Ring Road Rage: The Infection & The Cure

Do you find yourself feeling angry while walking to class? Feeling anxious and sporting a scowl? Wanting to punch the “two dollar boba” people?

Well, you may be suffering from Ring Road Rage. If you’ve never heard of it, it is a common condition that plagues us all at some time or another in our UCI careers. The infection rate usually tends to increase during the cycle of midterms.

How to spot a Ring Road Rager? They generally are the headphones-in-ears-while-walking type. We can’t totally blame them though.  School is stressful — almost as stressful as watching an episode of Breaking Bad.

I recently caught on to this phenomenon while walking to class myself (feeling sprightly, might I add). While approaching my classroom, strolling at a relaxed pace, I noticed my classmate briskly walk  passed me, swinging arms and all. I should mention that he also had his headphones in, so with some effort I attempted to wave him down and asked him why he was in such frenzy. He replied by saying, “I can’t stand people on Ring Road!”

That’s when I realized there was a serious problem at hand — he was infected.

Sure, there are many things to be annoyed about. At the respective ten-til and twenty-after times, there is the risk of being trampled by the hoards of people going to and from class. There are a myriad of solicitors, boothers and flyer people hoping to gain your attention and suck you in to their realms. And let’s not forget the (illegal) bikers and skateboarders that make you jump each time they whisk past you and however skillfully weave through the mobs.

I understand that often times we’re late to class or have essays to print last minute, but when did it become okay to bump into to someone and not say a simple, “excuse me” or even turn back for an acknowledgement? Classic rager behavior. I’ve witnessed occurrences like this far too often.

I know it seems like making eye contact with a solicitor is a death sentence, but where is the humanity in that? It takes a mere, “no thanks” to whatever flyer they’re handing you.

The biggest downfall of this condition is its isolating and chilling effects, which deter from cultivating the kind of spirit and unity our school desires. It’d be nice to feel like those few minutes that it takes to get to class are more like “The Wonder Years” and less like “Mean Girls.”

So, take those headphones out, ragers; we have an incredibly beautiful campus after all, filled with interesting sounds. I only hope that we all become a little more cognizant of our social etiquette, regain the human touch and avoid contracting the aggravating Ring Road Rage.


Natasha Afshar is a fourth-year English major. She can be reached at natashaa@uci.edu