Apologies in advance if you drive a Mercedes. This rant is not directed at you. (Unless you're one of them.)
In the past five or six weeks I've done a lot of driving as the result of my new job. Many, many hours of driving a longbed extended-cab pickup truck (with a shell) in some of the worst traffic in the country. Jam-packed freeways and major city streets are my 'office' for at least half of every day. Today alone I spent time on the 210, the 118, the 405, the 101, the 170, the 10, and the 110 freeways. Plus streets like La Brea, Sunset, Wilshire, Santa Monica, La Cienega, and Highland. (Those who are familiar with the area will know what I'm talking about.)
Despite the thick traffic, most drivers in Los Angeles are cooperative. Most of us realize we're all in this mess together, so people tend to help each other out in small ways. If you need to changes lanes, you can usually find a likely break in traffic, signal your intentions, then move into the other lane. It might be tight, with little room to spare in front or back of your vehicle, but people will slow down to let someone cut in front of them. (I know this is unheard of in some parts of the country, but in LA, it's not uncommon.) Or if you're pulling out of a parking lot near an intersection, and traffic is stopped in the street, nearly always someone will wait to let you into traffic once the cars start moving.
But apparently, the User's Manual for Mercedes automobiles has a paragraph or two about such nonsense. Over the past 5 or 6 weeks, I've noticed a definite trend. Nine times out of ten, if someone races to close the gap before I can change lanes, or if someone makes it an obvious point to not allow me to pull into gridlocked traffic, that someone is behind the wheel of a Mercedes.
At first, I thought it was just snooty owners of expensive cars. But then I noticed that I kept seeing that two-legged peace sign in my rear view mirror nearly every time someone closed off a lane behind me as I tried to change lanes. Almost never see it done by a BMW or Jag or Rolls or Ferrari or Caddy or Maserati...but multiple times daily with a Mercedes. For some reason, the Mercedes drivers out here seem to have a sense of entitlement that the rest of us don't have. And in many of the parts of town I drive in, a Mercedes is not really that big of a deal. There are many more expensive cars driving around. I even saw a Ferrari and a Rolls in the parking garage of a condo this afternoon. Not the kind of cars you typically see in a condo parking lot. (Not the typical condo, though. These units run in the millions of dollars. Ozzy Osborne is one of the new residents there, according to our client.)
Now I don't want to seem like I'm down on people who drive nice cars. Heck, I have a Lexus and my wife drives an Acura. (Not full-blown luxury cars, but not Yugos, either.) I encounter normal drivers behind the wheel of cars costing ten times as much as my car every day. But what is up with Mercedes drivers?