On long cross-country drives, it is not unusual for me to find my Newman, that innocuously evil nemesis who seems intent on ruining the flow of my driving or simply driving me insane.
Their driving travesties are honestly not that bad when compared with say, global terrorism or Barney, but they’re just annoying enough to make me slam back a diet cherry coke, ask incredulous questions to no one in particular and tense my hands in the 10 and 2 position to make the steering wheel feel my pain.
This last trip I did not run up against the ever-heinous long-term-blinker addict. However I did experience a touch of the exasperated-that-I’m-only-going-10-over-the-speed-limit-elaborately-gesticulating-tailgating-headlight-flicker-er, and the you’ll-thank-me-for-my-high-beams-in-your-rearview-mirror-when-you-eventually-go-blind-and-don’t-have-to-watch-The-Fantastic-Four-Part-15-a-couple-years-from-now-ite.
However, the most annoying this trip was the woman who graduated from the driving school where they preach vehemently against conformity such as the use of cruise control or any kind of control over the speed of your vehicle. It must be a large and successful driving academy because I come across its students with frequency.
Why it should bother me that a person passes me only to slow down to below the speed limit so I can pass her at a steady 70 miles per hour, only to have her blow past me like I’m a pylon 2 minutes later, pull back in front of me and slam on her brakes, I’ll never know.
But she is my nemesis and I feel that she must be stopped. After about the 3rd time she passes me, my patience begins to fail. I say things like, “Ratchin fratchen fruggen!” and grip the wheel more tightly. Eventually I begin the drinking and in a battle of wills, I vow to maintain my speed of 70 or veer off the road in the attempt.
It is a standoff. I with my cruise control and she with her blatant spedometeric insanity.
I know I should be worried about much more important things but in a several hour drive with a little boy who points out every rock, tree, blade of grass, speck of dirt, piece of water and cow we pass and repeats his observations frantically until they are acknowledged with a respectful level of frenzied excitement, little things tend to catch my attention.
Is it illegal to ram someone’s taillight to silence their eternal turn signal or is that just considered a public service?