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SUV Drivers: Kill 'Em All

Blast San Francisco Bureau

Commuting on Highway 101 I have a recurring vision of myself, a 30-year-old woman who tries to avoid killing ants and spiders, smashing the windshields of random cars or trucks with a baseball bat. Like TV darling Ally McBeal, who is haunted by a dancing baby, a symbol of her ticking biological clock, I am taunted by this bat - a symbol of my deep-seated anger toward bad drivers, cell phones and SUVs.

To curb this destructive urge I have tried Yoga. It didn't work. So I spend my days fighting this impulse.

And I do not think I am alone. Many people want to smash things and hurt people when they drive nowadays. In the words of pop psychologists everywhere, an increasing number of drivers feel a lack of power and control in their personal lives so they compensate by terrorizing strangers on the road.

I guess this is why the 1990s will be remembered as an era of road rage.

Some people, like me, are probably provokers rather than terrorists. After being followed to work last year by two menacing rednecks, I stopped flashing my middle finger at tailgaters for good. It's enough to get you shot and left in a Dumpster these days. Now, I stick my tongue out at people who piss me off, mutter obscenities and talk to myself as my crazy father used to do (Go get 'em wagonwheels! he'd yell at some passerby, as he creeped along at 40 miles per hour in the fast lane) I also (gasp) like to eat in my car, a fact that may lead to my premature death with a cinnamon bagel crammed down my throat.

But I digress from the plague of the bat and my visions.

On the road, an anger-provoking beast I have grown to despise the most is the gas-gulping sport utility vehicle (SUV), a yuppie, hey-Biff alternative to the cookie-baking soccer mom's minivan. Other than the road hogging 18-wheeler, the obnoxiously named SUV is the new terrorizing tank of the highway, growing in size and popularity with every new model.

Phone in hand, golden retriever panting nearby, scores of SUV-driving louts straddle two lanes at once, often cluelessly weaving the road, gesticulating wildly, blabbing into a cell phone. Safe in their steel $35,000 cages, they are not above inadvertently pinning a family of eight creeping along in a tiny Datsun to a Jersey barrier. As emergency vehicles cart bloodied bodies away, the driver hums a Hootie and the Blowfish tune on his CD player, ass warmed by a heated seat. "I didn't see that little car, officer. I was too busy sealing the deal with a client!"

As for the cell phone, I secretly hope some university researcher discovers a link between these smarmy devices and infertility - if only to stop the breeding that leads to future SUV drivers. I was behind this Lexus driving exec the other night who was chatting away on his cell phone. As dusk approached, he drove on, oblivious, without his lights on, weaving madly as petrified drivers tried to deftly avoid his destructive path. Then he hung up, snapped on his lights and went blowing by me on the left doing about 100 miles per hour.

The vision came back. I could not stop it. I want my bat, damn it. I want to smash now!!!! I am following him, holding down my middle finger. Call my psychologist!!!!