I doubt that I'm alone in indulging in the occasional bit of freeway Schadenfreude*.
*On the off chance - it means 'The delight you take in witnessing something bad happen to someone else. The fact that the German people felt the need to coin a term for this specific emotion probably says a lot about them, culturally.**
** I kid, Germany. You know I love you
Case in point, the other day I was merging onto one freeway from a different freeway when I witnessed a driver ahead of me stage an act of open defiance against the Zipper Merge*
*A curiously heated point of contention in American Freeway etiquette. The basic premise is that when merging onto a freeway there is usually a special lane of traffic on the side from which you're entering** which goes for half a mile or so before it tapers off and ceases existing, at which point you're expected to have become part of existing traffic. The question that really gets people worked up is - at what point during that half mile should you get your act together and actually merge into the existing traffic lane. One school of thought is that you should immediately merge into the permanent lane as soon as physically possible, as waiting until the last minute means that you're rude and inconsiderate.
That school of thought is, of course, completely 100% wrong.
The correct school of thought is that you're intended to go all the way up the half mile of side road and then take turns with the existing traffic, alternating from either lane - exactly the way a zipper closes. You can tell that this is the correct school of thought, because THE FREEWAY DEPARTMENT FREAKING FLAT OUT SAID SO. REPEATEDLY. The point being that they made the entire half mile stretch of road because they actually wanted you to use the entire half mile stretch. If they wanted you to only use 50 feet they would only have made that much.
Regardless of that clear and obvious truth however, almost without fail you'll encounter some asshat who feels like it's his personal mission in life to deliberately block other cars from merging into traffic, zipper-style, and the principle that they know best.
**It's called an acceleration lane. This might be considered a clue as to why stopping in the middle of it is just bone-headedly wrong.
So the other day I witnessed a pickup truck go out of his way to run someone off the road rather than let them merge into existing traffic, only to have the exact same thing happen to him when he had to merge into the next lane of traffic a mile or so later.
I immediately thought to myself, 'Hakuna Matata, Asshole', because at some point the details of the Lion King became vague enough in my head that Hakuna Matata sort of means 'Circle of Life' to me, regardless of the fact that it's a totally unrelated song and means nothing of the sort*
*You totally just hummed, 'It means No Worries', didn't you.
Fast forward to the following day, when I observed in the parking ramp a smaller car parked completely centered between two parking spots.*
*More on this vehicle another time, because the story doesn't end there
Upon my return to the parking ramp, I was somewhat pleased to see that the ramp management had left a stern note on their windshield castigating them for parking over the lines and threatening to have them towed if it happened again. No sooner had I begun to bask in my righteous pleasure at seeing them justly struck down than I got to Lucille (My truck) and discovered that I had received the exact same note. On inspection it turned out that I was, indeed, about half a foot over the line on the passenger side (Lucille's a big girl).
Stupid Circle of Life.