Illustration by Luca Cameron

Driving in Atlanta is like driving in an apocalypse movie, that was probably filmed here. With construction every two blocks, the skeletons of soon-to-be skyscrapers loom over each car with the ever present threat of something falling — no, not something, a steel beam that stabs through the roof of the car. Or, at least that’s my fear every time I pass a construction site.

You know what else accompanies construction sites? Merging. I think the citizens of Atlanta should coin this term as a derogatory one. We could even call it the “M” word to young children so their innocent ears don’t have to hear it. While driving in four lanes of traffic down six blocks, one will merge four times. First, the two right lanes will be closed. Second, the two left lanes. Third, the middle left lane. Fourth, the middle right lane. It causes a flow of traffic that mimics a pin ball knocking around every random barrier in an old pinball machine.

Oh, and of course no one uses a blinker. Just in case any, or all, Atlanta drivers were wondering, a blinker is defined by Webster’s dictionary as “a light that blinks to indicate that a vehicle will be turning or merging.”

Glad we cleared that up. Of course, with all traffic situations involving the “M” word, one must be prepared for the two types of drivers that make us pull our hair out. The “I’m not going to let anyone merge into my lane because I have to get to work” driver and the “It’s such a nice day, I’ll just let everyone over in front of me” driver. Both of these drivers are problematic for reasons that are obvious.

These problematic drivers then create a series of dramatic horn honks (a horn that is held for at least thirty seconds or more), hands being thrown in the air and of course the always pleasant scene of someone rolling down their window to scream at them. Once the problematic drivers have resumed driving, and the screaming drivers have returned to their cars, one can merge and resume driving at five miles an hour through the construction site. While watching above for steel beams, of course.

That is, until you reach the area of the road that has been demolished into rubble for some unknown construction reason. The quick fix that is provided for this demolished strip of road? Steel plates — uneven, not secured to the asphalt, wobbly and extremely sharp steel plates that one must drive their tiny city car over while hoping their wheels don’t pop.

Finally, one passes the construction site and what lies ahead? Four cars stopped in the left and right lane with their hazards on waiting to pick someone up or, just texting. This is why, in the future, I think it will be better to stay sane and just walk.