Article by Lillian Canini; photo courtesy

Editor’s note: Over the coming months, we will be introducing a handful of new columns on cars, driving, and other fun stories about the automotive world. Today we introduce Lillian Canini’s fun, lighthearted take on driving situations many of us face at various times in our driving careers.

Am I the only person who hates following someone I know while I’m driving? I cannot bear it.  My thoughts always turn to: what do you do when you reach a red light together?

Me, in my car, you, in yours. Do I give you a wave? Yeah, that’s right… Hello up there, remember me? Your pal? The one who is following you to the bowling alley because I am too poor to buy a GPS? That’s it, a nice hearty wave with a big grin. You wave back. Now what? The light is still red. Do I keep waving? Or should I pretend that I don’t know you? Hmm… what do I normally do at a red light? Usually it isn’t an issue. But now I feel like you — all smug and free of worry in your own car — are watching me and I better look like I am doing something interesting.

Maybe now is a good time to go through my messy purse and pull out all the chewed gum that I wadded up into old receipts? Or maybe I should intently read the No Parking sign to my right. Hmm, I’m allowed to park on this street from the 1st to the 15th after 6 PM. That’s right… keep staring at the sign. After all, I never know when I’ll be back here and be desperate to park.

When is the light going to change??? Maybe I should give you another wave, just to remind you I am here. Hey, you didn’t wave back? Are you now ignoring me or is your life so much better that you are content to sit there and wait for the green light without the anguish of knowing someone you know is right behind you in the next car??

Ok, I am just gonna’ stare straight ahead… as if I have something very important on my mind… something that has nothing to do with being behind you.

Oh thank God the light has changed! Now back to the business of following you. This is better…. Oops, you changed lanes. Oh my stars, now you are beside me — that’s even worse!! Why did you change lanes? WHY?? What was wrong with the lane we were in? It was a good lane. No parked cars (I read the sign — you’re not allowed to park until after 6 pm).

Good gravy, can my life get any worse? It’s another red light and now we are beside each other!!!! I liked it better when I was behind you. Should I turn and wave hello again? Ok… I did, you waved back, but then you turned away. Why? Don’t you like me anymore? Why don’t you roll down your passenger window and I will roll down my window and we can have a quick chat….

Ok, I am now pretending to retrieve something from the passenger car floor, reaching down so you don’t see my face anymore… that’s it… reach down… lean in… brush my hand along the car floor reaching for that mysterious object that I am so desperate to retrieve this very instant.

Oh why does my life have to be so hard? Why did I tell you I would follow you? I should have just gotten directions and gone my own way… I can’t take this anymore…. Oh thank God, a green light… I am now going to get behind you. I never want to go through that hell again!

Is that the bowling alley ahead? Yes… I see a huge neon bowling pin… thank the angels above… I am saved….

I pull in behind you and park right beside you. We exit our vehicles. You look calm and not bothered at all. I pretend I am even calmer; I shove my hands deep in my pockets and saunter over…. “Traffic wasn’t too bad, eh?” I casually remark, as we head into the bowling alley. 

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