Post 62 / Hour 68: Driving Miss Crazy
By Dave Fox
[This story originally appeared on my website in 2004.]
A couple of months ago, I wrote about the plight of my 1992 Mazda, whose horn kept honking by itself. Since then, I have been flooded with literally hundreds of concerned e-mails.
Most of these e-mails have come from worried individuals who want to help me increase my penis size or sell me cheap Viagra. I have also heard from the displaced widows of several deposed African leaders, offering me 27-million dollars as soon as I send them my bank account information. Overwhelmed by this outpouring of love, I took my car for a drive the other day.
The sun was shining brightly. I was in a happy mood. Unfortunately, my mood shifted when a woman who had apparently learned to drive from the bestselling book, “All I Really Need to Know About Driving, I Learned in Kindergarten,” attempted to kill me.
I know what you’re thinking. “Lighten up, Dave. It’s just a little vehicular homicide.”
You are probably right. The woman who was trying to end my life is probably a very nice lady, but please understand; she didn’t just try to kill me. She was threatening my Mazda.
Here’s how it happened: I pulled into the left turn lane and stopped for a red light. The lights in the two lanes for traffic going straight were still green. At this point, the aforementioned very nice lady pulled out of a local business, cut across three lanes of traffic, and attempted to pull in behind me in the turning lane. She could not do this, however, because I, Dave Fox, am a selfish jerk who had the audacity to stop my car at a red light, in what was very obviously her turning lane.
Unable to squeeze in behind me, she followed the instructions on page 47 of “All Really Need to Know About Driving, I Learned in Kindergarten,” which state, “If somebody is occupying an entire car’s length of space in the turning lane, stop your car at a right angle to the lane and block the other lanes. If approaching traffic honks, rest assured they will not get to go outside at recess.”
So there I was, waiting in the turning lane for the light to change. There she was, stopped behind me, facing east on a north-south street. Had she been trying to face Mecca for her mid-morning prayers, I might have been more forgiving, but that did not appear to be the case, based on the fact that she was now honking her horn and flailing her arms in frantic and unholy ways.
I deduced from her sign language that she wanted me to assist her by pulling into the stream of oncoming traffic and getting myself flattened into a bloody crêpe by an oncoming dump truck. I gestured to her that I did not want to die, thank you very much, and was going to remain stopped at the red light. A steady stream of cars was now honking at the very nice lady.
Infuriated by my selfish behavior, she decided the next appropriate step would be to bump me. Not enough to cause damage, mind you. Just a little love tap.
I have never been flirted with in this manner before, and I was feeling shy. I sat there, wishing the light would change so I could get out of the very nice lady’s way in a legal and non-death-causing manner. But the traffic light gods were frowning upon me. The light stayed red. At this point, the very nice lady did what any nice lady who is the legal owner of Aurora Boulevard would do. She bumped me a second time.
That’s when I decided to go introduce myself.
I stepped out of my car, and approached the very nice lady. She stopped bumping me and pretended nothing had happened. I stood in heavy traffic, staring through her side window. She looked away from me, hoping I would leave or get run over. After a short stand-off, I finally coaxed her into rolling her window down.
I’m generally a mild-mannered guy, accepting of other people’s mistakes and/or lack of a frontal lobe. But if you attempt to kill me or mess with my 1992 Mazda hatchback, you’re crossing a line. Unfortunately, however, a very irritating voice of reason was telling me to remain peaceful, so I resisted the urge to stick my head inside her car and bite her nose off. Instead, I calmly asked to see her driver’s license.
The very nice lady did not think this was a good idea. She opted instead to shriek that I was in her way. I took a deep breath. I really did. I was feeling proud of myself for not raising my voice. I suggested that perhaps her decision to careen across three lanes and block traffic was not my fault. I pointed at the clogged traffic behind her. Not wanting to use foul language in the presence of my aging Mazda, I suggested she was being “really inconsiderate.”
I really did use those words, even though less sophisticated expressions were attempting to exit my mouth. I added that attempting to push my car into the flow of oncoming traffic and kill me was probably at least a misdemeanor.
The very nice lady then explained she did not mean to bump into me. It was an accident. Both times.
I couldn’t take it anymore. I snapped. My calm and rational approach was not working, so I decided to shout a few choice words at her in Serbo-Croatian.
Unfortunately, however, I do not speak Serbo-Croatian, so I was forced to resort to English. I used advanced English vocabulary that is not found in “All I Really Need to Know About Driving, I Learned in Kindergarten.”
She looked stunned. Victimized. How could I be so insensitive to her tender ears?
We stared at each other for a moment, until I was faced with a dilemma. I still wanted to see her driver’s license — not to press charges, but because my inner uptight-short-guy was talking to me now, and he wanted to prove a point. But the light had changed — from red, to green, to yellow. The faster I got out of her way, the faster the growing line of drivers behind us could get on with their lives. So I jumped in my car and sped off, and am happy to report I am more-or-less still alive.
I’m not sure what it is about cars, but when we’re in them, we seem to think we’re invincible — and invisible. There are minor infractions — people who make bizarre facial contortions as they sing along with Neil Sedaka on the radio, or pick their noses as if their windows are made of one-way mirror glass. Then you get the people who are completely rational in any other situation, but behind the wheel, they sincerely believe they own the roads, and the rest of the world’s responsibility is to get out of their way.
I’ll admit, I fall into this trap myself sometimes. Driving doesn’t stress me out, but other drivers do. They’re going too fast, or too slow, or being reckless and running yellow lights, or being too polite and stopping at yellow lights when I am behind them and in a hurry.
But my problems will soon be solved. I have just received e-mail from Mrs. Mariam Sese-Seko, widow of late President of Zaire, Mobuto Sese-Seko. She promises to wire me 27 million dollars as soon as I e-mail her my bank account numbers. The first thing I’m going to spend the money on is a chauffeur for my Mazda.
This is just one of the tales from Dave’s ebook,
Kinky Chipmunks and Horny Goblins.