What mom, homeschooling or otherwise, doesn’t spend an enormous amount of time behind the wheel playing chauffeur? Since I live in the most densely populated state, everywhere I go, from the grocery store to the gynecologist, means slogging through bumper to bumper traffic. It doesn’t help that we’ve situated ourselves in the middle of nowhere in order to achieve some sort of peace and tranquility reminiscent of our childhoods in Lancaster, PA. (The “middle of nowhere” in Jersey still means we’re only 15 minutes from a Target.)
In logging all these hours on the road, I notice things, including the people in the vehicles around me. Many times my drives are filled with normal folks with nothing memorable in their looks or driving disposition. But other times, it’s like someone polluted the water supply with crazy and gave everyone a free car. So, without further delay, seven scary road people. Some of them really make me want to return to my hometown and hitch up a horse and buggy.
1. The song bird or her brother M.C. profanity. Look, I confess to singing in the car when I’m out alone but only with the windows closed, and I swear I change all the inappropriate words to butt, witch, etc. (And if it’s a guy singing to a girl, I change genders too because I’m not singing my heart out to a girl. ) But so many times, I stop at a red light and next to me is some chick belting out the latest song like she’s auditioning for American Idol. Or it’s a guy, bass cranked up, spewing forth filth from the fifth circle of hell. Oh hey, is that Eminem driving next to me? And it’s always, always when the kids are with me. (“Mom do M&Ms really sing like that?”) So there I am, struggling to quick pop in a kid’s CD or something when the kids start asking me vocabulary questions. The light changes, we speed off… for 100 yards before we hit the next red light and the cycle continues. If I’m lucky the baby will be crying from the uncomfortable thrust of inertia and I’ll get a dirty look, and nothing else, from the aforementioned singers, like my screaming kid is killing their groove.
2. The reader. Yes, several times I’ve seen people with books, balanced on their steering wheels reading and driving at the same time. No, not stopped in traffic, but while driving down the highway. I never know whether to speed up and try to pass them or hang back and hope when they run off the road I can get around them somehow. Or pull up along side and ask what the heck their reading that is worth risking life and limb.
3. Lady who’s got something important, other than a child, in the backseat. Hey! Turn around! We’ve missed four cycles of the left turn arrow because you’re giving your teacup Maltese a pedicure or spot treating the floor mats or something up there. And the crotchety, honk-happy guy driving a rusty truck full of scrap metal behind me, thinks I’m to blame. Either pull over or have a child that can do things for you while you’re driving.
4. Nose picker. We can all see it. Sitting in a car doesn’t make you invisible to the world. Stop it. How can I tell my kids not to pick their noses in public when you keep showing up next to us? (Okay, this guy or gal isn’t scary but gross, just really, gross.)
5. Rubberneckers. Accidents happen. They close lanes and create traffic jams. However, curious folk who want to upload gruesome photos to Instagram don’t have to. Keep it moving!
6. Couples who make out in their cars while stopped in front of me. So you had a great dinner at Olive Garden, fine. Save the dessert for when you get home.
7. Mr. Handy with his seven pieces of plywood tied to the roof of his minivan. Surely those pieces of twine and that hand of yours placed aside the lumber as you drive will prevent them from sliding off and crashing into my van at the next red light. At least when you’re hauling a mattress set, I can expect my family truckster to emerge relatively unscathed. Maybe you’ll even knock free that Smart Car that’s been stuck in my grill for a month.
And this doesn’t even include the obvious cell phone talkers and texters, the angry drivers who use their middle finger as a turn signal and the Sunday drivers of all ages who think 25 mph is the universal speed limit. If you consistently use a turn signal, know how to correctly merge and only use the left lane to pass or drive fast, I invite you to add your suggestions to my list, and of course, view the other Seven Quick Takes.