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Shell Shocked: Coming soon to Sanibel: road rage

By Staff | Feb 17, 2016

Los Angeles drivers will tell you that it’s become part of everyday life. They’re used to it by now. Everyone attempts to utter insults that are more creative than anyone else’s.

It’s called road rage. And it may be coming to Sanibel.

Road rage exists when there is an epidemic of bumper to bumper traffic. It exists when you sit behind the wheel of your car waiting to get to an appointment that would normally take a half hour and realize that if you get there in two hours you can consider yourself lucky.

It exists when your impatience barometer is so high that you need to vent. So what difference does it make who’s in the car in front of you? It could be a nun, or a pregnant woman. It doesn’t matter. Road rage is tolerant of anyone who happens to be in your way and within shouting distance.

Fast forward to Sanibel. Periwinkle traffic is at an all time standstill. Tempers are beginning to flair. Impatience, intolerance, belligerence, contentiousness and frustration are now the order of the day. Civility, courtesy and good neighborliness are cavorting somewhere in the back seat.

Motorist one: So’s your old man.

Motorist two: So’s your mother.

Motorist three: Where’d you learn to drive? In slow motion school?

Motorist four: I hate traffic. I hate Mickey Mouse. I hate the world. I hate everything.

Motorist one: Is that a mirage up ahead? Empty lanes?

Motorist two: You’re dreaming pal. You need to get your eyes tested. You’re a danger to yourself and the community.

Motorist two: You need to let me pass. This is an emergency. I need to go to the bathroom.

Motorist three: You call that an emergency? Use your air bag.

And so the traffic stalls and comes to a standstill. Up ahead an egret is oblivious to the traffic and entrenches itself right in the middle of oncoming traffic.

Motorist four: Is this what they call environmental protection? How about protecting the sanity of drivers? Let’s cook that bird for dinner.

Motorist one: Have you no shame, sir? That egret must be protected from the likes of you. That’s why we have laws that protect society against murderers like you.

Motorist three: Oh, yeah?

Motorist four: Oh, yeah.

Traffic moves at a snail’s pace and up ahead the drivers can see the traffic controller directing traffic on and off the causeway.

Motorist one: Where did he learn to control traffic? Driving a herd of cows through the Rockies? He lets us sit here for a half hour, but lets the Lindgren Boulevard crowd move right through.

Motorist two: I think he’s on the take. Did you see that stretch limo just float through the traffic on to the causeway?

Motorist three: I think I’m going to kill him.

Motorist four: I think I’m going to kill you first.

Motorist three: Oh, yeah?

Motorist four: Oh, yeah.

Motorist five: Will you imbeciles stop yelling and screaming at each other? This traffic could have moved at least another three feet while you vented.

All motorists: Oh, yeah?

Finally, these five motorists have moved just a few cars behind the traffic controller. It’s taken them 30-minutes to get from Donax to this point.

Motorist one: Hey, you, Mr. Traffic Controller. Do you call that controlling traffic? I call it de-controlling traffic. If I’m elected president I’m going to fire you and put up a wall.

Traffic controller: Nice to see you again, Mr. Trump. Last time you came my way you threatened to waterboard me. Why don’t you use your helicopter to leave Sanibel?

Motorist one: I say we raise the toll on the causeway to $100. That’ll keep most of the cars off Sanibel.

Traffic controller: Mr. Trump, you raised that with the City Council last time you were here. I believe they escorted you out of the building.

Motorist one: I don’t have the patience for sitting in traffic. In fact, I don’t have the patience for anything. Even when I’m patient I’m impatient.

Motorist two: Will you stop blabbing and move your car? I’ve got to give a speech in Fort Myers in a half hour.

Traffic controller: Oh, it’s you, Governor Bush. Right this way.

And so motorist two was allowed to drive onto the shoulder of Periwinkle and make his way to the causeway. All the other motorists burst blood vessels in their brains. They reached for weapons they each concealed in their cars for just such a moment. They left their cars holding baseball bats, Barbie Dolls, Pampers, putters and walkers and made a made rush for the traffic controller.

-Art Stevens is a long-time columnist for The Islander. His tongue-in-cheek humor is always offered with a smile.