My Unwanted Follower

Sometimes, when we’re young and nubile and wearing tight pants, guys follow a little close.

And while my pants may fit a little tighter than what I like now and then, I’m no longer young and nubile, so I knew the guy who was way too close to my butt wasn’t there because, well, because.

Even in my young nubile days, I never did look like this. Magenta by Steve Henderson.

Lest you think I’m some sort of wanton siren, I was actually in my car, and the butt the guy was too close to was the back of my vehicle, but he was close, real close, and if his window had been open I would have felt his hot, garlicky breath on my neck.

Creepy, I know. But wait – it gets worse.

He followed me all the way from Town A to Town B – really, really close – and at first I tried to see if he was distracted – either putting on makeup or singing to his iPad or holding a phone to his ear,  but all I could see in my rearview window – aside from his entire vehicle that is – was a hairy arm. It was resting gently on the side of the door.

Tappy tap. Tappy tap. His fingers drummed lightly with placid intimidation.

And it’s not as if I were plugging along like a dispirited, dying horse – I set my cruise one mile over the legal speed limit and stayed there.

I know what you’re about to say, and I see your point, and generally, when I am faced, in the rear, with people like this, I bump up a few more miles per hour. But in this case I was reluctant to do so because my stalker, you see, was an officer of the law.

What to do?

Rapid mental calculations left me at a loss: how much faster could I go over the speed limit to increase the distance between us to a safe one – without incurring a ticket for, um, speeding? At the risk of increasing his irritation, I stuck to the legal limit, plus one.

Just how fast could I go without going too fast? I never did figure it out. Golden Sea by Steve Henderson.

I know it bothered him when I slowed down to 40 m.p.h. There was a speed zone sign, you see, and it said “40.” To his credit, he didn’t follow any nearer at 40 than he did at 60, but then again, if he had, he would have been close enough to adjust the station on my radio. I wonder if he likes Snow Patrol?

I should have asked him; we were within easy conversational distance.

Fortunately, just outside of Town B, there’s a passing lane, right about where the 60 m.p.h. sign is, and I noticed that, while I waited until I crossed the sign to accelerate, my admirer hit 60 well before he reached the sign. I’m not sure, mind you, but I’m vaguely thinking that a number of ordinary people receive speeding tickets for similar behavior – something to do with “reckless driving” and the need to slow down.

But he never did, slow down, that is. Oh wait, I saw his brake lights once, in the distance, when he ran up against (not literally, fortunately) another hapless driver.  For some reason, when people like me or the other driver conduct ourselves like this it’s called tailgating, which in polite society, newspaper articles on road rage, and traffic court is considered bullying, threatening, coercive, and . . .  illegal.

At the very least, it’s not nice.

This road is for walking, in solitude, absorbing the splendor of the surroundings. Blue Ribbon by Steve Henderson

Perhaps he was on his way someplace important, like a fire. In that case, he could have told me so – flashed his lights and all that. I would gladly have pulled over and watched him disappear.

But he didn’t. The man sworn to serve and protect conducted himself  in a manner that would get the average teen driver rightfully grounded, but in this case did nothing more than fluster a law abiding middle aged woman puttering about in  a small innocuous gas sipping car.

So who’s the bad guy here?


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2 Responses to “My Unwanted Follower”

  1. Rachael says:

    It is totally rediculous how police here act. Fact is, in a low crime part of the country they have nothing better to do than harass law abiding citizens, hoping they screw up, so they can get their “quota” for the day.
    I’ve been pulled over more than once for the simple fact that I’m DRIVING. I’ve had officers blatantly lie to me about the reason why, then let me go with no more than a “warning”. Thing is, they are above the law. And they know it.

    • Rachael: What you say is sad but true. Years ago, I encouraged my children to respect and honor the police, because I still had in my head the image of the friendly officer, ready to give directions or help a person in need. There are still some of those, but there are far too many inundated with a heady sense of their power, which is not curbed by a sense of responsibility of being “public servants.”

      Yes, I know that they get jaded by what they see, but when that cynicism spills over into thinking that everybody is wrong and deserves what is meted out to them, then perhaps it is time to retire and get a job in the private sector — a grocery store, say, where employees must smile when others are rude as opposed to threatening back.

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