No, it’s much worse than that.
Clover thinks he’s right – believes it, with the religious certainty of a Jesuit. Convincing him that one ought to yield to faster moving traffic is as hopeless an endeavor as trying to get the Pope interested in a lap dance.
Yesterday, I was headed down the mountain when I had a Clover Encounter of the third kind – physical interaction with one of them.
The road – one lane in either direction – eventually dumps out into two lanes in either direction. I’m number three in line, with a Clover at the head of the line. What happens when the road widens to two lanes? You know what happens. The lead Clover refuses to move over to the right. The car that had been behind him is now in the right lane. Clover is pacing him in the left – and I’m stuck behind the rolling roadblock.
Eventually, at last, I get an opening – and jink my car through it and past the Clover – who of course remains in the left lane only now he’s flashing his lights at me and gesticulating angrily. He catches up to me at the light. I can see he is having a Clover conniption fit. So I roll down my window.
Clover does the same and begins to spew like Vesuvius. He is extremely upset that I did not remain placidly behind him, driving at his pace instead of mine. I retort, without spew: Did you see me in your mirror? Why not just move over into the right lane? There are two lanes. The left lane is for faster-moving traffic. I passed you the way I did (on the right) because you left me no option (except to sit behind you and drive at your pace, I thought to myself). The left lane is for passing, I amicably concluded.
My even-toned attempt to enlighten only made him angrier.
A profanity laden effusion about my “speeding” (sigh) followed. Then a paean to his lawful driving – which I (according to him) ought to emulate. He genuinely, fervently, believed he was in the right – and that I am a “reckless/dangerous speeeeeeeeeeeeeeeder.”
The on-wheels equivalents of the people who believe it’s ok to take your things if a plurality vote to do so (and not even necessarily that; a “representative” will do) and to cage – and kill you, if necessary – in the event you resist. The same people who would squeal with delight to know a “tax evader” had been sent to prison.
I do not get them – and they of course do not get me. We are oil and water, night and day. No, more than that. We are ethical antipodes.
All I want is to go my way – and leave Clover, et al, free to go their way.
Clover wants me to go his way.
It’s not sufficient that Clover prefers to drive exactly the speed limit, no faster - and often, considerably slower . . . . Even if he could easily move right - no skin off his nose – he won’t. Because – as he sees it – I’m challenging him somehow by wanting to drive faster than he likes to drive. Or rather – key thing, for Clover – I am challenging authoritah. Clover’s god. His object d’ amour.
There is no hope. No reasoning with Clover. He is Stalin’s chicken. And he wants you to get plucked, too.
Here’s what Clover doesn’t appreciate: Even though I do not like him (mucho) I am not his enemy – in the sense that I am out to get him. I’m not. He has nothing to fear from me. I merely wish to avoid him -to have nothing whatsoever to do with him, in fact.
In the encounter detailed previously, all I wanted was to go on my way – and leave Clover far, far behind. It was Clover who could not abide. It was Clover who rolled up next to me, frothing hate. It was Clover who refused to move over – using his car, deliberately, to try to impose his notion of the “right” speed.
He sees me as aggressive. But he’s the one who commits the actual aggression. My passing him/driving at a higher speed than his speed does not in any way impose my will upon him. His blocking me in does exactly the opposite. And when I manage to escape his Clover clutches, what does he do? Pursues me to the next light so that he can verbally assault me. Probably – had Clover discovered me to be physically smaller/weaker – he would have physically assaulted me. I have no doubt whatsoever he would have orgasmed had a costumed goon been on hand to “teach me a lesson.”
This is what we’re up against, people.
And each year, there are more of them out there. Newly-minted “drivers” who grew up always wearing their helmets for safety, strapped into child seats until their Ritalin-addled, asperbergian iPhoned adolescence. Not all – but many. Probably most of them. Joining the ranks of the eyes-half-shut Boomers now entering their Depends Years. They invented the Safety Cult and its corollary: Submit & Obey. The Boomers like to imagine themselves – or their youthful selves – as hippie rebels who fought The Man, man. Maybe some of them did. But most probably just wanted to smoke dope, fuck and avoid Vietnam. Not that I am against any of those things. I am in fact all for those things. But in the heart of their darkness, their generation ended up snuggling The Man. They became moms (latter-day pejorative sense, as distinct from women who have had children) and suits – and learned to love authoritah. Especially when it was their turn to wield it. The same passion they brought to End the War was brought to bear to end you do your thing – and I’ll do mine.
Cloverism – conformity/obedience/busybodyism – is the norm now.
Guys like me (and maybe you, too) with the WWII-era Bugs Bunny/Woody Woodpecker attitude - authoritah is absurd; and besides, who are these guys? - we’re as out of step as a minstrel show at the White House correspondents’ dinner.
But I’m not giving in, apologizing, or changing.
Much less submitting and obeying.
Look out, Clover. Because here I come!
Throw it in the Woods?