Dear Tell All: I’ve driven from my home on Madison’s near west side into Middleton a couple times in the last two weeks. And each time I’ve encountered drivers who are out of their minds with road rage.
In the first incident, I was going the speed limit in the right lane on University Avenue. I needed to get into the left lane to turn into a strip mall, so I put on my turn signal and checked behind me. The closest car on the left was way back there, and it looked safe to make the lane change. But he must have been going super-fast, because when I started to change lanes he was right on top of me. I swerved to get back in the right lane so he wouldn’t crash into me, which he seemed quite willing to do — he didn’t slow down in the slightest. As he sped past me, he leaned on his horn for what must have been a solid 15 seconds. I caught a glimpse of this lunatic driver as he glared at me, red-faced, screaming curses I couldn’t hear.
In the second incident, my wife and I were going to Hubbard Avenue Diner for dinner and made a right turn from Hubbard Avenue into the parking lot. As we turned, we glimpsed a sign that hadn’t been visible from our direction (especially in the dark), saying there was no entry. It made no intuitive sense, since the parking lot doesn’t have slanted stalls, and there’s plenty of room for two cars to maneuver through the lanes. But whatever, it was an innocent mistake in a near-empty parking lot that caused no harm. As a pickup truck passed us from the opposite way, however, the driver rolled down his window and screamed at the top of his lungs: “CAN’T YOU FUCKING READ?!” It was completely unnecessary, as well as a disturbing start to what we thought would be pleasant dinner.
What’s going on in Middleton? Is fury boiling beneath the surface of this sleepy suburb? Is the whole place about to blow?
Dear Frightened: Interesting you should ask, because I recently received a letter from another person who’s terrified of crazy Middleton drivers. “I get close calls almost weekly in Middleton, both walking and biking,” she wrote.
Middleton drivers, can you tell us what’s going on? Are you agonized about the potential closure of the Mustard Museum? Get it off your chest — we’re here to help.
Do you have a question about life or love in Madison?
Write Tell All, 100 State St., Madison, WI 53703. Or email email@example.com