Get-out-of-my-way headlight flasher learns a lesson . . . maybe

We're veering off-topic, but you've all been on one end or the other of this particular confrontation -- perhaps both -- so buckle up.

I'm hurtling eastbound toward Boston in the high-speed lane of the Massachusetts Turnpike on a Saturday morning when a glance in the rear-view reveals flashing headlights on a vehicle that's close enough to kiss my, uh, bumper.

First thought was state trooper. Not so.

Second thought: one of those people; the peevishly impatient, self-absorbed lead-foots -- also known as "jerks" -- who believe the high-speed lane is exclusive property of the motorist willing to go the highest speed at any given moment.

Third thought: I'm not going anywhere but straight, no matter how feverishly lead-foot flashes.

After all, why should I move? I'm using the lane for its intended purpose, passing cars regularly and lickety-split. My kick-ass Toyota Corolla is advancing at a rate 5 to 10 mph over the speed limit of 65. What? I should get out of the way so that some knucklehead can break the law more egregiously?

I think not, as I take another peek rearward and notice something that hadn't registered earlier about this flasher: He wasn't some lunk-head in a pickup truck or teen-age hellion in a muscle car. In fact, he wasn't a he at all; this irritant was a soccer mom ... in a minivan.

Now ask yourself: Does this realization make it more likely or less likely that I'm going to swallow my pride and slink over to the middle lane?

Right! I might have had to move, however reluctantly, for the lunk-head in the pickup truck, because I've read enough road-rage stories to know he might beat me senseless. Soccer mom? Unless she's packing heat, I'm not concerned.

Moreover, the only bow to chivalry I'm willing to make at this point is that I won't give somebody's mother the finger. But I do give her a single, unmistakably angry wave of my arm across the rearview. The message? If you want to go faster and pass more cars than I'm passing, feel free to go around.

Which, eventually, she did -- without us making eye contact -- after which I settled back into the middle lane just in case she was looking.

But traffic was moderate to heavy and now the high-speed lane wasn't moving so speedily; in fact, it was the middle lane -- my lane -- that was now setting the pace. A moment later I up and pass Mrs. Minivan, not on purpose, mind you, but just because that's the way traffic was working.

I know this is a long story, but bear with me, there are miles yet to travel.

Eventually, traffic in the fast lane eases and soccer mom sprints by my car once again.

Enough of this nonsense, I'm thinking. As my left-lane exit approaches, I scoot back over to that side, hit the turn signal, and see immediately that Mrs. Flasher -- still unable to get wherever she's going any faster -- is taking the very same exit right at the very same time.

I wonder if she's noticed me.

She goes through the toll booth's lone transponder lane, as do I, right behind.

I wonder once more if she's noticed.

She takes a right, I take a right.

OK, now I'm starting to be concerned that she's concerned that I'm following her. I'm not; this is pure coincidence.

She goes right onto Storrow Drive. Guess what? Yes, indeed.

Even I'm thinking this has gone a bit too far ... and I know it's unintentional.

When I hit my blinker for my next exit, she continues on straight ... our paths not to cross again.

And two thoughts occur once it's all over: First, I was genuinely worried that she would be calling the cops to report some madman in a Toyota Corolla stalking her for no reason; second, if she was worried, it was her own damn fault because I was just going where I was going and if you flash your headlights at people you never know if the guy you're flashing them at is a madman.

That and it's just plain rude.

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