Here’s Why You Shouldn’t Make New Year’s Resolutions While Driving


When I lived in New York City, I didn’t really have a problem with road rage. This was most likely due to the fact that I didn’t have a car. Once we moved to the suburbs, though, we got a car and I actually had to do quite a bit of driving. I soon learned that the suburbs are filled with bad drivers. And most of them, it seemed, were always right in front of me. Or behind me. Or cutting me off. Or stealing my parking space. My usual calm response to this was a few choice words, some fist-shaking, and an occasional, full-blown hissy fit.

Although I came by this both genetically and geographically, I realized that I might live a little longer if I resolved to be a kinder, gentler driver. For a while, I was much better. When people cut me off, I would just smile and wave them on. If someone tailgated me, I would pull over and let them pass. When somebody else swooped in and stole the mall parking spot I’d been waiting for and there weren’t any other spots within a mile of the mall entrance, I just let her have it (the spot… I let her have the spot!).

Then one day I found myself behind a car that was going so slowly, it might as well have been going backwards. I immediately took note of the fact that the car was a big, old, cream-colored Lincoln Continental with Florida plates and a bumper sticker that said, “I Voted For Lincoln.” It also seemed, quite mysteriously, to be driving itself. Well, that’s not exactly true. I could see a pair of hands on the steering wheel, but there was no head. It was a headless, Floridian driver doing 10 miles an hour in a 35 mile-an-hour zone on a one-lane road and I was stuck behind it, losing my mind.

If ever there was a recipe for road rage, here it was. Of course, I was very late for an appointment, to boot, so what little patience I had wore thin after two miles. I thought, all we needed was a couple of floats, a marching band, and some Snoopy balloons and we could have our own suburban parade.

For four miles I tailgated the headless driver, getting more and more frustrated, and mentally willing him/her/it to pull over, or turn, or be beamed up to an alien space ship and flown away. Finally, we got to a major intersection, and the Lincoln pulled over to make a turn. I pulled up next to it and looked over. There, behind the wheel, was a very old lady, about 200 years old. I immediately felt awful for tailgating her and belatedly recalled my New Year’s resolution.

I gave her a weak smile and a little, apologetic wave of my hand.

The itty bitty old lady looked over at me, raised her hand in return…

And gave me the finger.

©2012, Beckerman. All rights reserved.

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