By Cassie Lowery ’13[audio:https://www.arlingtonian.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/06/Podcast1.mp3|titles=Personality Profiling Podcast]
When I miss the light at a major intersection (like always), I look for something to distract myself. Recently, I’ve taken to the art of discreetly staring at the other commuters, noting the positions in which they like to operate their motor vehicles. My first discovery was that while we’re all taught the classic “10 and 2” steering wheel position, few feel compelled to sit that way without a driver’s ed. teacher in the passenger seat. During my many missed-light observations, I am now convinced that the subject’s personality can be glimpsed in their adaptation of the “proper” way to sit behind the wheel.
Every so often “The Anxious Driver” comes along. They’re the ones who check their watch or clock approximately 15-20 times while stopped and tend to fidget more than someone with both Tourette’s and Restless-Leg Syndrome. It isn’t uncommon for them to be talking to themselves, however they could just be tech savvy with and have cars equipped with cell phone capabilities; the world may never know. Someone as uptight as this while driving can only be the same if not worse in other aspects of their life. I’m sure that at work they’re the anal-retentive bosses that every person working in a cubicle despises.
Another common character is “The Soccer Mom”. She’s the one in the minivan usually hauling around 2-4 kids all between the ages of 1 and 12. While stopped, she uses her multitasking super powers to make a grocery list, check and double check her schedule, and clean off the dashboard, all while attempting to maintain order among the squabbling siblings in the backseats. These are the same women I admire every time I’m at the grocery store, as they prove that it is possible to select the freshest bananas while on the phone with the plumber, and keep a three year old from knocking over the cracker display in his attempt to reach the flavor-blasted Goldfish.
Possibly the most noticeable personality on the roads is “The ‘Fhetto’ Driver”, a term given to those trying their utmost to be ghetto. This driver usually cruises up to the light, windows down, bass booming accompanied by lyrics in which every other word would be censored on the radio. The subject is usually a white male living in the suburbs, so I can only assume they must have some deep confusion as to their place in society. These drivers are the ones who wear their pants dangerously close to the falling point, and have mastered the proper form of waddling so as to keep them from dropping to their ankles.
After testing out several of these different styles of driving (I only lasted a block and a half as a ‘Fhetto’ driver), I have decided that none of them really work for me. As painfully boring as it might be, I seem destined to stick to “10 and 2”, except for days when I’m feeling particularly adventurous, and then I go to more of a “9 and 3”. I have yet to analyze this thoroughly, but can only imagine that my findings will tell me I’m even more dull than I originally thought, which makes me think it might be time for a new hobby.