Here’s Why You Shouldn’t Make New Year’s Resolutions While Driving

Last year I made a New Year’s resolution not to make any New Year’s resolutions because I always immediately break them. Of course I didn’t remember making this resolution until I was in the car one day sitting in holiday traffic and getting really steamed about all the rude people on the road. After someone cut me off and my daughter yelled out, “Watch where you’re goin’, you moron,” I realized that I might not be setting the best example for my children. I decided then that I was going to break my last New Year’s resolution and resolve to work on my road rage.

When I lived in New York City, I didn’t really have a problem with road rage. This was most likely due to the fact that I didn’t have a car. Once we moved to the suburbs, though, we got a car and I actually had to do quite a bit of driving. I soon learned that the suburbs are filled with bad drivers. And most of them, it seemed, were always right in front of me. Or behind me. Or cutting me off. Or stealing my parking space. My usual calm response to this was a few choice words, some fist-shaking, and an occasional, full-blown hissy fit.

Although I came by this both genetically and geographically, I realized that I might live a little longer if I resolved to be a kinder, gentler driver. For a while, I was much better. When people cut me off, I would just smile and wave them on. If someone tailgated me, I would pull over and let them pass. When somebody else swooped in and stole the mall parking spot I’d been waiting for and there weren’t any other spots within a mile of the mall entrance, I just let her have it (the spot… I let her have the spot!).

Then one day I found myself behind a car that was going so slowly, it might as well have been going backwards. I immediately took note of the fact that the car was a big, old, cream-colored Lincoln Continental with Florida plates and a bumper sticker that said, “I Voted For Lincoln.” It also seemed, quite mysteriously, to be driving itself. Well, that’s not exactly true. I could see a pair of hands on the steering wheel, but there was no head. It was a headless, Floridian driver doing 10 miles an hour in a 35 mile-an-hour zone on a one-lane road and I was stuck behind it, losing my mind.
If ever there was a recipe for road rage, here it was. Of course, I was very late for an appointment, to boot, so what little patience I had wore thin after two miles. I thought, all we needed was a couple of floats, a marching band, and some Snoopy balloons and we could have our own suburban parade.

For four miles I tailgated the headless driver, getting more and more frustrated, and mentally willing him/her/it to pull over, or turn, or be beamed up to an alien space ship and flown away. Finally, we got to a major intersection, and the Lincoln pulled over to make a turn. I pulled up next to it and looked over. There, behind the wheel, was a very old lady, about 200 years old. I immediately felt awful for tailgating her and belatedly recalled my New Year’s resolution.

I gave her a weak smile and a little, apologetic wave of my hand.

The itty bitty old lady looked over at me, raised her hand in return…

And gave me the finger.

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Filed under Growing old ungracefully

8 responses to “Here’s Why You Shouldn’t Make New Year’s Resolutions While Driving

  1. Love it! I had a similar experience once and unfortunately the lady did not stop with just giving me the finger…she was quite vocal as well. Even my kids were horrified and believe me, it takes a lot to do that.

  2. Tracey Maron-Anthony

    LOL. Thanks for the new post – brought to mind our last trip to Florida – we spent a week in Fort Lauderdale visiting my grandmother, then headed to Orlando. After a week of driving behind empty Lincolns, my husband floored the car as we hit the interstate/highway/whatever it’s called. …and was immediately pulled over. the officer had started writing the ticket when my husband admitted that we’d just spent a week in Fort lauderdale.

    “oh” said the officer, looking chagrined “You spent week behind slow headless drivers? I’d want to get away quickly too”

    didn’t get us out of the ticket, since it was already finished, but it did make us laugh

    >>> The Lost in Suburbia Blog 1/3/2013 11:09 AM >>>

    lostinsuburbiablog posted: ” Last year I made a New Year’s resolution not to make any New Year’s resolutions because I always immediately break them. Of course I didn’t remember making this resolution until I was in the car one day sitting in holiday traffic and getting real”

    • Did he really say that? And you laughed and he STILL gave you the ticket? That’s just wrong. One time I was getting a ticket and my 3 year old son told the officer that his mommy has a penis. I don’t, actually, but the officer cracked up and ripped up the ticket!

  3. I hope when I’m a little old lady I’ll still be able to flip people the bird. Better yet, the double bird. There’s REAL power behind the double bird baby!!!

  4. One Funny Motha

    Best line: “it might as well have been going backwards.” Followed by “but there was no head. It was a headless.” And absolutely PERFECT ending. Loved it.