Saturday, August 22, 2009

Letter to Aspiring NASCAR Driver

Dear Driver of the little sedan that passed me at 85 mph,

The phrase "behind the wheel" has always puzzled me.

As you sit in the driver's seat, I'm pretty sure the part of the steering wheel that faces you is its front. If you were sitting behind the wheel, you would be on the dashboard, blocking the view of the speedometer.

Perhaps that is what was happening in your car as you drove through Bangor on I-95 on a recent lazy, sunny afternoon.

Did fate bring us together? There I was, meandering along in the passing lane at 65 mph in a 55 mph zone (how dare I?), creeping up to go by a grandmotherly person in a Buick, when you careened up to the bumper of my pickup, close enough to count any microscopic scratches on the tail gate.

And there you patiently waited, for close to ten seconds, as we snaked through Maine's third-largest city. Then you started honking your horn, leading me to suspect there was some emergency. You were too close to my bumper for me to see your four-way flashers.

So I squeezed between two cars in the other lane and let you by. No flashers, but your passenger did signal me with your middle finger as you blew by so quickly that I couldn't even see what state your license plate represented.

Forgive me for not recognizing that the driver of a 1998 Saturn dictates the flow of heavy traffic, not the dozens of other cars comfortably cruising along at 60 to 65. How could I have not seen how important you were? Your authority as a motorist was obvious, in retrospect. You must be the kind of person the insurance companies hire to talk on the radio about how many discounts they get because they're such good drivers. The rest of us are just nose-picking Sunday-driving numbskulls who couldn't drive our way out of a paper bag.

True, my four-year-old daughter sat next to me in the truck, and I'd rather she not be traveling at unsafe speeds in any vehicle. But I also would rather she not see someone's middle finger, so I am guilty of subjecting her to your wrath. Why did I not allow your poor planning and apparent lateness for work to take precedence over her safety and innocence? O, the shame!

I nearly called the cops on your pretentious, spoiled, vomit-inducing, wart-covered stressball narcissistic ass, but I quickly realized this would put me on the cell phone while driving at law-breaking speed, and I might threaten your candidacy for Driver of the Year. I decided you were not worth it.

Look it's not like I've never done some stupid things behind -- er, in front of the wheel. Back in my wild youth, I hit 90 mph trying to get to Boston in time for a hockey game. But at least I did not blame the other drivers for the fact that I was hoping to cover 250 miles in under two hours. That was strictly my tomfoolery.

But if I had killed somebody's four-year-old, that would be inadequate consolation, to say the least.

But these things only happen to other people, right?

So forget I said anything.

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