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327. Scenes from the Second Seat on the Right

Tuesday, July 24th, 5:00pm
Chuck and Gisele


Gisele: You’re going to camping this weekend?

Chuck: Yes. I just have to ensure I have my tent.

Gisele: You can do that?

Chuck: Do what?

Gisele: Insure a tent.

Chuck: (rolls eyes) Yes. Yes I can.


Next stop: Wednesday, July 25th, 6:00pm

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Three Times Lucky

This post has been brewing for about a week.  Since I can’t sleep tonight, here it is.

It was Tuesday. I know it was Tuesday because I took Alex to his weekly baseball game at 7pm. But it all started on the way to camp in the morning.

I was driving along the main strip during what passes for rush hour in this little city, late as usual. It’s a four-lane road, with two lanes going north and two going south, with lots of plazas, restaurants, car dealerships–you get the picture–on both sides. Anyhoo, I was traveling north in the left lane when I came to a line of cars stopped, waiting for someone to turn left. I was still going the speed limit, so I decided to go around them. I checked my rear-view mirror: absolutely nothing behind me. Checked my blind spot: nothing there either. So I put my blinker on to change lanes.  Just as someone pulled out of a driveway on my right.

Here’s a diagram: (I’m the one driving the purple space ship.)

Mad Paint Skillz Diagram 1

I managed to swerve and miss him, though I’m guessing he really slammed on the brakes. Close call number one.

Fast forward to the afternoon. I’d picked Alex up from camp and we were coming home.

There’s this one little awkward four-way intersection near my house with a two-way stop. I had to stop. I did. I looked both ways. I swear I did. I always look left first, then right, then left one more time because that’s where the nearest cars are coming from. Where the one I almost pulled out in front of that was coming down the street on the passenger side of my car, I have no clue. In my defense, it really is an awkward intersection. It’s hard to see both ways, AND I have this post on the side of my windshield that gets in the way.

Mad Paint Skillz Diagram 2

We both slammed on the brakes this time. And avoided a collision. Still, that was close call number two.

I KNEW there was going to have to be a number three. I just KNEW it. But, I got in the car anyway to drive Alex to baseball. I could have let my best friend, John, drive–he was coming with us anyway, and he’s a professional driver–but I didn’t.

How far from home did we get? About two minutes. Almost the same scenario as the morning, the difference being I was in the right lane this time, and the cars were stopped for a light.

I saw way ahead that there was construction in the right lane, so I decided to go around the loooong line of cars in the right lane. I checked VERY carefully – rear-view, blind spot, rear-view … Before I got a chance to change lanes, I saw a black SUV coming up fast behind me. He pulled the same maneuver I did in the morning–without slowing, he went around me and all the cars in front of me.

I said out loud to John, “Oh well, I guess I’m not changing lanes yet,” and at the same time, John said, “Oh shit.”

What happened ahead of me when I was concentrating on my lane change was this:

  1. The light had gone green.
  2. The black SUV saw this and didn’t slow down.
  3. A car in the long line of cars in the right lane stopped to let someone pull out of the Dairy Queen driveway on the right.
  4. Bang.

Mad Paint Skillz Diagram 3

If that black SUV hadn’t cut me off, I’d have hit the twit who trusted the other twit to let him out of the DQ. John saw it coming before I did, though I might have seen it too because I’d have had my focus front-ways, but would I have seen it in time? I doubt it.

I also doubt the guy who got T-boned enjoyed his ice cream very much.

Close call number three was three times extremely lucky.