Posted by: canthold | July 18, 2008

Taking The Bird Out For A Little Drive

I caught a cold. It’s setting up shop in my nose right now, but it has scouts out looking into my right ear. There may also be patrols in my lung region, but they’re hard to detect. My immunities are deaf and wear glasses and therefore aren’t the sharpest knives in the drawer, if you know what I mean.

So I realized when I read So The Thing Is that I forgot to write about one of the most significant (in my tiny world) things that happened to me all week. I got chased.

There is a major road leading to my small town suburb. There are, in fact only two ways to drive to my humble little hamlet and this is the most urban, since at times there are three lanes and then two and the other way has two then has one lane. Well, at some point, this third lane ends. It’s the left lane and it merges into the center.

I was in the center lane and didn’t have more than a single car length (safe following distance minus Type A personality difference equals actual difference) between my car and the car in front of me. Some woman in a silver SUV came zooming up on my left to squeeze in between me and the guy in front of me. There was barely enough room for her to do it if I were nice, but since I’m not always, (like this time,) there was definitely not enough room – especially since I sped up. (I’m not proud, but it happens.)

There were no cars behind me!

This woman honked at me because she couldn’t coerce me into giving her space so I flipped her the bird. I know that I had retired my birds, but I couldn’t help myself. How could she get mad at me when she needed to merge into my lane safely and couldn’t do it? I would have had to slow down to accommodate her if I hadn’t sped up, which I don’t think is fair to me either.

I could see her flipping me a very angry bird  in my rear-view mirror. So I stopped looking in the mirror. I then proceeded to drive like any other suburban mom – cautiously, defensively, and since I was on my way home, without a real purpose.

The angry woman was behind me and I moved over to the far right lane fully expecting her to zoom past me on my left and do some other angry gesture. Perhaps in her recklessness she’d figured out how to moon people while driving, too.

Nope. She changed lanes behind me. Since “Caution” is actually my middle name, I wondered if she was still mad at me. I put my blinker on to turn down an early side street. She turned her blinker on, too. I didn’t turn. She didn’t turn.

So, she really was angry and now following me. Since I had my two kids in my car, I got out my cell phone and made ready to dial 911. I then passed my turn-off street and turned right at the next street past. She kept following me. We went through a stop sign then I turned into my daughter’s elementary school. I figured this angry person must be a real LOONY if she wanted a confrontation at an elementary school. I pulled in and waited.

The angry woman must have waited for me to come out until someone pulled up behind her and made her proceed. She didn’t turn into the parking lot, though. As she passed her VERY ANGRY red face contorted in what must have been very vicious profanities. I smiled at her in return and held up my cell phone.

She didn’t follow me anymore or I lost her, one of the two, but I wasn’t followed home. But just in case, I backed into my driveway since she’d seen the back of my car for quite a ways and perhaps was memorizing the plate number.

I was telling a friend this story and I was saying how I just don’t get it that people who do the wrong or irrational things want to blame the other person all the time. She should have merged behind me, not sped up to can-opener her car between mine and the next one. Sure, I flipped her the bird, but she did it back, so that can’t be the thing that made her fly off her rocker so intensely. My friend just reminded me that people that do those things are just crazy and you can’t explain crazy. They’re already crazy and the world is just in the way. She didn’t say it that way, but that’s the way I remember it – or the gist.

At least she didn’t have a gun.



  1. Down here in Texas where people are allowed to carry weapons, I’d really have been worried about a gun.

  2. I know! And in California they actually use them. Or at least we don’t hear about traffic shootings in Texas the way we hear about them here. Perhaps we should get our elected officials to include a psychological exam in the DMV requirements to get a license.

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