrecks back up traffic in large part because of people staring and driving slowly past. Keep your eyes on the moving lane of traffic and off the wreck…it’s really that simple.

1) Obliviots gunning lights – This is the most infuriating thing. You’re behind a slow-speed obliviot, who has nowhere to go and all day to get there, when the light ahead turns yellow. Naturally, the obliviot, not knowing anyone else is on the road,  floors it and runs the yellow or red light, leaving you stuck at it. You both could have gone had the obliviot been travelling the proper speed, but now you’re trapped at the light as you watch the obliviot drive away.

photo credit: <a href=”″>Post Hurricane Sandy Traffic</a> via <a href=””>photopin</a&gt; <a href=””>(license)</a&gt;


Jesus Antennas

I attend a fairly large church, upon which my wife and I decided based mainly for its scripture-centered focus. So, the actual format of the service is secondary to the message, which is good, because I’m distracted every Sunday during the music.

The music is “contemporary”, which means that it’s like a rock concert  – electric guitars, keyboard, bass, and drum set – with a band consisting of male hipsters “straight outta’ Starbucks”, plus one token female on accompanying vocals, all wearing the requisite “non-churchy” apparel. (Would Jesus wear skinny jeans? It’s not a particularly theological question, but it crosses my mind every service.) (The answer is, “It doesn’t matter.”)

The band has about six songs that they rotate from Sunday to Sunday, all of which sound like variations on Coldplay’s “Fix You.” The words are displayed on giant screens on either side of the stage; however, once you’ve figured out which song it is, you don’t really need to look at the lyrics since you sang them two weeks ago. I find myself looking around at people with their hands raised during the music, which I’ve come to call “Jesus antennas.” I’m utterly fascinated by this.

That I can tell, there are five varieties:

– Single antenna – One arm, usually the right, held straight aloft with the hand open

– Rabbit-ears  – Both arms aloft, which could either be seen as two singles, or calling a touchdown, depending upon how badly you’re anticipating the football game that afternoon

– Bob-and-wave – Single antenna, but waved back and forth in time with the music, in conjunction with bobbing the knees to the beat

Orans posture – I knew I had seen this one somewhere. Elbows to the side, with the arms extended upward and outward, palms usually inward. At first glance, I thought it looked like an Eastern prayer position, like there should be incense rising up between the hands, but, upon investigation, it appears to be of very Christian origin, which frankly makes more sense.

– The “Rose” – Arms straight out to the side, usually with the back arched  slightly, chest out, as if the music is washing over them, or they’re in a high wind à la the character Rose from Titanic (“I’m flying, Jack!”). Practitioners of the “Rose” often like to stand in the aisle, probably because they’re worried about getting tangled up with some bob-and-wavers and taking them all down.

I’m obviously having some fun with this, but please don’t interpret that as me belittling or demeaning the practice. I  believe that it’s a genuine expression of worship, and I don’t think that people doing it are trying to be ostentatious or showy. The raised hands captivate me because I’m generally more reserved in public, especially in church, and wouldn’t conceive of doing it myself.

I can’t help but wonder where this originated. I don’t remember it from my childhood, when I attended a similar church with a less “contemporary” service, which made me wonder if that’s not part of it. I’ve noticed that the lone female singer has no instrument to hold, and so has nothing to do with her hands other than hold them up. I understand this, because I’d be a complete Ricky Bobby in that position, and so I pondered initially if maybe it started because people simply imitate those on stage who aren’t sure what to do with their hands.

That’s too simplistic, however, and it’s more likely that those on stage and in the congregation are raising their hands for the same reasons. Several sources point toward the “Charismatic Movement,” an adoption of Pentecostal-type practices that has been slowly infusing itself into both Protestant and Catholic churches for decades. The movement is traced back to Pastor David Bennett of St. Mark’s Episcopal Church, Van Nuys, CA, who told his congregation that he had received the Baptism of the Holy Spirit on Easter Sunday, 1960, and changed the church’s style of worship accordingly. From there, it caught on to other churches and denominations and began spreading. By the 1990’s, networks of independent charismatic churches existed. The charismatic churches mostly favor the raised hands and more exuberant worship style of Pentecostal churches while omitting the speaking in tongues.

This is not to say that raising hands in worship is not biblically-based. There are numerous verses in the Bible that advocate the use of hands in different applications of worship – primarily in supplication to and in the blessing of God (incomplete list here). Most are in the Old Testament; however, there are references in the New Testament as well, so the practice continued through the intertestamental period into the time of the early Christians. Paul mentions it specifically in 1 Timothy 2:8, “I desire then that in every place the men should pray, lifting holy hands without anger or quarreling” (ESV).

Interestingly, I found it noted in several sources that the hand position most familiar to Christians – hands folded or clasped together – is not mentioned in the Bible. Origin theories for it include it being an ancient Jewish custom, the Roman indication of surrender, and a medieval sign of submission, any or all of which could have transferred into what we know today.

So, while it may not be something that everyone does, it appears that those who raise their hands up in worship are actually more correct that not. Which is not to say that everyone should start…regardless of how one worships, the expression should be genuine. If that’s with your hands up during the music, then so be it. My hands will probably be in the pockets of my relaxed fit khakis.


Raising hands:

Charismatic Movement:

Folded Hands:


photo credit: <a href=”″>Hands</a&gt; via <a href=””>photopin</a&gt; <a href=””>(license)</a&gt;