Only in the South do we direct traffic from behind a steering wheel.
I spent the first couple of days this week in Chicago for work. It was fun but exhausting. Long days and nights, lots of logistics to manage and sort through all while racing against the clock. We were all over the place from downtown Chicago up to Wheeling which meant lots of time in the car. Luckily I wasn’t driving but it was stressful just to ride! Chicago, like all big cities has a lot of traffic all of which is bumper to bumper with honking horns, huge potholes and last minute jerks into traffic to avoid a collision. I have ridden and driven in similar circumstances but somehow this seemed intense. Maybe it was the sheer amount of driving we did in 48 hours.
Anyway, I flew home Wednesday morning into quiet little Knoxville and I wasn’t back on Southern soil for 20 minutes before I had my first ‘Southern’ traffic experience. Except rather than honking horns, near misses and curse words, these involved people directing traffic from behind a steering wheel.
It all began when a lady driving a minivan waived me to cross a major street when she clearly had the right of way. I mean, she could have KEPT driving. The second such incident was mere minutes later when a man in a beat up truck stopped as he pulled in the convenience store to wave me across when I had the stop sign and he did not.
It just struck me after 2 days in Chicago, how odd and distinctly Southern, all this stopping and waving is. Don’t get me wrong, It’s sweet and all and I am used to it and likely guilty of similar behavior but it still leaves me scratching my head. Why do Southern people wave people to cross, etc. while they are driving?
Do they know where I am going?
Do they realize that they might get hit from behind?
Do they not KNOW that there are norms established for how one is supposed to drive?!
Didn’t their Mamas teach them it’s rude to tell people what to do?
My favorite is when someone waves me to go and then looks at me like I am the idiot…THEY are the ones who stopped and played Police Man, not me! Don’t give me that look! If any of this sounds familiar to your style of driving, I suggest you keep it below the Mason Dixon, otherwise somebody might get hurt.
Isn’t it refreshing to get back to the south after spending time above the M/D line? Always made me feel so blessed to call Alabama home.