Sometimes (read: always) I use the “People on the Highway” series as a way to vent some road rage issues from the morning commute. I’m trying very hard to not mutter curse words with the kids in the car, so writing down stories takes that place.
Today I am not going to be nice to the subject of the story. Here’s why. Streets were covered in snow this morning. Ice packed underneath, everything just melting enough to make the trip a real nightmare. I took a left turn at one point at fishtailed going about 12 miles per hour. It was not the sort of driving condition that lent itself to text messaging. That did not stop the subject of our tale today. We were heading about 30 miles an hour down the highway and out of the corner of my eye, the bumper of a small vanilla colored sedan shows up. Then it stays there, weaving a little bit, but never really getting out of the full blind spot. I slow, the car moves by and the driver is smiling at the phone held right in front of her face.
Today’s tale is called: I Didn’t See You There
The sun is hidden behind gray snow clouds. Little flakes are still falling, but for the most part the storm finished well before commuters hit the road. What was left in the storm’s wake was slush, ice and a new speed limit on the highway; 30, if you’re lucky. Most cars are filing to the right lane. Good grooves have already been carved and the ice that formed over the evening has been eroded away by Mac trucks over the last few hours. The left lane is empty from my position on the highway until the next big intersection a couple of football fields away.
The lone exception to the empty left lane is sitting just within my blind spot. There’s a car in front of me, car behind me and for some reason beyond my realm of understanding, a car directly next to me that is matching my speed. The roads are terrible, but we’re driving slow enough that any real issues can be avoided. My lane slows a bit as we crest a hill and the blind-spot rider trugs on by. The maybe 21 year old driver, pony-tail nicely crimped at the top of her head, is smiling as she looks at her phone.
She endangered everyone around her because someone swiped in the positive direction for her Tinder profile? It is seven in the morning and I am in no mood for this garbage.
She’s driving a lexus her daddy bought for her. She’s using it this morning to get to her regular tanning appointment at this “fabulous” place in Loveland that her friends “just have to try”. At first I thought, maybe she was going to work. She’s never worked a day in her life though. She’s studying child’s psychology at the University. Her thought was she would make cash checks for talking to kids whose parent’s “just don’t understand them.” She has no idea how difficult, how traumatic and how haunting the kids she will actual worth can be. Child psychologists go home and watch the scary episodes of Doctor Who thinking it is a comedy show. She’s three years into her studies now and still believes most issues she’ll see can be solved with a Ritalin and a cookie. It is how her parents raised her and she turned out just fine.
The driver is motivated by Cosmos and snapping the perfect selfie. She’s never had to crop a friend out of a profile picture. There is no one waiting for her at the tanning spot. She was raised by a nanny and has a mother that can tell you the ins-and-outs of getting the best wine in the house, on the house; she has no idea how to interact with people outside of the little screen she stares at nine hours a day.
She went grocery shopping on her own once, before finally signing up for a delivery service. She walked the aisles of the store, aimlessly, just tapping at her phone. She pushed her cart into a stock boy. When she realized what happened, she looked up a little and mumbled, “sorry, I didn’t see you there.”
It was not the last time she said those words.
Thanks for reading!
There are some more enjoyable “People on the Highway” stories if you click right here.