Friday, July 6, 2012

Don't wave no goodbye


Act one. 

About a week ago, I was sitting at my desk doing my part to make air travel a happy experience for the customer and world at large when my mobile buzzed. Chloe. The ambient sounds told me she was driving. She doesn't usually call while she's behind the wheel.

"Mom, there's a guy behind me flashing his lights and tailgating me."

"Call 911." It was the only rational thing I could think to suggest.

"Mom. Really? I don't even know how to give a description of his car. He's behind me."

"Whatever you do, don't stop."

"What if there's something really wrong with my car?"

As she talked, she must have slowed down because the other driver drew alongside her. Chloe shouted "What?" and waved her phone around.

He sped ahead and turned right at the next intersection. Chloe went on her way. I went back to protecting the flying public by sending out mass emails and posting documents on a website.

Act two.

I'm motoring south in the left lane of I-75. In my peripheral vision, I notice a vehicle on my right. It's even with me. Odd is my first thought.

I'm imagining it, I think, after Chloe's experience.

I speed up. The black truck next to me does too.

I don't want to look. I don't. I don't want to look.

I look.

The charmer behind the wheel - salt and pepper hair, a mustache, aviators and a cap - grins. A big grin. Wolfish. Ah. He has my attention and he's ever so pleased.

For goodness sake says the roll of my eyes.

My attention is back on the road and my audio book. Ignore him. He pulls level with me and stays there.

I look again and there's that grin. And a hand over his heart. Thump thump, he indicates, patting his chest.

I smile because I've been well-trained and shake my head. Go back to watching the road.

He honks his horn to get my attention. There is a car in front of me and one behind. I can't vary my speed by much or change lanes.

Stuck.

I glance in his direction and he points at his chest then at me then at his chest again. Fans himself.

Ah.

He's spotted the cleavage.

I roll my eyes southward. Well, hello there. With my hands dutifully placed at 10 o'clock and 2 o'clock, my breasts are smooshed in just a way as to create that cleft. The one that makes grown men act like ignoramuses. Frustrating for those of us with big breasts. Stacy and Clinton advise the big-breasted to not wear shirts with  fabric covering the chest because it makes one appear even larger. And a decent bra makes cleavage.

It's a fine line. Running right between your breasts and into imaginations.

He blows his horn again and I tug my shirt up to cover the valley. Again with the horn. I look his way and he tugs his shirt down.

I'm slow. I don't know what he wants. I wave him off.

He gets my attention again and points to me, then pulls the front of his shirt away from his body.

Oh. I see. He wants me to show him my boobs. For free.

Call me strange, but I do not get the thrill of begging a stranger to show you her body parts. 

That's not really what it's about though, is it? It's about power. Intimidation. Perceived subversion. Testing the limits. And I'm thinking, Dude, I used to have my boobs on the internet. Getting me to show you my tits is really not the special thing you think it is. Unless, of course, the real thrill is the fact that we're cooking along at about 75 miles per hour.

I think of my daughter who was potentially in danger because she'd committed the crime of being female while driving on an open road in a little white car. I'm getting angry.

I punch the CD button to stop the audio book. I've missed whole paragraphs. The car in front of me finally moves out of my way and I push forward. Black truck keeps up with me until he gets caught behind a slower driver and no way to switch lanes.

I change lanes a couple of times, still a few miles from my exit onto I285.

Black truck catches up with me again. He's on my left. He's behind me. He's on my right again.

He follows me onto the exit, still in the lane to my right on the long ramp that bisects at its end. I glance once more. He makes a sad face. Hands off the wheel - he's praying for my acquiescence. Please, he mouths. Please, please.

I push the button and the passenger's side window slides down. Anticipation makes Black Truck nudge his sunglasses down his nose.

I smile at him. Game on.


I point at my chest and shrug. He nods. Still hopeful. It's now or never. Come on, he mouths. The wind coming through the window is hot and smells of exhaust.


I go west. He goes east. I switch the audio book on and search for the spot where I stopped listening.

40 comments:

  1. Somehow, this reminds of the scene in Thelma & Louise where that obnoxious trucker is sticking his tongue in & out of his mouth, trying to flirt (gross them out)...and of course, you know what happened to him. Oh, it was hilarious and so, so deserved!

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    1. I hadn't thought of that. Brilliant. Maybe I should have done something disgusting to scare the guy off, C.A.!

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    2. It reminded me of that, too! I was so hoping you'd lure him somewhere and slash his tires. (Not that that is a safe or advisable idea for anyone, but he was so pathetic and gross and offensive, I hoped....)

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  2. Someone tell this guy about all the free porn on the interwebs, stat.

