So, picture me, driving at dusk, on a major freeway. I’m free of children and husband, headed toward an important business meeting, which is also kind of social, because I only work with people I like. I jam out when I drive. Tunes are cranked, and you can bet I sing along. I also dance. Those people who dance behind the wheel? I’m one of those people. I was also driving my husband’s car, which is sportier and zippier than my mom-wagon, so I was feeling wild and free. I mean, within reason. I’m still ME.
I’m approaching my exit and this car rolls up next to me and matches my speed. Now, as an excellent driver, I am super annoyed by not excellent drivers. “Why are you matching my speed!?!?” Grrrrrrrr. “Just PASS me already!” They were on my left, so it’s not like they were annoyed with my perfectly reasonable 65. I refused to look over and make eye contact.
The thing about the car-as-personal-recording-studio is creepers. When I’m at a stoplight and I’ve been “caught” rockin’ out to the Sing soundtrack with my kids, I often get the creeper stare. This is different than the “I feel you” stare, which is total solidarity. The creeper stare is smarmy, gross, insinuating. I’ve just outed myself as wild and carefree with my sweet steering wheel moves, so innuendo finds its way into the creeper stare. I avoid it at all costs.
So, I’m approaching my exit and this jackass is still matching my speed. I will not look. My exit is almost here. But then that joke of a driver CUTS ME OFF and takes my exit right in front of me! “Are you LOST are something!??!” WTH. Fine. We didn’t collide. Whatever. Stoplight at this exit. Creeper turns left with me. Goes REALLY slowly. “So lost. What an idiot. Get a GPS, dude.” Approaching next stoplight. Creeper is weaving between the lanes to stay in front of me. All I can think now is that I need to just get past this crazy person. Another stoplight. Creeper stops a good twenty yards before the light. I see this as my opportunity to get past. Creeper creeps up on me AGAIN. Green light. I go. Hard. “I just have to lose this whackadoo.” Another red light. For the love of Pete. This time, Creeper almost hits me, as he crosses the center line to stop me. Window is rolled down. Hand motions are active.
It’s not a creeper. It’s a woman. She is smiling and kind. Waving frantically, but still kind-faced. I roll my window down, agape.
Her: “HONEY! Your lights aren’t on!”
Her: “You’re welcome!”
Me: [weird stare as she has no idea what I’ve been thinking for the last four minutes]
At the next stoplight, she hangs a U-turn. As I silently curse the auto technician who changed the lights on my husband’s car that afternoon from Auto to Off, the whole realization starts to sweep over me. She just turned around. And headed back to the freeway. My creeper was actually my savior. She LEFT the freeway, diverting herself what ended up being probably eight to ten minutes, almost crashed into me, just to SAVE MY SORRY ASS from either getting a ticket or in an accident.
Holy Hannah. Not only did I want to chase her down (I didn’t; talk about creeper) to thank her, I was so mad at myself. When had this become the default? When did I start assuming the worst in people? I was so damn sure that person creeping on me and weaving all over the damn place was a weirdo who needed a map or some manners. But the whole time, she was trying to help me. And if I just would’ve looked over on the freeway, I would’ve known that. And saved her the trouble. But she WENT to the trouble anyway. So, to the woman on the freeway, who chased me down to warn me my lights weren’t on, thank you. Thank you for being so good that you went out of your way to serve a stranger. Thank you for persisting, as I very obviously tried to shirk you. Thank you for reminding me to assume the GOOD in people, instead of the worst.
I wonder if she didn’t go to the extra effort because she was impressed with my sick beats? I look reallllly good when I’m rockin’ out. She must’ve seen the wild look in my eyes indicating a recent break from domestic captivity. She knew I needed some guidance. Thanks, freeway friend.