Yesterday, I was in my awesome space rocket of a car, driving toward a 3-way stop. I came to a full stop, and noticed a red truck barreling down the road, toward the stop sign.
I thought, He’s going to run the stop sign. Is he drunk?
Now, I couldn’t see the driver beyond the arms, so it might have been a female. He finally came to a halt–a screeching nose-dive of a halt–and I paused a few more seconds, in case he was one of those drivers. I might have looked through his windshield to see his intent, to see if he was one of those types of drivers. The driver who won’t consider the fact that other people have places to be, too. The driver who won’t understand that another car holds a living, breathing person, too.
The driver who, for the life of him, won’t comprehend the fact that I am a human being, too. Just like him.
… Or her.
He stopped, and looked like he wasn’t going to blast through the stop sign, so I proceeded to make my right-hand turn. I should stop now and explain: I had the right-of-way. Not only did I stop first, and wait for him to complete a full stop, I was on his right-hand side, therefore I had the right-of-way. Driving 101.
After making my turn, I looked into the rearview mirror, and saw his windshield. In less than two seconds, this driver was on my bumper. It freaked me out–and I freak out easily when driving. I might be what one can consider an “Old Woman” driver. Crazy, lunatic drivers have their space, I have my space, and buffers are a great necessity. My precious rocket ship was hit twice last year by people not understanding how to drive. So, whereas most people might not understand my need to get away from crazy drivers, I desire to remain a mom to my tiny human. Therefore, buffer zones.
Love those buffer zones.
Anyway, after looking up, and seeing him on my bumper, I slowed a bit–imperceptibly. It was my, “Please get off my butt–seriously, back off,” move. He did. He backed off, slowed down, and stopped driving like an erratic loon.
Until he didn’t.
The road we were on is a residential neighborhood road, speed limit 30 MPH. But, this road would also be considered a main thoroughfare. It has the main drag, which was separated by speed humps every thirty feet when I was in High School. The idea was to keep people from speeding like banshees down the road. Along the side of the road, they constructed a smaller area, where people can park their cars, thereby not disrupting the flow of traffic in the street. The side area could never be considered another lane; it was not created an appropriate width for driving.
Not to mention, when it was constructed, it was placed by the curb, on the right-hand side. Driving 101: a driver, when passing, does not pass on the right-hand side, because it is illegal. In the Great State of Texas, passing on the right is illegal.
Apparently, this driver–who could have been intoxicated–didn’t care about the rules of the road. Rules which were made for safety reasons, because people get in cars and forget that humans exist behind the wheel. I didn’t know that he wasn’t happy about traveling behind me. I didn’t know that going slightly above the speed limit was insulting his need for speed. Therefore, when he jerked his car to the right, stomped on the gas pedal, and started driving at a rate in excess of 45 MPH behind me–in a residential zone–I was floored.
This man was going to not only do something illegal, but he was willing to put me and my beautiful spaceship–which had its door nearly ripped off a week after it was rear ended on the highway–in jeopardy. He passed by me at such a high speed, and so close to my vehicle–being on the tiny, right-hand area meant for parked cars–that I did the only think I could think to do: I honked my horn.
Immediately, and with some force, he jerked his car in front of me, angled it across the two lanes of actual traffic, and stopped. All I could see was the bumper sticker on the back, written in tiny, white and blue letters: United States Navy.
That bumper sticker almost brought out an unjustified, “This man is a Navy man! How the hell could he act like this? He should know better” tirade in my head. But, in that moment, the rant was squelched, because I had another thought, Oh m My G, this man might try to kill me, for honking at him.
He was in the wrong, the great, illegal wrong, and he was angry, at me.
I was going the speed limit. I was making sure I wasn’t driving erratic. I knew, in my “Old Woman” driving habits, that I would not cause harm to anyone else on the road that day. I never considered, not once, that someone might cause harm to me.
But, this man was unjustifiably angry, at me, for following the rules.
I did the only thing I could think of, aside from worry for my life. I reached for my cell phone. But, of course, I couldn’t find it. The damn thing was evasive in my critical moment, and the longer it took for me to find it, the more freaked-the-hell-out I became. After moments of panicked searching, I found my cell phone, and lifted it to take a picture of this man’s truck. Because, if he was getting out of his car, rolling down his window, or aiming a pistol at my head, I was getting a damn picture of him.
Thank the Great Lord Above, though, because the man decided not to attack, maim, or shoot me–maybe his buzz was wearing thin. In any case, he had a change of heart, and sped off, toward another stop sign.
My camera app could not be found on my phone. My phone would not work properly. I didn’t know that my hand could shake as much as it was shaking. The encounter had lasted under a minute, but it felt longer.
It was a very long minute.
I did manage to get a picture, though, as he sped away. A shaky, blurry, horrific picture. Me, taking a bad picture, I mean come on. How was that possible? Apparently, adrenaline, or endorphins, or some other -in, kept my body from reacting normally, or appropriately, when under duress.
I’ve said it before, so I’ll say it, again: I do not panic well. Panic, by definition, is done in a bad, horrible, over-the-top manner. Therefore, I panic appropriately–shaky hands and all.
Out of the situation, I started thinking. I know, I know. Me and thinking, at it again.
The entire situation could have been avoided if the other driver remembered one, critical piece of information: I am human, too. I have people who need me to be alive. I have family who wants me to drive from Point A to Point B, and survive the travel. In the car, on the road, being human shouldn’t factor out of the equation. It should remain prevalent in every driver’s mind.