People Don't Like To Look At Me In TrafficCommentary • Opinion • ISSUE 30•18 • Dec 10, 1996 By Harry Zinski, Motorist Harry Zinski Motorist In this world, some people are takers and some people are givers. Me, I'm a giver. Twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week, I like to contribute to the well-being of my fellow man, because Lord only knows how much longer we'll be stranded together on this crazy rock. That's why I make the most of every minute of my day, especially during those times of day when people are their most irritable. That is, I like to make people feel good while they drive on the freeway. Rush hour can be very stressful, with so many people scrambling willy-nilly to their 9-to-5 paper-pushing jobs all at once. That's why I like to wave to people as I drive by on the freeway in my '68 Buick Skylark. It's no big deal or anything, just my little way of saying, "Hello, I'm your friend. Won't you be mine, too?" I've been doing this for years, even when I was still employed at the textile mill. Time was, most people would return the gesture, either with a knowing smile or a quick brush of the hand, but those days are long gone. People are too wrapped up in themselves these days to pay heed to a middle-aged man and his friendly ways. I'll admit, waving hello isn't enough to entertain the driving masses of this modern age. I've tried many other methods of cheering up my fellow motorists. Sometimes I like to sing songs to them. I like to roll down my window, turn up the light-rock hits of Bread, and wail "Baby I'm A-Want You" at the top of my voice. Usually, it registers only a few raised eyebrows, but every once in a while an appreciative driver will honk at me or throw a lit cigarette into my window. And I always make sure to say, "Thanks for the Lucky Strike," or whatever the appropriate brand. Sometimes I engage my fellow commuters in stare-down contests. You know the gameyou stare at someone until one of you blinks. I almost always win, because people today just don't have very long attention spans. But not me, I'm determined. I'll follow the same car for miles, staring down the pretty lady drivers until they've got their accelerators pressed to the floor. I've gotten my car up past 110 mph in these contests, and I won't stop until I've wrapped both of us around a telephone pole. I'll even put on the occasional puppet show from the driver's seat. If I see a businessman with a dour look on his face, I'll root around in the glove compartment for any random object, hold it up in the window, and do a little dance with it. I once did Pirates of Penzance with only two pens, a map of Kentucky and 30 pipe cleaners as my acting company, and it was a big hit. Sometimes, after I've cleaned out the car, I forget to put things in the glove box for my shows, so I have to improvise. I just unzip my pants, pull out my doodle and wave it at the passing commuters. You should see the response it gets! Of course, I can't drive anymore. They took my car away after I ran over those kids. Bloody mess, it was, and it could've been avoided, too, if the kids had just acknowledged my friendliness. It's very frustrating when you go to the trouble of cruising up and down the street in front of the elementary school, trying to spread a little joy to the beautiful young people in their Garanimals and Toughskins, and all they want to do is show you their naughty finger. Well, I was brought up a gentleman, and that made me so upset I lost control of the car, and before I knew itKATHUMP. That unfortunate little incident hasn't stopped me, though. I'm determined to put a smile on the faces of today's motorists. Now I stand by the side of the road and do my good deeds. Sure, it's put an end to my career and my marriage, but if I brighten one person's day, it's worth it. I like to stand on I-58 and hold up my sign that says "Just Smile," but no one really obeys it. Maybe that's because it also says, "Will Stab For Food." Anybody can wow the audiences at Radio City Music Hall, but the true entertainer will use any darn place as his stage. That's why I do what I do: I'm here to please you, dear drivers, and isn't that worth something? Maybe the next time I walk between the cars at the stoplights with my empty soft-drink cup from Arby's and my grocery cart full of volleyballs, you won't roll up your window and pretend not to notice me. Maybe you'll drop a shilling or a half-pence into my little cup and say, "Thanks, kind sir, for the years of amusement you've given me." Until then, you'll find me standing by the side of the road, waving with one hand and shoving the other down my pants, screaming, "Look at me! Look at me!"