I had just gotten finished with a 9-hour day of shooting. A buddy of mine from Georgia Tech is heading up NeuroLaunch, a start-up accelerator for neuro-based devices and procedures (AKA really cool stuff and really smart people), and asked if I could take pictures of their Investor Demo Day. It was a really fun event because I was pulling double duty as a photographer and networking for the startup accelerator I work for, GCMI. I met a lot of incredible people, saw some mind-blowing future technologies, and managed to not eat anything the entire time. Reminder to self: Pack some power bars on long day shoots.
After it was all said and done, I hopped into my 4Runner and began the drive home. I use the app Waze as my GPS because it’s social media based; therefore I get realtime updates about traffic, which turns into some of the craziest backroad adventures you can possibly imagine. If you haven’t tried it, I highly recommend it - better route management than Google Maps but slightly less accurate with the final destination. This evening, Waze suggested I take an alternate route home from the norm, but hunger and impatience made the decision for me, thus I didn’t listen as I was approaching I-85 South via 400.
I got onto the highway around 6:10PM and after a few hundred yards ran into standstill traffic. Now, I don’t typically wish harm on people, but I was really angry with the person who let their car explode into flames just before the 17th Street Bridge. I do sincerely hope they are okay, but I wanted to go home and eat an entire cow, so I was slewing some choice expletives as I shifted into Park, settled into my seat, and cranked some Big Bad Voodoo Daddy.
During the first 30 minutes of my car-seat lounging, a number of people thought themselves important enough that they could illegally drive the right shoulder whilst the rest of us patient plebeians sat in that sea of tail lights and exhaust fumes. Well, apparently a Cadillac Escalade and myself both got fed up with it at the same moment and decided to straddle the right lane and the shoulder to keep the next set of pricks honest. Shortly thereafter, I saw a Dodge Charger, and a crappy old Civic driving the shoulder. The Charger stopped behind me and began honking his horn and flashing his brights. After 5 straight minutes of this, I gave him the bird to show that he wasn’t going to win. Message received; epilepsy-inducing signals ceased.
Insert Sidenote: I knew I could get away with this because if it were a real emergency, the driver would have gotten out of the car immediately after stopping with a legitimate reason. I’m pretty straight-laced/old-fashioned when it comes to certain things; like waiting your turn and if everyone is stuck, you have just as much of a right to be stuck too. So unless you’re about to die or deliver a baby, you better shut up and suck it up like the rest of us.
After about 3 more minutes of my small victory, I looked into my rearview mirror and saw the driver of the crappy old Civic with his head out of his window, pointing for me to move over into my lane. I started laughing to myself at this moment. Every time I looked in my rearview mirror, Civic guy would point for me to move and yell, “Move over!” This went on for another 10 or so minutes and I just cranked my radio up louder and kept playing Despicable Me: Minion Rush.
Finally, one lane freed up, so traffic starting moving AKA inching again. Without really noticing, I started moving back over into my lane. When there was an inch of clearance available, the Charger drove past. Mr. Civic screamed, “Fuck is wrong with you!?” as he passed me. Now, if Mr. Civic had just driven on by, I wouldn’t have minded, but the cursing just pissed me off. So I continued to sit in traffic, stewing for another 10 minutes before all lanes opened up and normal pace resumed, shining light at the end of the tunnel that represented a full stomach.
As I was approaching the I-75 South and I-85 South merge, I saw the blue lights of a cop car on the grass median. I also saw three other pairs of tail lights.
Hmm.... Could it be?
Charger tail lights and old Civic tail lights. It was indeed, Mr. Rude, Impatient, Finger-Pointing, Cursing, Crappy Civic. I rolled down my passenger window and started to slow down, all the while laughing as maniacally as a Disney villain. By the time I was even with Mr. Pulled Over, looking all dejected with his head on his hand and the window rolled down, I slapped on the biggest shit-eating grin imaginable and called out, “See what you get, Asshole!” I then proceeded to continue laughing and driving on to some wonderful Chicken Curry from Tin Drum, all while rocking out to Fuck You by Cee Lo Green. Perfect shuffle choice there, iPod.
Small victories with the help of Karma. All in all, that was a good day.