"...watch the road, bob."

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well, i'm playing a bit of catch up, so i'm going to split entries i previously planned to write as one. here's the story about the guy in the black audi tt (well...an audi sports coupe...it looked like a tt to me, but i don't know the audi line) that almost ruined both of our mornings...

just around 9am on thursday may 14th, i was headed to work. i was on the 59 northbound access road at shepherd waiting on the light. i was in my pickup. in front of me was some older ford suv or something, and in front of that was a nice, shiny, new black audi tt. if you're not familiar with this stretch of road, two lanes go through the light, but after only maybe 50 yards or so the right lane gently curves to the right and stays at surface level for neighborhood road access while the left lane dropped down into the sunken part of 59 and turns into a long merging lane. some people will get in the right lane and then merge left in order to cut ahead of the line of people in line to get onto 59. this didn't happen this time.

the light turned green and we all took off. as soon as the merge lane went to stripes, the suv merged to the left. this is pretty common, as most people know the merge lane ends -- although it's probably at least a quarter or half a mile so it's not urgent. personally, i tend to accelerate rather quickly and drive 5 to 10+ miles over the speed limit. the audi tt stayed in the merge lane, which becomes the far right lane of 59. as i was catching the audi rather quickly, i got over one lane. the suv had moved over several lanes, and was going slower or something, so i don't even know where they were. in the next lane or two over from me and ahead of me was slower moving traffic.

now, at this point i should point out that i am very well-versed at playing road games. i know how to cut people off, to tailgate to not let people in, to block a car with other cars, and to force a car behind me by gunning it to be ahead of them when a merge lane ends. a lot of other people play these games as well. sometimes i win, sometimes i don't. however, in this instance i was not playing any road games. the audi was going slower than me, and at the speeds we were going i would have passed him and he would have been several car lengths behind me (without touching his brakes) when he needed to get over. i did not race him, or cut him off.

that said, a couple of seconds after the merge point i looked in my rearview mirror. there was no black audi. i started turning my head to the left to see if he'd jumped multiple lanes to the left to get around traffic, when out of my peripheral vision i saw something moving to my right. in the (full-width) shoulder. he'd gunned it and was flying past me in the shoulder. recall this is a sunken road, so the edge of the shoulder is a concrete wall maybe 18 to 20 feet high.

i have no idea why he decided to do this. i don't know if he decided to start racing me after i passed him and he trapped himself, or if he was lost in thought about how awesome he was...i mean, his car was and missed the merge, or if he was pissed that some loud old pickup passed him in his shiny audi sports car so he'd show them, or a combination of all those. but something evidently happened with him after he passed into my blind spot. now back to the story...

he flew past me in the shoulder, and then i guess he planned on making a dramatic swerve in front of me to cut me off and show me he was in charge here. unfortunately, the beat-up chevy van ahead of me in the next lane over had decided to move into my lane. and why shouldn't they? the lane was open and it was the far-right lane. dutifully turning on their blinker, they were beginning to pull into the lane when the dick in the audi started his rapid whipping motion at twice the speed out of the shoulder and into my lane. both of them noticed the other and jerked their wheels away. the chevy went back into his lane, and the audi stayed somewhat in the shoulder while slowing some. as this was happening, i was putting on my brakes some to avoid hitting either one of them. i was also both dismayed and laughing a bit about his execution of his brilliant plan. once he felt the chevy wasn't coming over, he quickly swerved back into my lane in front of me. then he hit his brakes.

that is an assh0le move. no if's, and's, or but's. if you get in front of someone and slam on your brakes, you are an assh0le. if they've just done something horrible to you...you're still an assh0le. that's just the way it works. and if you do it in front of an old vehicle with all drum brakes, then you're a stupid assh0le. if you're in a really expensive car and do this, you're a really stupid assh0le. this is the category our audi driver falls into.

now, at this point i should point out something i noticed. this car had a paper dealer logo tag on it. not metal plates, not dealer metal plates, not temporary tags like you get after someone buys a car -- it had a colorful dealer logo. so this was either someone on a test drive or an employee of the company. either way, this pushes them into the really really stupid assh0le category. personally, i'm betting it was a salesman or office management for the company.

fearing that instead of doing the nice trick of slamming on the brakes to slow down a lot and then punching the accelerator, he might keep on his brakes -- which would put me about 8 feet into his car -- i decided i needed to avoid the guy. i jerked my wheel to the right and went into the shoulder. which was good, because he hit the brakes enough that i was quickly beside him even though we were both moving.

now, at this point in the story it's also important to point out that in addition to having all drum brakes, i also have old steering components. thus: no power steering, and fair bit of play in the wheel. and i am now in the shoulder, between a 20 foot concrete wall and an expensive, black audi tt. and not much breathing room.

oh yeah, did i mention i also have circa-1965 style suspension? and that ford i-beam for a smooth ride?

seeing as i was careening toward a concrete wall, i tried to steer some away from it. the sloppy steering meant it took some turning before the steering "caught". at this point, i had some angular momentum on the steering wheel. so that jerked my pickup to the left some, and at the speed i was going that tilted my chassis on the suspension. now i was careening toward a black audi. i turned my steering wheel to the right...after some turning, my steering "caught" and my chassis jerked the other way. now i was headed back toward the wall again. at this point i decided i should take my foot away from the gas and the brake and just sort of let my pickup stabilize on its own -- instead of me over-correcting myself into a nice barrel roll...or a concrete wall...or a black audi tt...or all of the above.

in addition to probably crapping himself, the audi driver had also come to almost a complete stop as i shot all over the road beside and then somewhat in front of him. as i coasted into his lane in front of him and then continued driving, i looked back into the rearview mirror to see him looking at me with shock and disgust and throwing both hands up in the air as if to say "huuhhh! what the FSCK, man!?" i could see at this point he was an older white male (50's probably, greying hair), wearing a nice/expensive-looking blue or blue and white dress shirt with white cuffs (probably french cuffs). i smiled (after remembering to breathe again) and continued driving.

from that point on, he stayed well behind me. even putting a car and a truck inbetween us. i slowed way down as i got over to take 288 south, but he never got up beside me. as i was in the right turn, i could finally see him going straight on 59 in my rearview mirror. i put my hand out the window and waved goodbye real big to him.

thus ends my story.

oh, and remember the dealer tag? i looked up audi dealers in houston, and there is a momentum audi dealer nearby. however, their dealer tags are red and white, and this one was not. i wish i knew for sure who it was, because i'd seriously consider dropping by or calling. i *think* it was a demontrond tag, but i don't know for sure. it doesn't appear demontrond is an audi dealer though. iirc, it was a blue tag...royal blue to cornflower blue, with either black text in white boxes or white text with black edges, written at lower 2/3 down and to the right instead of centered.


"dignan, i don't expect you to be as depressed as i am but i don't think...watch the road, bob...but i don't think that your happiness is quite appropriate." --anthony, bottle rocket

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This sounds like it took several minutes to transpire, but probably happened rather quickly.
Glad no one was hurt and no one's vehicle damaged. Glad you both were OK, just a little worse for wear!

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