How do you like those cat-like reflexes?
February 12, 2011 § 14 Comments
Last night, as Annie and I were returning from our food-finding mission for dinner, we had quite a little adventure. Before I explain what happened, please know these few facts: 1. we’re both fine, 2. the car’s fine, and 3. I know Annie shouldn’t be sitting in the front seat. This will probably be her last trip up there with me. So…please refrain from scolding me…I spent the evening in utter doggie-mom hell, completely riddled with guilt.
So, here’s what happened. We were returning from the video store (the…like, one that’s left in our town), made it past most of the treacherous high-traffic areas, and were safely in the 35 MPH zone, drifting gently past a series of newly built doctors’ offices at 30 MPH. And then all of a sudden…
The little green car in front of me slams on her brakes.
“What the hell?” I ask myself, slamming on my brakes, quickly checking my rearview to make sure the guy behind me did the same.
The little green car picks up speed, and we return to our 30 in a 35. Now I’m on high alert. I continue to drift behind the little green car, double-checking that I can still see pavement between her tires and the end of my car’s hood. And all of a sudden…
This time I press on my horn as I slam on my brakes, both out of frustration and to warn the guy behind me that something’s wrong up ahead. It suddenly dawns on me: this driver in front of me seems to think that I am following too close. Which is funny because I’m at a safe distance…as evidenced by the fact that I haven’t yet made it into her backseat. Saying a couple of swears and gesticulating wildly (fully aware that she cannot see my crazy wide arms asking “what’s up, bitch?” under the cover of darkness), I resume my 30 MPH.
I whisper a prayer under my breath. “Please, please, please don’t turn left….”
As we approach the light at the end of our road, I cannot quite tell which of the three lanes she’s about to take. Will she veer left and go with me home? Or will she continue straight? Or, perhaps she’s in a hurry to go to Bruster’s for some evening ice cream and will take a right? Impatient to know what she’s about to do, and fully aware that I have a car behind me, too, I click on my left turn indicator and start to inch forward a little. She swings in front of me without a blinker and suddenly
This time, my tires squeal beneath me as I slam on my brakes. I lay on my horn for a ridiculous length of time, and Annie slips off the front seat and slides awkwardly to the floor in front of her. I think she either bumped her head or her paw on my tuner because the radio station changed. I did not hit the car in front of me. I was not hit by the car behind me. The light was red, and I was stuck behind this horrible person for a few seconds until we finally got the left turn signal.
I hesitated. I had two lanes to choose from when I turned left, and I fully intended to watch Little Miss Sporty Green Car to see which lane she would choose…because I would go in the other one and fast. To my delight, she veered not to the right-hand lane, but to the right-turn lane for the little shopping center on the corner…and stopped. Came to a complete stop. And lowered her window…and leaned out.
All of this happened in a matter of seconds, but I did not stop to shoot her a bird, a glare, or anything. I took my happy ass to the left-hand lane and got to 45 MPH absolutely as quickly as I could get, ever watchful of my rearview mirror.
As soon as I realized that I had nearly missed rear-ending another driver three times (because of that driver!) and that my poor sweet little Annie had bumped either her little noggin or her paw on that last slam, that’s when I started to shake. Violently. To the point that my jaw was chattering. I did the only reasonable thing I could think to do–call Robert. That’s reasonable and safe, right? Driving in utter shock and on the phone? I think the braking rattled some logical centers loose in my brain.
But, just like I knew would happen, as soon as I heard his voice say, “Hello?” my jaw stopped chattering. I could see the road now. I slowed down. I was still shaking, my heart was still slamming against my chest, but everything was starting to calm down now that Robert was “with” me in the car.
I spent the evening so rattled by this experience that I started to doubt my memory. Did I hit that car? Was I hit? Maybe that’s why she pulled off. Because I actually hit her. Oh, shit. Did I leave the scene of an accident?? Was I going to be discovered by the police at some point and brought in? What do they even do to people who leave the scene of an accident when that person doesn’t even realize there had been an accident? Surely that’s worse than actually leaving the scene intentionally…because leaving it without knowing there had been an accident suggests that the culprit was distracted or not paying close enough attention or impaired or something.
When I took Annie outside for her second potty break after returning home, I took her around the front of the house to check the car. No green paint had transferred onto my car. No dents were to be found. Because I didn’t touch that car. And I wasn’t touched by another car.
It took a few hours yesterday evening, but I finally calmed down sometime around 9:30 p.m.
I’ll tell you, the woman behind the wheel of that green car, whatever her motives were for slamming on her brakes like that, is ridiculously lucky that 1. I have wonderful reflexes and 2. my car’s brake system is top-notch.
This is part of the reason why I hate living in a college town. The driver was a college student. (As evidenced by the hangtag dangling from her rearview mirror.) College students like to believe they are the only drivers on the road and that, when they encounter another driver, that their own concerns and needs are top priority. That stupid bitch. If her little green car and my SUV got into a fight, guess who would come out on top every time? Yeah. Like I said: lucky her that I have awesome brakes.