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    1. That's what I'm thinking, Randal. Why risk your life on I75 begging for a peek when there's all kinds of free porn online.

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  3. Very funny. Reminds me of the Waxahachie Whacker from my Peekers and Peckers piece that you edited.

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    1. Thanks, DC. Now that did occur to me - the WW. What's with these weirdos?

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  4. Have I mentioned how much I DON'T miss the commute?

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    1. Not Fainthearted - You haven't really mentioned it, but you don't have to. I understand completely. I love my job like crazy, but that commute blows.

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  5. Replies
    1. People are strange, Thunder. Sometimes I can appreciate that. This time it was just exasperating. These guys need new, less obnoxious freak flags to fly.

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  6. I wish these stories surprised me.

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    1. Sarah, I'd like to think they don't surprise you because you're a writer of badass crime novels. Alas, that is not the case. Even if you weren't a writer of badass crime novels, this wouldn't surprise you. It's too common.

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  7. What an asshole! It seems as though these malicious affronts to female dignity are becoming more common lately. If they don't want to cop a feel or take a peek, they want to yell at you for being a "dyke." Sorry you and Chloe had to endure that, but glad you are both safe!

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    1. You are so spot on, Summer. Malicious affronts to female dignity. I try to imagine treating men that way and it is impossible.

      Funny, too, some of these jerks think we should be flattered by their attention.

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  8. Maybe my memory is faulty but it seems to me that not that long ago there was less abusive familiarity of the kind you describe. It was Andy Warhol who said eventually everyone would have 15 minutes of fame but he only knew about television. Now we have people running around acting like everyone else is a bit player in a show that's all about them.

    Your story was good but I'm sorry you both had to go through those experiences.

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    1. You make such a great point, susan. I cannot wrap my mind around what would compel someone to be so cheeky with a complete stranger.

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  9. I was scared for both of you when I read this at work. Some males are just revolting. Sadly, this is getting to be more the rule than the exception.

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    1. I was scared for Chloe, rennratt, because I felt so helpless to assess the situation. For myself I was annoyed. This guy not only interrupted my pleasant holiday week drive, but he interrupted my audio book AND made demands on me. My car's exterior is a mess. I should have given him a bump.

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  10. Keep a camera in your car and if this happens again, snap his pic and get one of his license plate. And your daughter may have had a cop wanting to get by her.

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    1. You know, Bill, I had my camera and I didn't think to snap his photo. For that matter, I could have used my phone. There was a missed opportunity.

      As for Chloe, she was on a four lane highway so he could have easily passed her. He followed her for several miles before he finally left the highway. When he did go away, she finally got a good look at him and his older model green Honda. Definitely not a cop on duty.

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  11. Steering wheel airbags have changed the perceived wisdom from our Driver's Ed days:

    "You're Driving All Wrong, Says NHTSA"
    9 & 3 or as we were taught at go fast driving school last winter, 4 & 8
    http://bit.ly/PvOABu

    Completely beside the point of your post.

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  12. Is there some obscene bumper sticker on your car unbeknownst to you? So strange!

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  13. Lisa, why didn't you take the advice you gave your daughter and call 911. You could have said he was driving dangerously close and making lewd gestures and got his ass busted. You're much nicer than I am -- and you probably have a better rack, too. ;)

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  14. This is why you should take me around with you in your pocket.

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  15. I will be the first to admit I enjoy the sight of cleavage. Good Lord! For me it's a sign of vibrant, healthy sexuality to take pleasure in something so simple. I make no apologies for that.

    I also think there are some, like the doofus in the black truck, who can't rest satisfied with the simple joy of glancing in to the vehicle next to them and spying that marvelous sight. Rather than a thing of beauty, a reminder of the marvels and wonders of life, it becomes a toy. For too many men, it becomes their toy, a thing to be joined by their own toys. Like the old joke about dating pregnant women because you know they'll put out, it's a brand of misogyny that reasons, "Well, she shows that much. She must not care if folks see the rest."

    There is no solution to problems like the driver of that truck. Not being a woman, I wouldn't even begin to offer advice, except, perhaps, when you spotted his hands off the steering wheel, you should have swerved ever so slightly toward his lane in hopes he'd overcompensate and, at the very least, get the hint his presence wasn't wanted.

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  16. What a story. I would be totally freaked out! Driving while female shouldn't be intimidating.

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  17. Since he surely makes this request often, I wonder what his success rate is?

    When I moved to DC right after college, I'd walk to the Metro stop along a busy road that was always backed up with traffic. I can't tell you how many guys would lean out their windows and yell some variation of "Hey baby! Wanna gimme your number?" (Among other things.) It annoyed the hell out of me, and I wondered: Why do they bother doing this? It's not like any woman is going to actually give her number out to some creep cruising by in a car!"

