We have a running joke in our family. Whenever we go on trips with my husband, he insists on driving. But for some uncanny reason, whenever he’s behind the wheel, all the crazy drivers come out, and he’s constantly having to battle with people who “have NO IDEA how to drive!” What’s really odd, though, is whenever I take the kids on a trip, I rarely encounter those same loony drivers. For me, it’s like the roads open up, the sky becomes clear, and I am able to get through a trip without anyone seeming to run me off the road or aggravate me on purpose. Hmmm.
In fact, just yesterday I completed a 16-hour round-trip car ride with the kids — sans the hubby – to and from Florida. This is about the third time I’ve done this trip solo with the kids, and it’s always a surprisingly easy and smooth ride. Just four major interstates, literally less than 10 turns, and BOOM – we’re there. Once again, the ride down was easy peasy as usual. The ride home – not so much. It seemed a couple of those crazies (who usually bother my husband) decided to take it up with me.
Yep, I am talking about my first encounter with road rage. And several hours later (as I write this post) I can’t decide if I’m terrified, mortified or totally pumped up about the whole ordeal.
First of all, I’ve never been a granny driver. For most interstates, I keep a steady 10 miles above the speed limit (let’s admit, most of us do this, right?). I rarely ride along in the left lane unless I am trying to pass someone in the right lane (those who hog the left lane drive me batty). But if someone is going ridiculously slow in the left lane, I am not afraid to ride up on their tail to make them move over (again, we all do this, right?).
So here I was keeping pace behind a row of cars in the left lane of a major interstate (we were probably traveling at 75 miles an hour – not slow!), as we passed a slew of tractor trailers and other cars on the right. A typical mom, I was snacking on goldfish and sipping a Diet Coke. The kids were engrossed in their videos and coloring books (yes, I am that type of car parent). Everything was hunky dory. Then BAM – this souped-up SUV pulls up to my right from out of nowhere with two 30-something guys in the front. And the driver (along with his extremely long extended middle finger) is hanging out his window, banging the side of his car, and screaming obscenities at me.
Seriously people, I have no idea what I did. There were a million cars all around me; it’s not like I was holding up traffic. At first I pretended I didn’t notice him (and thankfully my kids had no idea what was going on), but then my heart started racing and my palms started sweating. A few second later he pulled up alongside me again screaming, but this time I slowed down so I could turn and flash him a HUGE giggly smile and wildly waved at him as if to say, “What’s up buddy!” I have no idea what got in me to do that. It was stupid because it only incensed him more, yet I can’t tell you how gratifying that felt!
For several miles after that, he tried to pry his way in between me and the car in front of me. I never looked at him again. Instead, I stared straight ahead – held my hands in the 10 and 2 position – and kept a steady pace behind the car in front of me. But for the love of Pete I was not going to let him in! And I didn’t. He got lost in the sea of cars surrounding us and I never saw him again. I felt like I had won, and it was awesome!
What is wrong with me? That could have produced an incredibly dangerous outcome – not to mention I was a solo female transporting my kids. Not smart! But I have to admit – knowing I got the better of that yahoo seemed to make me feel better.
Trust me, this will be my once-in-a-lifetime road rage battle. I hung up my gloves and will go back to making fun of my husband’s huffiness.
What about you? Can you relate? Have you – or your significant other – ever been in a similar situation? How did it leave you feeling? Do you think I was crazy to act the way I did?