photo Untitled-1_edited-1_zpsqkwzi3gd.jpg

September 20, 2010

Caging The Bird Without Offending PETA

Admittedly, I haven't always been the best driver. Growing up in a rural area, the speeds I could urge that little SUV to achieve often begged for jail time. Until the neighbors tattled to my parents about my driving habits, I saw no problem with it. After all, what was the worst that could happen? There weren't any children in our neighborhood, but there were plenty of deer. Taking one or two down with a car? Fire up the barbie, kids! We're eatin' good tonight!!

I'm sure I'll be hearing from my Aussie readers and PETA in the near future.

Apart from the singular deer incident, I escaped my early driving years unscathed and went on to conquer the dizzying maze of highways in the the Twin Cities. For those who reside out of state, please note that the term "Minnesota Nice" does not apply to I-35. It's fast. It's aggressive. And after a few years of high-intensity driving, I had an extremely close-call with a driver who was even more aggressive than myself. I've never driven the same since.

Becoming a mother changed my driving habits further. Never do I slam on my brakes to get an aggressive driver off of my tail for fear that I'll cause an accident that would be more costly for my son than myself. I think it's the mama bear instinct. The COME WITHIN A MILE OF MY BUMPER AND I WILL SNIPE YOU instinct. I need that bumper sticker.

This past weekend, our family made the trek up north to visit the grandparents, a drive which cannot be made without the essential paper bag into which I hyperventilate on at least four separate occasions. For this reason, Jonathan typically drives on the cross-country trips. It tends to save on the angry words yelled out the window.

In the midst of our drive, lo and behold, we found ourselves being tailgated by a van. Naturally, my reaction was one which necessitated the paper bag. Having spontaneously taken on a life of its own, my middle finger was just itching to wave itself in the breezy sunshine, but in an attempt to act my age and because the child was in the car with us, I reigned-in my hand and muttered a slew of angry words under my breath.

Even as I wondered how someone could, in good conscience, tailgate a vehicle with a Baby On Board sticker in the back window, I realized something which made me smile. And I may have snickered a little in a kind of sadistic pleasure when I saw the van in more detail. As the driver changed lanes and pulled past us, I saw that it was a company car for an air conditioning and heating business. Plastered over every flat surface of that van was contact information. Names, phone numbers, and web addresses.

This is the part where I tell you that my phone has internet. So as the hubs rolled his eyes and sighed at my unabashed glee, I signed onto the website and composed a very strongly-worded email to the company. About reckless driving. About their employee putting my son's life at risk. And about how this would affect their bottom line because we will never be purchasing their services.

I sent off that email with a sense of satisfaction, knowing that it was probably the one and only time I would be able to make my point to another driver without letting The Bird fly.

Fifteen years from now as I'm out on the open road teaching my child to keep a safe distance, I'm sure I'll still be bringing along a paper bag. And when those driving lessons involve another car inching closer and closer to my son's bumper, I will have to do my utmost to cage The Bird.

Somehow, I don't think PETA will object to that.


  1. I would have done the exact same thing.

  2. i heart you! i would have done the exact same thing! exactly!!

  3. Good for you!!!

    I have to say, and mind you I lived and drove in both Los Angeles and San Francisco, driving here stresses me out. I could make a list, but the big one is the on and off ramps. I don't know how many near misses we've had, but maybe it stresses me out more because of babies in the car