by: staff photo,

I hope you realize that if we acted anywhere near as idiotic while we're just out walking around as we do when we're driving, we'd be killing ourselves at an alarming rate.

Let me give you an example.

Every workday of my life I go through this one intersection where, immediately after we get through the traffic signal, we all have to merge into one lane.

And, every workday of my life, all of us civilized, rule-abiding, Golden Rule-following suckers get in the left lane and wait our turn to get through this often-busy intersection.

Also every workday of my life, a few sneaky, cheating, better-than-everybody-else butt-heads speed up to the front of the line in the right lane so they can crowd into this string of cars, therefore beating as many of them as possible to the next intersection.

Now, I want to make this as clear as I can. There are only two conceivable reasons you would zoom over into that other lane.

One, you may want to turn right at the light, which would be logical and appropriate. This is why so many of us stay out of that lane - so somebody wanting to turn right can turn right.

The only other reason to get over there is because you feel it's somehow OK for you to suddenly jump in front of the other dumb boobs patiently waiting their place in line.

I've gone through this particular intersection enough now to know, without a doubt, that there are people out there who do this every day.

Every single day they cut in front of as many cars as possible and don't think a thing about it. I can only presume that they feel entitled, like royalty, or some infinitely superior species (the way the rest of us feel, for instance, about snails or moths).

OK, now that you have that pattern of behavior in your mind, pause with me for a moment to consider, if you will, how that would be received if it occurred while we were all waiting in line at the bank or the grocery store.

If this cheating, cutting, rude entitlement thing were as blatant in line while we're just walking around as it is when we're driving, I'm telling you, at Fred Meyer several people a day would be bludgeoned to death with frozen turkeys.

Similarly, at the bank, there would be repeated stabbings with those countertop pens because the rule-abiding among us would be grabbing the nearest weapon, and that would be the dime-store daggers dangling from the desks by wimpy little chains.

Oh, sure, sometimes this does happen. There are ferret-faced little dorks out there who will almost give themselves heart attacks racing their grocery carts to beat you to the express line. Most of us just feel superior to them, of course, and we roll our eyes and shrug when confronted with the knowledge that, to somebody (anybody), it is somehow desirable to give a giant retail chain a whole bunch of money before all the other nearby slobs wanting to do the same.

But there's no way the uncool, extreme self-centeredness that exists among drivers - a suspiciously high percentage of them in BMWs, by the way - translates to lines of people in restaurants and stores and the like.

Personally, I think it's about the armor. If we could walk around with thousands of pounds of metal between us and everybody else, we'd probably act just as dopey and as creepy as people do when they're driving.

'Kelly, party of four?' I hear as I'm waiting behind the 'Please Wait to Be Seated' sign.

'Yeah!' shouts the guy behind me, wearing an iron coat with a big BMW logo on the left breast. 'I'm Kelly!'

'No he's not,' I tell the confused woman with four menus under her arm. 'He just got here. We've been waiting 15 minutes.'

'Too bad, sucker,' says Armor Man, cutting around our group, almost colliding with the menu lady. 'Let's go. We're hungry.'

But I am ready because I have been waiting a long time for this moment.

'Then have a bite of this, Mr. More Important Than Everybody.'

And I pull out a frozen turkey I keep with me at all times, for just such an occasion. And I start bashing his iron armor with it, knocking the BMW logo off his chest, and I don't stop until he runs from the restaurant crying like a grade-school girl.

'Your table is this way,' says the menu woman with a big smile.

And that is the way things work in my little fantasy world - at least when I'm not in the car, approaching a busy intersection.

Former managing editor of the Lake Oswego Review, Beaverton Valley Times and The Times, serving Tigard, Tualatin and Sherwood, Mikel Kelly handles special sections for Community Newspapers and contributes a regular column.

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