I Brake for Blogs

Everyone’s seen the bumper stickers on other people’s cars that read “I Brake for Turtles,” or “I Brake for Yard Sales,” or “I Brake for No Reason.” Braking is an important part of driving! That’s why they’ve got all those random lights that go off when you do it, to flash to the world, “Hey, I’m going to be disrupting the flow of traffic.” But I think I need a bumper sticker that says, “I Brake for Nothing.”

I hate braking. When I’m driving, I like to hit that comfortable “five over” speed limit and keep the speed until the next task, like turning or stopping at traffic lights. But bitches are always braking along the way, tapping those brakes for anything at all, like if they see a fly or if there’s a car anywhere in the road in front of them or if there’s a member of an alien race in the road–the stupidest reasons! The worst is when you’ve hit a good stride on the highway, and the person in front of you wants to slow down, so they brake; if we’re talking about grinding gears, that grinds my gears. Just let off the gas! Your car has to slow down eventually–it’s called friction, yo! You don’t have to be so dramatic about slowing down those 3 mph that you need to be holding down the brakes!

In any case, I have a lot of opinions on braking. I would like to give a seminar on how to properly utilize one’s brakes. The do’s and don’t’s of the left pedal. How to not make enemies on the road. Slowing Down 101.

So I recently went to the west coast. Okay, this seems random, and like just another opportunity for me to brag about my travels, but it’s not; it’s relevant, it connects, I promise.

So I recently went to the west coast, and while there, my boyfriend and I rented a car to drive. And when I first got in the car to drive it and pulled out of the parking lot, I cried, “What?! Wow, I need to change my brakes so bad!” and Bryson replied, “What, what?! What’s wrong with the brakes?!” Which is probably the first rule as a driver, is to not shout about malfunctions in a vehicle so as to not startle your passengers like I did. I clarified, “No! There’s nothing wrong with these brakes. I mean my car at home– these brakes are so much better that they actually work.”

Let me tell you, this Jeep we rented had fantastic brakes. I could stop on a dime in it. I could also have stopped on a $100 bill, but a dime was more within my budget. I don’t know if it’s a city thing or a west thing or both, but people were kind of asshole drivers out there and two times I had people pull out in front of me on the freeway–or almost into me–and I had to brake or get the hell out of the area I was taking up space in. It was like I was in Fast & Furious (or some movie title variation on the adjectives “fast” and “furious,” like Speedy & Angry, Hasty & Pissed Off, the Quick and the Short-Tempered, Swifter and Madder, the Most Rapid and the Most Aggressive, Hurried and Irritated–the last one interestingly enough a portrait of me when someone is waiting on me to get ready). Fast cars, danger, risk, and road rage? Let’s just say it was awesome. I invite more people to cut me off so I can have a thrilling sense of what it’s like to be in a car chase. I love me some racing video games.

Anyway, so the brakes were premium, and after we got back from the trip, I got in my car and realized how useless my brakes were. I had gotten so used to dealing with them over time that I hadn’t noticed how badly they were disintegrating right before my very feet! Basically in order to stop, I had to let off the gas a couple miles before the traffic light, and if a car wanted to stop in front of me, it was me slamming on the brakes and hoping I had my auto insurance card with me. It was like a bag of rocks being shaken under my feet–that’s kind of how jerky it felt.

So I called up my mechanic and said, “Hey, my brakes need changed.” My mechanic said, “Okay, when can you drop your car off?” I said, “Tomorrow after work.” My mechanic said, “I can do that; I’ll get the parts tomorrow morning.” I said, “Okay, that works.” My mechanic said, “Will you be staying for dinner then?” I said, “Yes.” My mechanic said, “Your mother will be very excited to see you.”

I guess brakes can be a real pain in the ass though because my dad took about four hours to change the front two brakes and didn’t have enough time that evening to finish my back brakes. Talk about lame service. And to think I almost paid him!

But, he did change the front brakes (and to be fair, he would have changed the back brakes too if I hadn’t been insistent on not staying another few hours) and has plans to change the back ones. Let me tell you though, the front brakes have made all the difference. It’s like I have a new lease on life. Or a new-lease car.

Because I can finally brake how I like to again. Oh, I’m known among my old friends for how I brake. Just how I like it–minimal braking, and at the last second, and so that my passenger pees themself a little; but not a lot, because they should know I’m an expert driver and always have everything totally under control.

It’s almost like a game to me; it’s not, because driving should never be considered a game and it’s very serious and can ruin and destroy lives because with that greatly powered machinery comes great responsibility, but it’s almost like a game: see how long I can get away with not braking before it absolutely needs to happen. Anyway, I like car racing video games.

And so I am at long last capable of being the brisk braker I was born to be. Driving to work is exhilarating: at 6 A.M. in the morning on my way to work, nobody on the road, stopping at all those red lights I inevitably hit even though it’s only me for miles around, I am alive. I am stopping. I am an excellent stopper.

Now, for my next endeavor: if I can just get my catalytic converter fixed, I can be the accelerator I want to be. I am an excellent accelerator as well…

Cue “More Velocity More Rage” end credits.

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