Sometimes, when we’re young and nubile and wearing tight pants, guys follow a little close.
And while my pants may fit a little tighter than what I like now and then, I’m no longer young and nubile, so I knew the guy who was way too close to my butt wasn’t there because, well, because.
Lest you think I’m some sort of wanton siren, I was actually in my car, and the butt the guy was too close to was the back of my vehicle, but he was close, real close, and if his window had been open I would have felt his hot, garlicky breath on my neck.
Creepy, I know. But wait – it gets worse.
He followed me all the way from Town A to Town B – really, really close – and at first I tried to see if he was distracted – either putting on makeup or singing to his iPad or holding a phone to his ear, but all I could see in my rearview window – aside from his entire vehicle that is – was a hairy arm. It was resting gently on the side of the door.
Tappy tap. Tappy tap. His fingers drummed lightly with placid intimidation.
And it’s not as if I were plugging along like a dispirited, dying horse – I set my cruise one mile over the legal speed limit and stayed there.
I know what you’re about to say, and I see your point, and generally, when I am faced, in the rear, with people like this, I bump up a few more miles per hour. But in this case I was reluctant to do so because my stalker, you see, was an officer of the law.
What to do?
Rapid mental calculations left me at a loss: how much faster could I go over the speed limit to increase the distance between us to a safe one – without incurring a ticket for, um, speeding? At the risk of increasing his irritation, I stuck to the legal limit, plus one.
I know it bothered him when I slowed down to 40 m.p.h. There was a speed zone sign, you see, and it said “40.” To his credit, he didn’t follow any nearer at 40 than he did at 60, but then again, if he had, he would have been close enough to adjust the station on my radio. I wonder if he likes Snow Patrol?
I should have asked him; we were within easy conversational distance.
Fortunately, just outside of Town B, there’s a passing lane, right about where the 60 m.p.h. sign is, and I noticed that, while I waited until I crossed the sign to accelerate, my admirer hit 60 well before he reached the sign. I’m not sure, mind you, but I’m vaguely thinking that a number of ordinary people receive speeding tickets for similar behavior – something to do with “reckless driving” and the need to slow down.
But he never did, slow down, that is. Oh wait, I saw his brake lights once, in the distance, when he ran up against (not literally, fortunately) another hapless driver. For some reason, when people like me or the other driver conduct ourselves like this it’s called tailgating, which in polite society, newspaper articles on road rage, and traffic court is considered bullying, threatening, coercive, and . . . illegal.
At the very least, it’s not nice.
Perhaps he was on his way someplace important, like a fire. In that case, he could have told me so – flashed his lights and all that. I would gladly have pulled over and watched him disappear.
But he didn’t. The man sworn to serve and protect conducted himself in a manner that would get the average teen driver rightfully grounded, but in this case did nothing more than fluster a law abiding middle aged woman puttering about in a small innocuous gas sipping car.
So who’s the bad guy here?
You should have filed a complaint with his town/city Police Chief or Mayor.
Good point, Dave — but quite frankly, living in a small town and a small area, I thought about having this guy on my bad side.
You did exactly the right thing. This action has saved my bacon a few times too. I used to go to college in Texas and on breaks go to my family in California. This meant “commuting” through Arizona, New Mexico, California and Texas. Before the interstate was finished, there were a number of “speed trap” towns who were about to lose income from such bullying tactics. I got caught once. After that I became annoying to them. As soon as you came within 1/2 mile of their city limits you would get a police tailgater who would nearly push you over the speed limit. Their problem was that they WERE following too close. I would drive the speed limit and at each decreasing speed posting I would brake suddenly to the new limit. I would nearly get a passenger at the first one or two signs, then they would back off and eventually give it up. It was a long road, and without audiobooks it could get boring. I am also a very law abiding citizen, and resent being pushed. I admit, I would watch their faces in my mirror at the first drop in speed, it was always amusing.
Thank you Dianne. I wish I could have been in the car with you, but then there would have been no room for the follower!
As a law abiding citizen like you, I don’t like intimidation tactics, and I don’t like the accompanying attitude that we all deserve it, because we’re all doing something wrong anyway. I would like to respect the people who protect and serve — and years ago, I used to, because there was a sense of mutual respect on both sides. Too often these days, I am seeing arrogance replace respect.
This would be when I would wish to have a dash cam in the back window, taking footage of the whole procedure, and another one in the front window to take footage of the too fast passing feat. Of course it might have been a stolen police car with a bad guy in it. In that case, the cam would spot that too.
I’m in a vindictive mood today– about other bureaucratic imperfect representatives of their badge, so I keep wanting to show the public the true faces of guys like that. Or IS that vindictive? Simply to let the truth tell itself?
I agree that you did the right thing.
Glad he wasn’t another kind of bad guy who was going to run you off the road and do something not nice to you. I had a stalker once…he parked near my house after following me for about 25 miles. I called the local cops and they found him hiding under the dash of his car. He got arrested. It was not the first time for him. Scarey stuff.
Susan: Your true stalker is why we have our law officers — to protect and serve the law abiding citizens who want to depend upon their police force and laud them for their service.
There are many who deserve this commendation. Sadly, the ones like the man with the hairy arm do their part to affect the public’s perception of the entire group.
Do you think your accelerated heart rate would count as aerobic exercise for the day?