Sunday, 29 March 2009

Bad Karma Driving

We were driving along the main road through town a few weeks ago when a woman in a black Toyota decided to turn onto the road right in front of us. There was no break in traffic and no reason in the world she should have thought she had right of way, but then she wasn't really looking. My husband had to slam on the brakes in order to avoid plowing into her. Even with the screech of brakes, the woman didn't really seem to notice us, so he gave her a good long blast of his horn. Only then did the woman glance into her rear view mirror and slowly register our angry faces and rude gestures.

And she did not say sorry.

She could have cringed in her seat in the universal driver's gesture of apology; she could have rolled down the window and acknowledged her potentially fatal error, but no, she just kept driving. Badly, I might add: her road position made us think she might be talking on her mobile, but on closer inspection, she wasn't. She was the only person in her car too, so it wasn't as though she was distracted by a conversation or quarrel going on in the background. No, she was just a crappy driver, and an inconsiderate one too.

Strangely enough, the traffic slowed to a snail's pace shortly after this, and we ended up right behind this woman. She seemed anxious to get away from us. Maybe my husband scared her: with his shaved head and powerful build, he does look a little intimidating. Whatever the case, this woman put on her turn signal at least four times, always in the stupidest possible place to pass, perhaps in an effort to get away from us. There was a solid stream of traffic, though, and it was obvious to anyone that there was no chance to pass, but that didn't stop this woman from trying. At first we thought we must be imagining it, but when the traffic finally picked up and she drove straight past a turn, her signal still blinking away, we were pretty sure she was trying to shake us.

We saw her glance fearfully in her rear view mirror a few times, and we decided that just for the heck of it we would follow her, seeing as she seemed to be going our direction anyway. For a good five minutes, we followed her black Toyota past mosques, shops, and schools, through streets lined with eucalyptus and lemon trees, over pot-holed asphalt and stretches of dirt road. Finally, she hared up a narrow lane that wound itself into the hills, and we decided to let her go; we'd made our point, and we were only five minutes away from home anyway.

As soon as we pulled into our own street, one of our daughters suddenly pointed out the window. "Hey, it's the lady in the black car! She's parking!"

She saw us, too. We finally gave her the fright she gave us, and without even trying. And it's always nice to meet the new neighbors.

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23 comments:

planetnomad said...

ROFL!! I'm sure she'll have some sleepless nights now! (And I have seen some stunningly bad drivers since moving overseas! I could picture this all too well.)

debra said...

I am still laughing! Perhaps this should be filed under just rewards!
Glad you got to meet the neighbor!

Jacqui said...

Ha! This used to happen to me on my commute home, racing down I76 like a madwoman to get to day care before closing. Inevitably I would cut someone off and then see her at day care picking up her own child,

Tabitha said...

LOL!! Oh, that is just too funny. :) So are you going to bake a pie and welcome her to the neighborhood? :) Can you imagine how she'd be eyeing that pie? LOL!!

But, seriously, don't get me started on inconsiderate drivers. I live downtown Chicago, and over the past few years people have turned into raging, selfish, lunatics the minute they get behind the wheel of the car. People attempt to cut me off at least three or four times a day (to and from taking my kids to school), and then they scream at me when I don't let them. Like I'm stomping on their rights to ignore the rules of the road. It makes me so mad I can almost feel my hair catching fire. :)

Fortunately, starting September, my kids will be at a much closer school, and I can take back roads. I'm really looking forward to this. :)

Charles Gramlich said...

Oh that's too much. LOL.

Mary Witzl said...

Nomad -- I hope we shook this lady up enough that she'll think twice about her driving, but all this probably did was make her nervous about us. I thought there were some awful drivers back in the U.K., but the Turks have got them beat all hollow.

Debra -- I haven't seen this woman since, but the very memory keeps me snickering. As for 'just rewards', though, you're right: I'm going to add that tag!


Jacqui -- This happens to us too, but we're almost always on the receiving end. Just before we roll down the window and let fly, we notice that the person who has cheerfully cut us off is another teacher... I live I fear that one of these days I'll let fly before we see who it is.

Tabitha -- That kind of driving fills me with rage too, and I get far more worked up over it than my husband does. After his initial reaction, he always lets it go, but I find myself consumed by fury. How DARE people drive like that? And the fact that they get angry when you refuse to give in to their selfishness -- that just tops everything. That is why it is better that my husband is our designated driver. It's amazing, though, that he still likes to drive.

Charles -- We got a kick out of it too, after the irritation had worn off.

Kim Ayres said...

