I felt like Evelyn Couch (Kathy Bates) today from the movie Fried Green Tomatoes:
[Evelyn is cut off in a parking lot]
Evelyn Couch: Hey! I was waiting for that spot!
Girl #1: Face it, lady, we’re younger and faster!
[Evelyn rear-ends the other car six times]
Girl #1: What are you *doing*?
Girl #2: Are you *crazy*?
Evelyn Couch: Face it, girls, I’m older and I have more insurance.
Today was the first time I had to make the gym drive at 4:30 in the afternoon. Another mom has gone above and beyond by taking The Hare home everyday for me, but today we had dinner plans with some friends. Apparently 4:30 is the beginning of rush hour on this side of town. Slithering cars inched their way down the street. I sat through two light cycles just to turn right on to the first street I needed. Then I needed to get into the far left lane in order to pull into a turn lane, to make what we up here like to call “a MichiganLeft”. (And yes, it is as complicated as it sounds. I got a ticket within the first 6 months of living here for doing it all wrong.)
I pulled into the far left lane, just a breath away from the turn lane. The car in front of me wasn’t moving into the turn lane, nor did they have their blinker on. I assumed they were going straight then. A long line of cars lay ahead of me, waiting to turn at the next light. Out of the corner of my eye, I noticed a rather beat-up green Suburban trying to cut across three lanes of traffic. No kind hand wave or “I’m sorry” for cutting everyone off. Surely he wasn’t trying to come clear across four lanes of traffic to make this Michigan Left too?
The light ahead finally changed again. The car in front of me lurched forward a bit, then suddenly darted into the turn lane. I had already made my commitment to the turn lane as well, when I had to touch the breaks a bit to let the car in front go ahead. They decided last minute to make the turn. A gentle tap on the gas and we were moving forward. Suddenly, that damn Suburban darted into my lane, and then tried to barrel into the turn lane. He did indeed cut over four lanes of traffic. My quick reflexes landed on the horn, holding it long enough to catch his attention.
He flipped me the bird and flicked cigarette ash at my car.
I raised both hands in the air, opened my mouth in shock, and then pointed angrily to the road in front of me.
“Just go then, idiot.” I thought to myself.
Idiot Driver slowly maneuvered into the next lane, being sure to keep eye contact with me and yell out his window.
“You F*#$%ing Bitch!”
Of course both of my kids were in the car.
“Mom, ” asked The Hare, “Why did that man yell bad words at you?”
My cheeks were turning red, fingers tingled from gripping the wheel so tight.
“Some people just don’t know how to be grown-ups.”
I pulled the car around, enabling me to finally be headed in the right direction. Of course, as soon as we approached the next light, it turned red. The Idiot Driver turned into the far left lane. We were in the far right lane. As we approached the light, Idiot Driver cut over three lanes of traffic again, and pulled his car up next to ours. His car speed matched mine. There was no one in front of him, yet he was four car-links away from the white line when the light turned red. I was four cars deep. He just sat next to me, yelling, and probably flipping me off again. I refused to look at him and instructed the kids to totally look out the opposite windows.We turned up the music.
It took every ounce of strength I had to not roll down my window and yell back. Something. Anything. But I refrained, because that is what grownups do, especially when they are carrying such precious cargo.
When he finally drove off I said to the kids.
“Quick, write down his license plate number…”
The Hare repeated it over and over while The Tortoise typed it into her cell phone.
“Why are we writing this down?” asked The Hare.
“I don’t know, but I must be able to complain to someone.”
“Was he being illegal?” asked The Hare.
“Probably not, but I some how feel better knowing that I have his license plate number. ”
Just once, I’d like to be Evelyn Couch.