    At least, that's what I thought until the day I was walking behind a certain woman. As she passed an idling car, the passenger gave her the "Hey baby! Can I have your number?" line. She stopped and said "Sure!" and I listened in horror and awe as she cheerfully recited her number.

    My only hope is that she gave him a fake number --or the number for a helpline for desperate creeps.

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  18. I want to say, "Fucking men!" by which I mean men who doing stupid shit like this to get a woman's attention and think they're "all that." The Chloe story scared me. Your story scared me, too, and made me want to get out of the car and scream, "Pervert! You're freaking me out and I'm calling 911."

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  19. What in holy Hell would make a person think that it's OK to ask/demand that a perfect stranger expose herself to him? If he needs to see a stranger's bosom so badly, ATL is chock full of strip clubs. (That's how you can tell we're in the Bible Belt!) Pay your money and there are plenty of women willing to be nude with strangers, no need to harass those who aren't.

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  20. I am not one to do this - but I would have flipped him off and not looked back. What a low life.

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  21. That's sick. But hey, in Georgia surely you are allowed to pack heat in the car, right? I like the photo idea. The only like thing I've heard about in NYC is sickos rubbing against women on the subway or playing with themselves. One asshole was playing with Mr. Happy when a young woman took his photo, gave it to the police, AND the media. Not the kind of attention he wanted.

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  22. What?!! How stupid is this guy???

    Do you think there are women out there obliging him?

    The whole thing is giving me wrinkles just thinking about it.

    Pearl

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  23. Unbelievable. Recently we were in Michigan for a cousin's wedding, and had taken a hired shuttle bus back to our hotel after the reception. Next morning my daughters had the hotel call a taxi so they could go collect the car at the resort, 15 minutes up the road. The driver took them on a 40 minute joy ride. Clearly just scamming for more money, but it scared them, being trapped in his car in an unfamiliar city. When they told me it scared me. Like you were for Chloe because you weren't there. Encountering the neanderthal would have just made me mad too. Makes me mad now. Isn't this the 21st century?

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  24. ugh...a wonderful example of manhood...is it bad to hope his distracted driving catches up to him...would love to hear him explain it in court...good call on your dau as well def do not stop...

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  25. Scary...

    My two sisters and I had more than our share of experiences with peeping toms and flashers when we were growing up. The last time, when I was 13, the flasher--who was playing with himself as I walked by his parked car--followed me and then got out of his car to chase me. I finally ran up to a guy mowing his lawn, in order to get help.

    I described him and his car to the police and ended up pointing him out at the police station a couple months later.

    Glad your daughter--and you--were safe.

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  26. Reading this made my stomach one big knot!

    When I was a sophomore in high school, I went to buy a couple of packs of cigarettes for my parents. It was about 10:00 pm, dark outside, so they instructed me to go to one convenience store rather than another because the parking lot was well lit. I was so excited to be allowed out at that hour, and was already thinking I would go to the other as my best friend and his sister worked there. Besides the cigs were twenty cents cheaper there!

    I locked the passenger side door, checking to be sure the back door behind it was secure as well. Then exited the car, I locked the front door, and went inside. I made the purchase and visited for a bit. As I was leaving, another classmate and his friend entered and asked me if I knew that someone was in my car. I said no and their response to that was did I want them to get him out. Of course I said yes! Evidently I had left the back driver's side unlocked. They wrestled this guy out and roughed him up a bit, he dropped a knife out of his jacket then turned and ran to white Ford pick-up with a large guy manning the wheel. They sped away. I was too shook up to even look at the license plate. Being a small town, I had seen the little guy around, but not the other one, nor the truck. The two that helped me get rid of the little asshole then said they would follow me to make sure I made it home safely. I was shaking and debating whether to tell my parents about the whole mess at all! Not to worry; small town, remember? Yeah. All four of my friends called the house right before my arrival! Needless to say, my parents were not pleased! I saw that little shite for years and years after that, and stared him down every time. But I still get that feeling of "What if?"

    So glad you and Chloe are safe! It just sucks that this kind of thing happens more than we all know, and many times with a darker outcome.

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  27. I'm so embarrassed 'cos I'm going to ask a question which a person majoring in English like me should have been able to find out himself. However, it's true that we cannot know everything so here is my question: What does "Don't wave no goodbye" mean? I'm confused! Please Help Me! Thank You for your time.

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    1. Hi, Phuong Nam. Don't be embarrassed. Don't wave no goodbye is a lyric from a song. It's improper English, vernacular, I suppose. It means don't wave goodbye. Don't say goodbye. It's the worst kind of double negative.

      I hope this helps!

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