I read a post the other day, from another very fine, very cool blogger http://deborah-bryan.com/2011/04/28/road-rage-takes-a-spill-or-how-parenting-is-making-me-a-better-driver/ who talked about her adventures in driving. It brought me back, I tell you. I too have had adventures driving and almost all of them happened with a kid in a car, usually my kid and my car.
My daughter was very young, in a booster seat, as we drove down a residential street close to our home (before I get lots of hate mail, I did NOT have an airbag on the passenger side of my then car!). This was a main feeder street with bus stops and what-have-yous.
We came to a four-way stop sign and I was patiently waiting our turn (I really was!) when an elderly woman came right up to my car and opened the passenger-side door? My daughter looked at me to see if this was okay. No. No it wasn’t okay. Did I know her? Nope. I asked this woman if she was lost but she kept trying to move my daughter out of her seat and saying what sounded like “taxi?” over and over again. I kept trying to tell her this was NOT a taxi and to please go away. My girl held on to the seat belt and wouldn’t let go. This woman did not seem to understand English and I knew no other languages except bad ones, which was not appropriate to use in this case. I finally used the PRNDL and got out. Several people who were backed up behind me also exited their vehicles to see if they could help. This was before most people had cell phones. I got the woman to let go of my daughter, who promptly undid her own seat belt and leapt into my arms, clinging to me like a barnacle on Davy Jones’ ass. My daughter clung, not the elderly woman. There was a house nearby and a helpful woman came out and said she would call a taxi.
I hope it was a taxi she wanted and not my daughter.
My girl was so great. Not a tear or a shriek. Me either. She did have some anxiety and I had to bring her with me through the driver’s door and back into her seat again. Buckling up a booster seat from that angle? It’s a very bad word. My girl giggled and giggled as I grunted and swore and grinned at her through the sweat stinging my eyes, then she ended up giving me a huge kiss on my nose.
Since then, we both lock our doors almost as soon as we roll.
I seem to have a habit of trying to teach other drivers the rules of the road. Especially at four-way stops. Most people just don’t stop. One time I had my son with me, who was about 8 when we came to a really STUPID four-way stop sign. It was clearly my turn when a total Nimrod decided he didn’t have to stop. What did I do? I was in front of him in a flash and stopped. My son was saying “Mom” in a warning voice but I waited. The guy had stopped and was swearing and shaking his fist. I let him do that for about 10 seconds then, with a huge smile on my face mouthed very clearly “wait your turn asshole” then drove away to a frenzy of honking. My boy was tres embarrassed.
Soon after, this particular four-way stop was replaced with traffic lights. I like to think I had a hand in the revolution. Conquered.
You know, come to think of it, all of this was during my pre-medication life. Explains some things.
Yet another time my son and I were going down the same residential street with the same four-way stop signs. My infant daughter was in the back seat in her car seat. A company van was following me so close, I could see the colour of the driver’s eyes. After about 3 stop signs he was not letting up. At the 4th stop sign I engaged the PRNDL, listened to my son moan and watched him slump down in his seat and got out of my car.
I walked over to this guy. I could smell the fear wafting through his open window. He had is face in his hand. I took out the pad of paper and a pen that I kept in the car, didn’t say a word and wrote down the plate number, the name of the company who owned the van and their phone number. All I said to him was… hmm, well I don’t remember what I said but I do remember him hiding his face and saying “Lady, just get back in your car.” I’m sure whatever I did say was profound and made a new man out of him. I finally did get back in my car. There was quite a long lineup behind him but he stayed there until I was 2 blocks away. My son was so embarrassed. I called the company to lodge a complaint. They said it was a “new guy”. I wouldn’t accept that as an excuse since “new guys” do know not to drive like that. I called the police and they issued the guy a ticket.
Well my son is now a grown up and drives too. And he’s great. Good thing I had plenty of time to get all those people straightened out for him. He learned from the best.
That would be me. 🙂