One of my pet peeves is people who are too special to follow the rules. You know who you are. You’re the guy in the express lane at the supermarket with 47 items piled in your shopping cart. You can’t read, even though, “8 ITEMS OR LESS,” is in bold red letters on the sign above your head. You can’t count. Or you just don’t care. You’re the gal who pulls up to the Dunkin’ Donuts, and parks in the space three feet from the front door. The only problem is, there are no white lines on the blacktop delineating that area because it’s the travel lane – it’s not a parking space at all. And there’s good reason for that. The parking lot is designed to allow two lanes of travel – one in, and the other out. You have just blocked one of those lanes. But hey, the guy who has a heart attack over his coffee and Munchkins won’t mind a bit if defibrillation is delayed a couple of minutes because your car prevents the ambulance from pulling up in front of the building.
But that’s an extreme example. Most days, there’s no need for an ambulance at the local Dunkin’ Donuts. The only consequence of your disregard for the rules is that the rest of us have to be careful as we jockey around your car so we don’t ram into it, or worse yet, hit someone else’s car as they enter the now, overly-narrow entrance to the parking lot. That’s a small price to pay to spare you the inconvenience of having to park in an actual parking space fifteen feet from the building with the rest of us poor slobs.
And how about those drivers who see the shoulder of the highway as their own personal escape route from traffic jams? When I’m sitting in a miles-long, bumper-to-bumper 5 m.p.h. cluster-crawl on the Garden State Parkway, nothing warms my heart more than to see you whizzing by on the shoulder, happily making good time despite the heavy traffic. For some reason, you’re not affected by the nasty karma that comes with having someone in every other stationary vehicle you bypass look at you and think, “asshole.”
A recent extreme example of the, “I’m special” syndrome is a scam in which people hire disabled tour guides at Disney World. You might think being confined to a wheelchair would be a distinct disadvantage when your job is to guide people through a sprawling amusement park. Quite the contrary. Because these guides are on motorized scooters or wheelchairs, they qualify to use the auxiliary entrances to the rides and attractions, which typically have very short, or no lines at all. And each disabled guide can bring up to six guests through the express line with them, which prompts some families of means (and six or less members), to gladly fork over the $130 per-hour tour-guide fee to avoid interminable lines in the broiling Florida sun.
We should all drive to Disney World, using the shoulder to avoid traffic jams en route, then park wherever we want when we get there. We can hire wheelchair-bound tour guides to get us onto the express lane to every ride in the park. Why not? Let’s all be special together.