Amy Brenneman
Amy Brenneman

April 30, 2013

Driving on my street

I live on a busy street.


Shouldn’t be busy, but it parallels a main drag so my street has become a cut-through, a way to avoid the gas stations and streetlights and speed limits.


The actual speed limit on my street is 20 (I think), but people regularly steam through at 50 mph.  There are speed bumps that don’t slow them down – it actually seems to jack these drivers up – a NASCAR challenge! – as their expensive BMW axles slam into the ground.


I’ve become a crazy old lady.  Dressed in my jammies and holding my newspaper and coffee I wave at them with Old Testament judgment:  “Slow DOWN!!!!”  They laugh at me, as I laugh at women like me, when I’m not being one.  I seem to dissuade them not one bit.


My favorite is driving ahead of a tailgater who is just steaming at the injustice of actually going the speed limit!  I trundle along my merry way, going 20 mph, or just because I’m ornery, 15 mph.  They flash their lights, but what can I do?  There is no “passing lane” on what used to be my sleepy lane.  I pretend not to see the flashing lights or feel the oozy green bile shooting my way.


The misery does not last.  My street is not long, and I turn into my driveway.  What comes next is my favorite – the literal screeching of wheels as my driving partner pulls out.  Screeching of wheels, the automotive middle finger damning me to hell.


I guess I enjoy this too – this heated interaction with a stranger.  It’s so childish – makes my second grader’s recess interactions seem mature.  But before long, I find myself saying a prayer, sending some breath and time to this driver who seems to have none.  I know the feeling.  Easy to swap places.  But from birds’ eye view?  It’s caveman-bananas.