Shaw is a battlefieldâ€”fellow drivers cut you off when itâ€™s time to merge and as you approach campus, pedestrians walk against the light, causing the tailgating jerk behind you to honk his horn.
If only it was just Shaw. The whole city of Fresno seems packed with inconsiderate drivers.
Just this morning, less than a block away from my driveway, my dad yelled: â€œWell maybe if you stayed on your half of the lane to begin with, you wouldnâ€™t have had to make such a wide swing, bozo!â€
And before the eight-mile trip to campus was done, there were at least three more such outbursts.
Needless to say, Fresno is not exactly the best training grounds for new drivers, like myself.
Thatâ€™s right, Iâ€™m 20 and have yet to get that magic identification card that states I can operate a gas-guzzling piece of machinery; and the fear of being rear-ended or sideswiped by someone who thinks they own the road has definitely contributed to my lack of desire to get it.
At 16, sure, I was gung ho about the idea. Driving for me, as for every teenager, equaled freedom. But when my boyfriend at the time insisted I drive his truck down the block (or really just steer it, while he controlled the stick shift), I freaked out when some idiot in one of those high-rise truck monstrosities ran a stop sign, almost hitting me, then followed me around to mess with me.
The idea that someone could take such pleasure in screwing with a new driver really did me a disservice; I was and am still constantly scared of other drivers doing the same thing.
Of course, my fear wasnâ€™t the only thing against me. My overprotective mom was also concerned and not quite ready to let me go out onto the fierce Fresno roads.
We agreed to wait until I was 18 to start lessons, supposedly so we wouldnâ€™t have to pay to take the costly behind-the-wheel course.
But 18 came and went, followed by 19 and now at 20. My second permit is close to itâ€™s expiration date.
As I wait for mommy or daddy to pick me up from school or stand around waiting for the FAX, I canâ€™t help but regret not fronting the money, and some guts, and taking that course.
But so much for regrets. Itâ€™s time to get up the nerve now and just do it. I plan to this summerâ€”just not in Fresno.
I donâ€™t even plan to learn in California. Nope, Iâ€™m going to the Midwest where the majority, instead of the minority, of drivers are courteous.
Itâ€™s not just a rumor spread in other states that Californians are reckless and rude on the road. Driving back from a recent trip to Illinois with my dad, we saw an instant change in driving after crossing the border from Nevada into California. Sure, there was the occasional jerk every couple of hours before, but all of a sudden there were 10 jerks in a row.
I donâ€™t want to turn into one of these jerks, so Iâ€™m hoping to learn courteous Midwest driving skills from my brother in Illinois. Wish me luck.