Rough Drift

"Small" writing challenges for my small writing talent. Hotel note pads are the only space allowed. Let's see if I can strip it down and tighten it up to learn something. Improving my skill of weird fiction.

79.) Slow burn

Do we wish to see because we want to judge or because we have to? I think that is a lady, driving twenty in a thirty-five zone, but I can’t be sure. I barely see a gray frizzed corona around the headrest. This maybe-lady, as I have yet to see, signals two feet before a turn and brakes, slowing to fifteen. Miles. Per. Century. I do not slow, and my signal has blinked for ninety-six feet. I don’t need to slow down for the turn; I could even speed up and manage safely. We crawl west on Springdale Street.

Brake lights shine for reasons I cannot determine. Am I following too close? No. Did I pressure maybe-a-lady into speeding up? I cannot tell. I wish for competent drivers. I wish for posted minimum speeds. Why does this car go where I go? Turning where I turn? Did the driver lose their way and take signals in their mirror as a suggestion? Did that car just feint to the left of the lane? What the . . .

I think about who else this could be other than an old lady in a late nineties car. When did I just decide that’s an old lady? Why not a man? I shift into third for the first time in two miles and realize an old man is just slow – I think so anyway – that’s what I’ve seen. Old women will wander wherever their look goes. I remember a car against traffic one Saturday morning. She was wandering to the bank, also in a twenty-year-old vehicle.

The last I witnessed an ancient male motorist, I saw a man frozen in place with a look of gaping mouth horror. He wasn’t afraid of anything, facial strength left him long ago. His driving remained impeccably controlled, albeit a snail’s pace.

I’ll be there someday. I’ll be old and drive old and wander old, and I’ll be perfectly happy, Just like this maybe-lady probably is in front of me. I know when I’m driving old, the rest of the world can get in line behind. I will have paid my dues by then. All the kids in their seventies and younger can get off my lawn and go to hell! I know what they’re up to, I will have been them before, and it won’t be any good! I think.

She turns. Halleluiah she’s turning! I would not have looked on the drive past had she motored normally. Looking brings stares and then brings, desired by all of us, telepathic judgings! Attention! What are you doing? You should take lessons again! Pay attention! I imprint my telepathy as hard as I can while passing, pivoting my gaze. A celebratory nose high harrumph.

Old. Lady. Confirmed. A bit of a hunch, surprisingly without glasses. Very short in the seat. I judged. I am horrible. Why did it matter? Why was I so curious? Am I bad? No. I drive past the High school where teenagers walk deep in judgment, and I’m fairly certain they hate my forty-three-year-old driving. Drivers would rather worry about others instead of the real problems of today. But, where’s the fun in that?

(Author’s notes) Based on truth, like so many things we write about; of course except for the octopus in the canyon shooting lightning story. There’s not much there based on truth. Anyway, I found myself thinking all of the above and concluded there’s so much more to think about while driving than how horrible everyone else is. So much more. I wonder why ninety percent of drivers fall into that trap.


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