Let's move backwards to go forwards. My favorite NY driving story dates back to 2001 when my friend Nathan and I spent a winter day walking and gawking in New York City. We drove to New Jersey from State College and then caught a bus into the city. We made no attempt to drive right into the heart of crazy, aggressive city driving; although I do love me some road rage.... Most of the day was spent walking the streets and waiting in line to view Ground Zero. Those somber moments looking at the naked earth in the middle of a metropolis were soon evened out with one of the funniest moments of my life. It's one of those stories that I can think of and bust out laughing. I hope I can describe it without you feeling like, well, guess you had to be there.
As I recollect, Nathan and I were standing and waiting to cross the street. There was significant traffic and a bus was making a turn, probably getting in the way of several cars trying to do the same thing. Horns were honking, middle fingers were flying and windows were being rolled down to scream excellent expletives at each other. Anger turned into a stand-off between one guy in his little car against the bus. And we all know that bus drivers (like truck drivers) feel some sort of strange ownership of the road, just because they spend all day and night using it. The bus driver opened his door, was leaning out of it and ripping into the car driver.
All while this is happening, Nathan and I are standing there like two country bumkins... staring and I know I was feeling genuine glee over getting to witness true NYC road rage. It was awesome. Everyone else on the street couldn't have cared less, not paying attention at all, but we were enraptured and starting to giggle.
When would it end? Who would move? Turns out the guy in the car had the magic words. While they had already called each other every m-fing, sh%t-tastic name they could think of - the final straw was when the car driver said, "Just drive your F*^&ing bus." Sheepishly, the bus driver crawled back into his vehicle and moved on. I guess stating the obvious was the way to go. Shame the man back to his public transportation.
Drive your f*#king bus. Yep. Nathan and I were laughing hysterically, clearly a bunch of idiots from smaller towns. That to me, will always be the epitome of NY driving.
And moving forward, Buffalo is not a comparison to NYC, but I see the same adventurous spirit on the roads AND a lot more favors. People really do obey the "no blocking side streets" law and almost always let me out in front of them. I see little old men weave across four lanes of backed-up traffic to turn the wrong way into a parking lot across a major road. And I really appreciate that it is illegal to be on your cell phone while driving. Call me an nerd if you want... but it makes most people drive like assholes.
The only place that I feel true fear driving is the parking lot of Ayla's preschool. Pick-up and drop-off time is mayhem. No one (really NO ONE) uses the yellow lines as guidelines for parking. It's just a free for all and most days, I have to honk to stop someone from backing into me. Craziness.
Short from parents forgetting how to drive with their preschoolers in the car - NY state has some pretty sweet driving. While I love my Pittsburgh, I don't miss the unexplainable "tunnel effect" that causes everyone to slow to 12 miles an hour when they see the sign saying, "Don't slow down before tunnel".