The light in front of you turns green, the car in the next lane screeches as it shoots forward and the driver behind you lays on the horn impatiently.
What is their problem? Can’t these people wait two seconds to drive without turning into complete jerks?
In all honesty, one of those drivers was probably me.
If you’ve ever seen a driver nearly cause a 10-car pileup trying to make a left on Mission Street when it’s not their turn, there’s a good chance that was me, as well.
I’m not alone.
Most of us are familiar with the stereotype that people from small towns have trouble driving in cities or populated areas, but how much truth does that school of thought actually carry?
Let me put it this way: Coming from a town in which my graduating class was 33 people, the most traffic I have ever had to deal with before college was the 20 or so cars that made up the Sunday rush of church-goers in my town.
What can I say? Trying to beat hordes of elderlies for a table in the one and only diner in town can develop some nasty driving habits.
My point here is that at least a small portion of students in Mount Pleasant come from towns like mine, where the closest city environment is sometimes more than an hour’s drive away.
These people might not seem like a significant part of the population now, but what about when you’re sharing the road with them?
Do me a favor. Close your eyes and imagine the first time you pulled out into heavy traffic, or had to sit in traffic when you were running late.
Did it go well? Did you know what you were doing or exactly how to handle it?
How many of your parents were shouting at you from the passenger seat, their hands gripping the dashboard in fear?
To some drivers, college is the first place those experiences have to be tackled. To others, Mission Street alone is a new and formidable foe that needs time and practice to be conquered.
When you’re used to making it across town in five minutes flat, navigating Mission Street can lead to numerous symptoms of road rage.
Impatience, swearing, frustration, crude hand gestures and general confusion are to be expected from those who are out of their element.
And many of you reading this can’t tell me you’ve never released the occasional expletive on a particularly busy day in Mount Pleasant.
So the next time the girl in the 2002 teal Pontiac shoots you a dirty look, please don’t judge her. She’s just missing the single flashing yellow light back home. And she didn’t really mean it.