So, I’m having a conversation about tailgaters with a friend and the quasi-spouse. Close-call stories are being related that illustrate the hazards of tailgating but what I mainly construe is how slow the person in front of the “close call” was going. The loathing of people who text-while-driving obviously extends to bumper-humpers, too.
There’re many bumper-stickers about this topic:
- The closer you get, the slower I drive
- In a hurry? Not my problem
- Sorry for driving so close in front of you
- Faster than Molasses.
My personal favorite because I’m often crabbily saying, “Could you drive any slower?”:
- YES, I can drive slower.
A rebuttal bumper-sticker:
- If you drove any slower, you’d be parked.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not an advocate of tailgating, but, if I’m passing you on the right while driving the freeway, you’re in the wrong lane for leisurely travel. In Italy, it’s illegal to be in the left lane—as in the USA—unless you’re passing. Cars will flash lights, honk and tailgate until you change lanes. Those drivers may drive at speeds that some in the States feel is ridiculously fast but, over there, slower drivers are thoughtful and courteous instead of stubbornly self-righteous like here in the USA. And THEY OBLIGINGLY MOVE OVER.
I come by my feelings naturally. My mamma was a lead-foot, and I grew up with gentle verbal venting from both parents: “What?! You have cakes/eggs in the trunk?!” (mamma) “If I had that guy’s car and he had a feather up his ass, we’d both be tickled.”(dad) Next, my ex, who would regularly remark, “Green means GO in Colorado” or “Gas pedal’s on the right.”
We who listened to our adults amicably bitch about “other drivers” tend to pass this behavior on. When Tara was a toddler and we were waiting for Steve in the car, she stood in the driver’s seat turning the wheel, pretended to honk and in her sweet baby voice said, “Beep Beep!” Futching Atso!!” When Steve slid in, I said, “Hmmm, we don’t want Tara’s first phrase to be ‘Fucking Asshole,’ do we?” We probably managed about 4-5 days before ineffectively spouting some useless language that other drivers couldn’t even hear. Some years later I remember saying to Dario, “See how pointless this is? Their window’s closed; my window’s closed…Don’t do this when you drive.” Unfortunately, we often learn by osmosis.
Yes, tailgating is foolish. Texting is downright deadly. But couldn’t we all be a bit kinder? A tad more tolerant, less mean speech? At least my parents, my ex, myself and my kids are just venting. We’re not spewing self-righteous toxins at those who’re young, or untaught or just different. Nothing justifies nasty.
Which is worse, tailgating or poky driving? Both suck. Still, for me it’s about consideration. Couldn’t we all carry a bit more grace? Grace for the fearful, old or mellow; grace for those who hear a speedier rhythm and prefer to drive that pace. There is no right or wrong here, except intolerance.