I drive home from work. 3:40PM my last class stampedes out the door, and if I don’t have kids for detention I saunter out, bag over my shoulder, and slide into my car and hit the road. Traffic’s relatively light heading back into Miami, since most people are trying to leave it, but still; there are certain stretches were it bogs down, where all you see are brake lights and you’re barely hitting 40 mph.

So there I am, cuffs unbuttoned, listening to the hard rock station, sun in my eyes, gazing past the long, undulating line of cars to the horizon above which rise the skyscrapers of downtown. Three solid lanes of cars, but for the one on the far left. The HOV lane, where carpoolers whizz by at an enviable 80mph.

Except they’re not all carpoolers. I can see them coming in my left mirror, see them shoot past, and about half of them are single drivers. And there I am inching forwards at a lethargic 50mph, when every instinct tells me to break ranks, dive into the HOV lane and just go. But I don’t. One, it sucks giving money to the cops, and two, it’s not right. I stare at the cars as they approach from behind, that single driver silhouette, and I think: what a dick.

But are they? Dicks, that is? Sure, clearly, on one hand they are. They’re cut from the same cloth of people who race down the length of the exit lane only to violently swerve back into traffic just before the off ramp, having passed some thirty cars in the process of people who are patiently biding their time. Maybe that’s just smart? Survival instincts? Are we who wait patiently (to some degree, at least), chumps?

I’m not sure. I’m a king cutter-in, having mastered the technique of racing to the very end of the exit lane and then swooping back into traffic like a hawk diving amongst pigeons. And it feels really good when I shave off an extra three minutes of crawling in traffic. But I draw the line at HOV impostering.

What do you guys think? These carpool lane pirates: dicks, or just smart?