For years now, I have occasionally seen this woman on my way to work in the morning. She is easily recognizable driving in her cutesy Hyundai Santa Fe, with her personalized license plate and adorable Winnie the Pooh license plate holder.
I would get behind her and she would always be driving 5 MPH under the speed limit. I thought perhaps my speedometer was wrong, so I gave her the benefit of the doubt and tried not to tailgate. Fast forward a few years and she has a new car (Same color. Same make. Same model. Same faded freakin’ plate holder and same plate). I also have a new car. She’s still driving 5 MPH under the speed limit. It’s not my broken speedometer, it’s her driving.
At the beginning of the 2009-2010 school year, she started showing up at the bus stop at the bottom of my street. There are only 17 houses on my street, I assumed she bought the house right next door. Every single day, no matter how early I got to the bus stop, she was there. I stationed Sugar at the window to watch for her a few times, but we never saw her. I concluded that she must leave for the bus stop at the ass crack of dawn.
Not only was she at the bus stop every day, but she would go around the bus every morning while traffic was stopped, so she could be “first” or whatever her issue was. I came unglued and called the police. Apparently, three other neighbors called the police as well. Mind you, she did this daredevil move every morning, but as soon as she hit the open road, she’d slow down to 5 miles under the speed limit.
I try everything in my power to get away from her. I stop and get gas. I wait and let her get a big head start. But every single day, without fail, I end up back behind her. If she happens to miraculously reach the appropriate speed out on that big, scary road, she panics, hits the brakes and slows down to 10 MPH under the speed limit. She also has this annoying habit of looking down side streets that feed into the road we are traveling.If there’s anyone within her line of sight, she STOPS and lets them go in front of her.
But you know what? She still gets to be first because she drives so slow. She’s always like the lead clown car in her very own personal freak parade. Every morning I stare out the rearview mirror at the long line of traffic trailing us. Sometimes I even yell “stupid lady” at her in hopes that she can hear me.
I found out at the beginning of this school year that she does not in fact live on our street. She lives elsewhere in our town, but this pick-up time works best with her work schedule. She can drop her son off and still make it to work on time. Here’s a novel idea: drive the speed limit, maybe even a touch over. You will feel exhilarated AND get to work on time. Become friends with your gas pedal: it’s the one on the right. Use it before I lose it.