Philly Charm (Not So Much)

Yesterday my friend and I were driving on the Baltimore Pike to Clifton Heights (to go to a formal dress shop so I could try on bridesmaid’s dresses for my sister’s upcoming wedding). At one point along the way, I didn’t get in the long line of cars in the right lane and I quickly realized that the left lane was only for turning left, which I didn’t want to do. But I also didn’t want to sail on up to the front of the line of cars though as if I was just trying to cut to the front, so I stopped and tried to get in where I was.

Of course, the one car behind us started honking. And the people to our right appeared to have no intention of letting us in. I know I could have given up and just gone on and turned left and gone around the block, but I wasn’t really familiar with the area and it really seemed unnecessary if someone would just let me in. So my friend called out the window to the driver next to us and asked if she would let us in. Now, really, I think it was pretty clear I wasn’t trying to cut the whole line or I wouldn’t be trying to get in at the end of the line, but in spite of this the woman turned with anger and said, “No way, you’re not getting in here. Try someone else.”


Comebacks went through both of our heads, but neither of us actually said anything out loud. We just sat there with our mouths agape. And then the light turned and I made it obvious that I was going to get in that lane, so I inched over and the car behind the angry woman reluctantly allowed me to get in.

I can’t say this experience improved my impression of Philly drivers.

3 Comments so far

  1. Kate (unregistered) on May 13th, 2007 @ 3:15 pm

    Actually, I don’t think that it sounds like it was perfectly obvious to all of the other drivers that you and your friend were not trying to cut in. A lot of those people probably frequently and even daily drive on that road and are accustomed to people trying to cut in. Nothing makes people more angry than someone who is unwilling to wait in line and tries to “cheat the system” that everyone else follows. Was it warranted in your situation? Probably not. But when people repeatedly see others trying to cut in, it is aggravating and they are not going to give you the benefit of the doubt. Perhaps that’s not “charming,” but it is hardly surprising, and really, not all that terrible of them.

  2. Tamara (unregistered) on May 13th, 2007 @ 10:14 pm

    Kate, you’re probably right that it wasn’t “perfectly” obvious. I mean, it was perfectly obvious to me as the driver. And I thought that by not going to the front of the line and trying to cut in that it would be clear I’d just made a mistake and was trying to get back in where I was, but you’re probably right that it’s a daily aggravation and the other driver didn’t appreciate me trying to cut in… Still, I wish people’s attitude wasn’t immediately one of such an unforgiving assumption that they’re being cheated or taken advantage of!

  3. Jeff (unregistered) on May 13th, 2007 @ 11:00 pm

    Its Philadelphia… what else is there to say?
    One of the only places that you can get stuck in unneeded traffic at 11 PM on a Sunday night on a 4 lane highway

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