Monday, November 26, 2012

Tailgating, and not for a football game

I went to Costco tonight all by myself. I wandered through the food, the gifts, the clothes (which at my Costco seem to be tailored to middle-aged women with no fashion sense, and a propensity toward layering). It felt like such a luxury to take my time and not have to run to the potty or wipe up anything that spilled or buy anybody a hotdog.

On the way home I drove down the country road that connects Costco to our town. The speed changes a few times reflecting how close you get to civilization. At one point I was pulled out of my serenity when I looked in my rear view mirror and saw the car behind me following quite close. I looked at my speedometer and I was going the speed limit, maybe even a mile or two over. I tapped on my breaks and said aloud "Get off my tail."

Suddenly I remembered the first time I had ever been aware of a tailgater. I was 10 and we were staying at the Homestead Resort in Utah for a family reunion. It was the last reunion I remember that involved the descendants of my maternal grandmother and all of her 8 sisters. It was a big deal, and we were excited.

My cousins were in town from Arizona and somehow, my oldest brother Nathan was driving our light blue Oldsmobile up Provo canyon filled with kids. My cousin Jim was in the front seat next to him, the bench behind them filled with probably two more of my brothers and another cousin. My sister Liza and I sat in the back. Not in a seat, just in the cargo area (because you could in those days). And we listened to the boys talk.

Our car was slow and heavy and it didn't like climbing those canyon roads. Especially with such a load. Suddenly I heard Nathan comment on how close the car behind us was. He said he was going to tap his breaks and tell the guy to back off. Jim said something like, "I'm going to flip him off" and I saw his arm go out the window.

Immediately, I looked out the back window at the guy in the white Cadillac and I gave him the bird. He pulled out and sped past us as soon as it was legal and gave Nathan a dirty look. I came to find out later, (after Liza ratted me out) that Jim had been joking. I didn't know what the middle finger meant any more than I knew that riding someone's bumper like that was dangerous. I was just caught up in the moment.

Once I neared the lights of my little town tonight, I looked again in the mirror at the car behind me. I saw he was turning left as I was turning right. I kind of hoped that as we came up to the line I would actually know him and laugh at tapping my brakes and putting him in his place. But I didn't.

And then I went home. Still glad that I hadn't flipped him off.


Lyssa said...

Oh, to think of sweet little Susanna flipping somebody off. It makes me smile. Miss you.

elizabeth said...

and good that someone was there to rat on you, right? i remember that day so well!