“Those darn Sunday drivers,” my dad used to shout when someone got in front of him that seemed to be taking a leisurely drive through weekday rush hour traffic. “Where did you get your license? From a Kmart blue light special?”
Nowadays, I am privy to what he meant with the words he used to mumble under his breath while my sisters and I were in the car with him.
The other day I was on my way to run some errands. I was in no hurry. Generally, when I drive alone, I like to play a game I call “Who’s Driving?”
Before I can even see the driver – just by the vehicle and the way he or she is driving, I like to guess who I believe is behind the wheel. It gives my bored brain something to play around with. I’m actually amazed at how wrong I usually am.
A big wheeled pickup truck that looked and sounded like a good old boy should be driving turns out to be a girly-looking PTO mom. Or a rainbow-painted Jeep Wrangler decorated with sunflowers and smiley faces is being driven by a fully-tattooed, gray-bearded biker dude. One can never tell, but it sure is fun guessing.
In this particular incident, I was sure that the car that just pulled right out in front of me was not being driven by its registered owner. The driver ground the clutch from first to second gear and sputtered onto the highway right into my path. From my quick view, it looked like the driver was a 12-year-old girl taking her parent’s car for a joyride. I would have bet my life that she was under the legal drinking age and that her daddy had a lot of money. She was tearing up the gears on what appeared to be a brand new cherry red convertible Corvette Stingray. This car had to be well out of her financial means and definitely out of her skill level. All I could think of was, “Spoiled brat!”
She was all over the road when the sun suddenly decided to hide behind a dark black thundering cloud that blew in so quickly that no one anticipated what would come next – especially the little girl in front of me driving like it was her first time behind the wheel.
As the clouds grew more significant and the wind came out of nowhere, I realized how unsafe this young lady’s driving really was. She apparently had no idea what she was doing because seconds later, she began to hydroplane all over the road in the middle of a hellacious unexpected downpour. As she attempted to change lanes so she could pull over into a plaza, or at least onto the shoulder to get her roof up, buckets of rain poured down on her.
Someone forgot to share the memo that there is ALWAYS a chance of rain in Florida, regardless of what the weather people may say. Mother Nature has the final word, and we all know she is totally unpredictable. Even I was finding it difficult to see through the rain and stay in my lane. I was genuinely concerned for her safety as she glided across the roadway. After Daddy teaches her how to shift gears properly, I suggest he should also walk her through how to close the roof. By the looks of things, she was simply handed the keys and told to go have fun.
Graciously the rain stopped as quickly as it moved in, and she finally managed to maneuver herself into a nearby plaza’s parking lot. I couldn’t help but pull over – along with a few other concerned souls, to ask her if she needed any assistance. I kept thinking about my precious daughters getting stuck in a monsoon and hoping someone would be kind enough to help them if they needed it.
Much to my surprise, as I pulled up alongside this beautiful piece of American-made machinery, I realized my guess – yet again, was totally off. It turns out the little lady sitting in the driver’s seat, who could barely reach the pedals and could hardly be seen over the backrest, was actually the owner. Although she had as many years under her belt as she put into this $80,000 vehicle, that is not an excuse for her horrible driving skills. At least it wasn’t another entitled kid – instead, just an older woman trying to act youthful.
I guarantee she didn’t pay attention to anything the salesman told her about the car. If she had, she would know that her “Special Edition” vehicle has a button on the dashboard that electronically puts her roof up – even while driving up to 35 miles per hour. Sadly, she had no idea until another passerby stopped to check on her. The young man, who was in total awe over her wheels, seemed to know everything about her automobile. He was thrilled to assist and helped to get her on her way. Grateful for our concern, she thanked us all before commenting to the dog we all now noticed in a purse on the passenger’s side floor. “I guess I need to go have your hair done again,” she giggled. “Maybe a detail at the carwash, too.”
As she peeled out onto the wet roadway, we all simultaneously said, “Drive safely!”
Then, as I started to pull away, I couldn’t help but think, “I hope I live long enough to enjoy my life that way and have some lovely toys of my own!
Laugh on. Peace out!
Lisa DeMarco is a columnist for Villages-News.com