ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Weston Ochse is a former intelligence officer and special operations soldier who has engaged enemy combatants, terrorists, narco smugglers, and human traffickers. His personal war stories include performing humanitarian operations over Bangladesh, being deployed to Afghanistan, and a near miss being cannibalized in Papua New Guinea. His fiction and non-fiction has been praised by USA Today, The Atlantic, The New York Post, The Financial Times of London, and Publishers Weekly. The American Library Association labeled him one of the Major Horror Authors of the 21st Century. His work has also won the Bram Stoker Award, been nominated for the Pushcart Prize, and won multiple New Mexico-Arizona Book Awards. A writer of more than 26 books in multiple genres, his military supernatural series SEAL Team 666 has been optioned to be a movie starring Dwayne Johnson. His military sci fi series, which starts with Grunt Life, has been praised for its PTSD-positive depiction of soldiers at peace and at war. Weston likes to be called a chaotic good paladin and challenges anyone to disagree. After all, no one can really stand a goody two-shoes lawful good character. They can be so annoying. It's so much more fun to be chaotic, even when you're striving to save the world. You can argue with him about this and other things online at Living Dangerously or on Facebook at Badasswriter. All content of this blog is copywrited by Weston Ochse.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Driving in the Land of Tra La La

Who do you think you are? They say it takes a village to raise a child, but does it take the universe to raise your ego? A motor vehicle is not a self realization device. You are not alone on this planet. The world doesn’t revolve around you. So stop driving slow in the left lane!

Is it just me, or has driving changed over the past twenty years. There was a day when those who were going slower would drive in the right lane, and those who were driving faster drove in the left lane (reverse if you use the U.K standard). If you were in the right lane and wanted to pass, you’d turn on your blinker to indicate that you were changing lanes, change lanes, pass the slower vehicle, turn on your blinker to indicate once again that you were changing lanes, then return to the right lane. That was how thing were. That’s how I drive most of the time. So what the hell happened?

I readily admit that in big cities this is an unrealistic mode of driving. Many times drivers will shift to the left lane to keep from being behind someone who is turning right. I get that. I do the same thing. It’s an acceptable break from the norm. But if you decide to get in the left lane and go slower than those cars in the right, then there’s a problem. And just for the record, if you are going to turn left, a mile and a half is too soon to get in the left lane. Trust me, you’ll have the chance to get in that lane in the last quarter mile. Just use your blinker, not at the last minute as you always do, but in advance, to prepare those drivers behind you of your desire to turn.

So why do you do it? Knowing that you can’t control very much in your life, is the opportunity to control the vehicle you’re driving too much a temptation to mitigate all the other problems in your life? Does your job suck? Are you in a rut? Does your wife order you about? Do you hate your life? Then get a counselor. Don’t try and solve your own mental ills through driving. I’ve seen you set yourself in the left lane with the selfish wherewithal of a ten year old and drive intentionally slow because it gives you power over all the drivers behind you. We know what you are doing. You aren’t really the All Powerful Oz of Automobiles. We know you are either weak-minded and insecure. We can see your thin little ego behind the curtain. So stop.

What? You say you didn’t notice me behind you? You were just driving tra-la-la down the road and there I was?Then you are oblivious. Clearly you weren’t ever informed that the rearview mirror was not for you to put on your make-up, nor was it there for you to crinkle your brown and pretend to be George Clooney, nor was it placed there by a family-centric engineer to enable you to yell at the kids or your elderly relations you’ve strapped to the backseat. FYI, the mirror was placed there so that you could observe the universe around you and get out of its way if necessary. Which means, if I am clearly going faster than you, get out of the fast lane, and get in the slow lane. It doesn’t make you any worse of a person. It isn’t a blow to your ego. It’s what you are supposed to do and demonstrates that you are a fine citizen of the universe.

If you absolutely, positively feel the need to mollify your ego on my behalf, stay out of the right lane and instead meet me at a stop light. I’m used to you pulling up beside me and pretending that your car is faster. I really don’t mind. I’m used to you in your truck, or sedan, or whatever, slamming the pedal to the floor and inching past me in the 100 meter dash. It’s cool. But just realize that I’ve barely pressed the accelerator on my RX-8, maybe half an inch, and I’m keeping up with you. My car is actually faster than yours, but I don't need to mollify my ego and blow you off the line. Truth be told, I paid more for mine. I pay more in maintenance for mine. And if my car ever breaks, I’ll pay a considerable amount more to replace the engine. After all, I have a rotary engine and you have cylinders. But that’s my problem. If you absolutely must drag race me, then I can accept that. What I can’t accept is that because you hate yourself you try and prop up your ego using me as a kickstand. Please, if you see me, or anyone else for that matter, speeding up in the left lane behind you, it means that either you are going too slow, or we are going faster than you. Pull over and let me pass. If you don’t, it’s either an admission of your total lack of concern for others, your selfishness, and your weak-minded insecurity or your complete obliviousness to the universe around you.

We know what you really are.

You aren’t fooling anyone.

Except yourself.

Nuff said.

Weston Ochse
Desert Grotto
Mexican Border
August 2010



  1. It seems to happen much more since drivers started getting cellphone-shaped growths on their ears.

    And I love it when I'm passing someone and they're like, "Oh noes! You can't pass me!" So they speed up, then slow down again once they're ahead. As I'm passing again, they freak out and speed up again. If they only knew that my cruise control was set and I had no intention of racing, but it sure makes it tough to get back in the right lane.

  2. HA. So true. It's as if when you pass them you make them less of a person. Happens too much and tells us more about their own insecurity than anything else.