One of Sean's roles in our relationship is official chauffeur. Whenever we are going somewhere together, he drives. I really don't care for driving overall, and I care even less for driving in Los Angeles. Even after five years living here, getting on the freeways makes my heart pound, and there really are a lot of crazy drivers in L.A. Really. A. Lot.
Today, Sean was driving us to his mother's house and it got me thinking about different driving styles in different areas of the country. I grew up in Minnesota, where everyone is very polite about everything, including driving. They come to a full and complete stop at every stop sign. They use their blinkers for every turn and every lane change, even when no one else is around. They let you in if you need to change lanes. They use the passing lane for passing only, not for driving in. And they leave at least one car length between them and the car in front of them. Very polite.
Sean, is a typical Los Angeles driver. He is a defensive driver, if you think of defensive in terms of a football player trying to tackle someone. He cuts in and out of lanes, signaling only when he's going to cut someone off. He drives way too fast. He rolls through stop signs. And he tailgates, really, really close. I always tell him, being a passenger when he's driving is an aerobic work out. My heart rate shoots up into my target zone for a sustained period of time, my muscles contract and relax repeatedly, especially in my right leg, which is slamming on an imaginary break. He will tell you, honestly, that he doesn't get into accidents, so he's a safe driver. I concur he doesn't get into accidents, but I think he's a lucky driver more than a safe one.
I used to be a Minnesota driver, very polite and very safe. After living in Los Angeles, I can say if I were to drive in Minnesota today, people would think I was a crazy driver (they would think it, not say it, because it's not polite to say it). But, I'm not Los Angeles crazy. I signal, most of the time, when there are other cars around, unless I'm in a turn lane or making a right turn, because then it's pretty obvious what I'm doing. I stop at all stop signs, briefly, but I stop. I drive over the speed limit, but not much. I still leave a car's length between me and the car in front of me, too many crazies out there cutting in and out, unless I'm in heavy traffic, then I follow close so I don't lose my spot.
**Note: I really don't like the nickname Jessie, but it worked well for the post title.