I will confess to some momentary pettiness on my part. It's true that I had the "courtesy" right-of-way and that I would have had to do a bit of maneuvering to avoid sideswiping the car on my right to let you in safely, but I could have managed it, I'm sure. But your insistent creeping on my left opened up a little hidden pocket of road rage left over from my younger days, abruptly ending my iPod-induced chair dance.
When the car ahead of me moved, I crept up into the space it left. Of course, you did too. I wondered whether I would finally find out what happens if neither driver gives an inch. If we collided, no matter whose fault the crash turned out to be, I would have to talk to you. The prospect was not appealing. Once you pulled up even with me, I looked at you, thinking to confront my nemesis eye-to-eye.
That's when I noticed you are a mouse. Not just because of your mousy hair or nose. Your entire demeanor mewls, "mouse." You felt me looking at you, so you looked down and away to avoid the terrifying gaze of a complete stranger in another car on the freeway. What could I have done to you? Given you a disgusted look? Flipped you the bird? Shaken my fist? I suppose it's possible you believed I was a gun-toting freeway psycho, but that would have meant your insistence on displacing me was suicidal, not just stupid. I rejected the idea.
Then I had my revelation: That car-length advantage was all you have! Not just over me, but at all. If you can't face the driver you're trying to squeeze in front of, whom can you face? What possible challenge could you surmount? Your hunched posture, your nondescript ponytail, and your misunderstanding of the place of denim jackets in a stylish wardrobe conveyed to me everything you don't have. And with that realization, I began to catalogue everything I do have:
- An impact in this world
- A great family
- Many wonderful friends
- An ability to use makeup stylishly and with a sense of whimsy, rather than as obvious compensation for overplucked brows
- Good hair
- Nice manners on the freeway (usually)
- An excellent bra
- Talent for developing consistent bulleted lists
- A creative streak that allows me to turn a minor freeway annoyance into a blog entry
So, I stopped. I held up the people behind me. I let the drivers on my right confusedly push past. And finally, you looked at me long enough to see me wave you in. Quickly, you looked back down, pathetically shaking your head as though to indicate you think I'm pathetic. But I basked in my benevolence, knowing I had given Miss Mouse her one opportunity to be a big shot -- by overtaking a stranger's car in stop-and-go traffic.
Five minutes later, when I passed you further up the freeway, I barely noticed because I was so busy chair dancing.