While a friend was having significant changes made to her house, I would sometimes cover for her, while she was at work during the day, when men were working there. I would go there in the morning and stay until she returned in the evening, before leaving to go back home myself. Sometimes we would sit out on the new patio and have a glass of wine while watching the sun set.
On one such evening, it was already almost dark by the time I left. I headed out on the minor highway towards home. The road started with two lanes in each direction, became divided for a short while, then reduced to one lane, un-divided, each way. Occasionally a third lane appeared for left-turning traffic, between the other two lanes, avoiding massive traffic jams, then quickly disappeared and the road returned to being a two lane highway.
Sometimes drivers used these third, middle lanes not for turning, but to try to pass slower snail-like traffic. I wasn’t immune from such transgressions, but only if a vehicle was a real snail, and there was plenty of room and time, and when nothing was coming towards us which could precipitate an accident.
On the evening in question, I was driving home in my little car, which frequently had grossly over-inflated illusions of its prowess. The big black SUVs, on the other hand, seemed to look down on us and think of us as roaches which should be squooshed underfoot. These big black Darth Vader/Goliaths had power and acceleration which could leave us in the dust, especially on hills, where, if we didn’t get a good running start, we simply had to tuck in on the right and wait till the odds were a little more even. We knew they would win in the end but were happy to give them a good run for their money!
On that particular night, it was already very dark, when, half-way home, I noticed one of these monsters coming roaring up behind us, moving into the middle lane, passing the second car behind us, and obviously intending to pass the next car and us also. Then, coming round the left-bend in the road ahead of us, traffic appeared travelling towards us, very fast. The monster would have difficulty passing the car behind me, and me, in time to return to the right lane before the middle lane ended. I wasn’t feeling kindly disposed towards such behavior and instead of slowing down, like a dutiful minion in my little car, I instead changed down and accelerated, making room for him to filter in behind us.
Mr. Vader apparently didn’t approve of this and threw down the gauntlet, accelerating even more. He was inching ahead of me but the demise of the middle lane was fast approaching and the traffic coming at him was close enough that, if I didn’t yield, there could well be a nasty accident. Although furious at his lack of manners, I didn’t want to precipitate an accident, and end up in hospital. The Monster was a lot bigger than my little car and would no doubt fare better in any close encounter of the unwanted kind.
We yielded, with very bad grace, and in the darkness, as (s)he accelerated away I kept on his tail. To indicate my disapproval, I just flicked my brights. Scary – but I figured he should know just how I felt.
In return he…..
flicked his Red, White and Blues!