This week, CARtoday.com’s female columnist Jasmine goes bumper-to-bumper with a tailgater and discovers that these demons of the road sometimes have some endearing qualities, too.
Several mornings, while on my way to have my female needs seen to, I find myself in the melange most commonly known as the morning traffic. Of course, the promise of a early morning full body massage is enough to put me in good spirits, so the traffic is a source of amusement instead.
Robot racers and pesky tailgaters in their shabby little Superbosses are usually no match for my good mood. But even I'm not perfect, and people intent on beaching their rigs on my rear bumper can sometimes dash my most buoyant spirits. Being stormed from behind, in any situation, is really not my idea of fun.
If there is only one lane and we are both in it and I'm the one driving in front (within the speed limit), can't the guy behind me see the same thing and back off? Jeez Louise...
I found myself in this situation last week while cruising down a tree-lined street and musing over the meaning of life. In my glowing state, I was somewhat startled to find an ancient Mazda 323, with this 'looker' behind the wheel, in my rear-view mirror -where there definitely had not been one a few seconds before!
Being forced to switch back into aggro-traffic mode, I was tempted to just step on the gas and leave him wondering where I had disappeared. However, like a good law-abiding citizen, I maintained my speed while one of Mazda's finest continued to tempt fate with the stream of oncoming traffic.
Of course, the minute this guy had the chance, he decided to pass me - albeit in the emergency lane to my left! Saying I was shocked would be a gross understatement, though I must add that one bonus of this skilful manoeuvre was the excellent job it did of clearing the side of the road of niggling twigs and pebbles.
While passing (on my left) Mr Handsome himself even took the time to flash me a winning look-I-did-beat-you smile! Very impressive I'm sure, but the lady remained unimpressed. I can assure you that exploiting one of the great untruths of urban driving - flashing perfect white teeth will be enough to get you out of most unsavoury situations - was not well received.
Since my karma had already been hit for a six with images of my massage long discarded, surely there was no harm in returning the tailgating-favour? But, following my new life-coach's team orders, I took deep, cleansing breaths while counting to ten and floating on a sea of yellow. Then I went after him with gusto, anyway... until a red traffic light got in my way...
The following morning, en route to my masseuse for my Indian head massage, who bangs on his hooter and waves while flashing me those pearly whites? None other than the ancient 323 guy...
While all was definitely not forgiven, his beginner quotient of "princess points" received a friendly boost, and I learnt something that day. Counting to ten takes quite a long time, and not all tailgaters are scummy. Shame, maybe the guy in the 27-year-old 323 was just in an awful hurry that day... Smooches, Jasmine.