Dear Foaming-at-the-Mouth, F-Bomb Dropping, Careful-Your-Face-May-Stay-that-Way, Late-to-See-Her-Convicted-Felon-Beau, Road Rager Who Flipped Off My Beautiful Kid Just Learning to Drive:
(Just a guess on the convicted felon love affair, but since a state prison is one of the sole employers in town, and you are clearly not from here, I’m guessing the only way you happened by was for family & friends day up on the hill.)
So really, lady.
Was it really necessary to try to pass on the right? Then the left? In our tiny town, at 5:30 congested with work, school, sports, church carpoolers, and at least one newly permitted, scared learning to drive 16-year-old?
“Keep calm,” I told her. “No biggie.” You may be in a rush for day care pick up, but she needn’t be alarmed.
She did everything right. You needn’t have flashed your lights again and again, at the clearly labeled NO TURN ON RED traffic light, across from the orthodontist, where everybody knows cops lay in wait to catch the out-of-towners?
I told her you were probably from out of town and didn’t know you can’t turn right. Not to worry.
Did you need to lay on the horn and nearly scare the bejesus out of her and me right in front of St. If You Don’t Go Here You’re Not Going There, which thinks it’s the only holy site in town and shuts down the entire main drag with their own rent-a-cop to let the little doobie-do-gooders-in-training out from mandatory how-to-be-a-good-person school taught by some of the slickest moms in town? (relax homies, i said ‘some.’)
It was night.
The rent-a-cop glowed in the dark. She was following directions. If only St. Do-Gooders had a real cop, perhaps he would have been clued into your violent tendencies and known instinctively how the worst was yet to come.
Kid2 is a new driver. We were on our way to driver’s ed. She listens. Takes this very seriously. Studies hard. Is saving every cent for a car. We practice driving. Slow and steady.
But not too slow, just “I have my permit so take it easy on me slow.”
She’s a rule follower. Analytical. A gear head. Cautious. Nothing at all like her mom.
But unless you’re racing to the ER, relax. This is village driving and she doesn’t suck. Because if she did, this mom would let her know all too quickly. No assistance necessary from you, thank-you-very-much Ms. Whackjob.
But you weren’t going to the ER. You weren’t in that much of a hurry at all, because when we cautiously entered the diner to switch drivers before really scary highway driving, you followed us. And cut us off, rolled down your window and my kid, thought you wanted directions. So she rolled down hers and smiled. I saw her smile. She wanted to help you.
But you yelled so loud and fast it was confusing and at first we thought you didn’t speak English, but then I leaned forward to see your face. And knew.
That hatred and seething anger. It was like in a movie. Over what? Driving 25 in a 30?
You scared me, screaming and yelling like I stole your kid, that cigarette bobbing up and down on your bottom lip, a glow stick illuminating flying spit sparks with every curse word you spewed. You scared me like you might climb out and grab my beautiful daughter and…and…and, so I went into mom mode.
Well fuck you, you impatient mean, nasty, violent road rager. Fuck you very much.
Which is what I wanted to say, while clambering out of my passenger’s seat, diving out the driver side window to grab you by your throat and make you apologize to my girl, my beautiful driving daughter working and focusing so hard.
My babygirl, so excited to be growing up and learning to drive.
Doing the right thing.
In the snow.
So carefully and diligent I was wishing she always be this cautious and careful and protected. And safe.
Before you started in with the hate and violence and rage.
Kid2: “What’s wrong with that lady, Mom? Why is she so mad? Did I do something wrong?”
Me: “I don’t know, honey. Just smile and wave, okay?
To the lady: “Thanks so much!”
Which we did.
Smiling. And waving and giggling like a couple of goofballs.
“Thanks! Have a good day!”
“Okay, thank you!”
“See ya! Bye, now! Drive safe!”
I, uncomfortably louder and louder than Kid2, reaching across her lap to zip up the window to protect her from the seething words flying in.
All the while the cigarette bobbed up and down, spit sparkled and rage roared.
“FUCKING LEARN TO DRIVE BITCH!”she screeched, flipping us off as she peeled out of the safety of the Diner’s parking lot.
We are lady. Thank you so very much, we are.