:)

Christy said...

Oh, that made me hoot! Hilarious! Now does she peer out the curtains at you when you leave the house?

Lily Cate said...

Ugh.
We live out in the county, just far enough that people treat most of the small highways around here like they have no traffic rules at all.

Charlie said...

Driving in Phoenix is similar to the bumper car rides at the amusement park. Except real bumper cars aren't so amusing.

Between poorly-designed freeways, elderly snowbirds in their huge mobile homes, Mexicans who know no driving rules, and those in a mad rush to get nowhere, I quit driving altogether.

Rather, I'm a second pair of eyes for Martha, navigator, and a general pain in the patootie.

debra said...

or just desserts :-)
I, however, would prefer chocolate.

Mary Witzl said...

Kim -- :) (I'm so proud that I can use smilies now -- my kids have been teaching me!)

Christy -- Oddly enough, we haven't seen her once since this incident. She's probably living in fear...

Lily -- This is pretty much outlaw driving country too. Back in the U.K., everyone politely waits their turn at roundabouts. Here, they seem to be irritating obstacles that most people have to hurry around as quickly as possible. Whenever we go out in the car, I feel like I'm in a roller-coaster.

Charlie -- Another pair of eyes is a good thing, right?

I used to be an ideal passenger, back in the days before I knew how to drive. My husband could do no wrong back then. Now, I gasp and brace myself and crane my neck every chance I get. I bet he wishes he'd never pushed me to get my license.

Debra -- I'd prefer chocolate too! I put 'just desserts' in the tags box, but I worried that I'd get people trying to find the restaurant stumbling onto my blog by mistake. And the slugs people are already more than enough.

Bish Denham said...

ROFL! You're right, it IS bad karma driving.

Kara said...

She was the only person in her car too, so it wasn't as though she was distracted by a conversation or quarrel going on in the background.

some people get distracted by their own idiocy. i see it all the time.

and neighbors are overrated. no need to ever befriend them.

laura said...

Oh God! That was just too stinking funny!

Mary Witzl said...

Bish -- We're really hoping that her driving skills improve! But if they don't, at least we know where she is.

Kara -- Come to think of it, that has got to be what her problem was. In fact, I spend a lot of time distracted by my own idiocy, but at least I'm not attempting to operate a dangerous piece of machinery when I'm doing this.

Actually, we don't spend enough time at home to get to know the new neighbors. Lucky for her, isn't it?

Laura -- It was even more fun writing about this than the whole experience was. And it really was very entertaining!

Anne Spollen said...

LOL! Ok, better bake something sinful and drop it off as if nothing ever happened.

Open your next writing with this:

...past mosques, shops, and schools, through streets lined with eucalyptus and lemon trees, over pot-holed asphalt and stretches of dirt road.

Love that!

Carole said...

That is a very good and very funny story.

adrienne said...

Oops! How funny. On the up side, she probably won't dare to trouble you as a neighbor.

Robin said...

That's just perfect! Sucker!

Once in Philly, on the way home from work someone cut me off on the right to make a left hand turn, after I had waited patiently in line for 4 lights. Immature, I know, but I gave the person the bird. The person looked shocked and guilty. It was my husband! This story reminded me of that episode.

Mary Witzl said...

Anne -- I won't bake her anything! She'd rightly suspect the ingredients.

If I ever gathered these little vignettes into one whole, I know I'd have a lot of rewriting to do. As it is, I just churn them out willy-nilly with only the occasional nod to the rules that so bedevil me when I write my MG/YA stuff.

Carole -- Thank you. I wonder how the lady with the black Toyota is telling it...

Adrienne -- I agree! Plus, I'm pretty sure I could hit her up for half a dozen eggs or a pound of sugar.

Robin -- Ha! Good for you! What happened when you got home that night? I'm betting he got a good earful, at the very least.

A friend of mine once got honked at and heckled by a driver as he was cycling to school. He flipped the guy the bird. When he got to school he found out that it was his professor, congratulating him for passing his exams...

Chris Eldin said...

I swear on my chocolate and wine I did not copy your topic!!! This is a funny and strange coincidence!!

I've been out of blogging lately, but just stepping back in. I hope you can read today's post...
:-)

Mary Witzl said...

Chris -- Let's face it, crappy drivers are as ubiquitous and annoying as surly waiters or lazy teachers, and great material for blogging. Have you ever seen that blog that names and shames -- and posts car models, license plates, and pertinent information about specific driving sins? I'm so tempted to send them stuff, but where would I start? And I'd definitely have to give up writing AND my job.