They say that a true sign of wisdom is when you finally know just how much you don’t know. They also say it’s cliché to start an article with the phrase “they say.” But “they” can suck it. I like how it sounds.
(I also enjoy the “good news/bad news” cliché from time to time and the occasional question lede).
Anyhoo, moving on. If that is the case, then I am now about as wise as…as…uh, I don’t know…Angela Lansbury, maybe? Or perhaps the big-boobed mom from “Facts of Life.” Yeah, definitely the big-boobed mom from “Facts of Life.”
Because despite the numerous road trips I have taken across this great country of ours (like this one, or this one, or this one), I am not too proud to admit that I remained ignorant of an apparently somewhat common road tradition.
That is, until this latest 14-hour trek to the Mid-west I recently took.
It all started when I noticed that an unusually large number of trucks kept flashing their lights and honking at me as I barreled down the highway. Now, in my experience, this kind of behavior meant one of two things:
- There is a cop up ahead. And you are going 93 miles per hour. Slow down, dumbass. Or…
- Your car, which is being held together with duct tape, has something visibly and very, very wrong with it. Like your trunk just fell off.
However, after about three panick-y inspections of my vehicle at rest stops, I knew it wasn’t No. 2 and I immediately dismissed No. 1 since my car can’t go over 75 miles per hour without switching into what I like to call “Seizure Mode.”
So, I decided to call an expert, who, based on the fact that 1. she drives and 2. calls me “kiddo,” would have the answer.
“Mom? Trucks keep honking their horns at me and flashing their lights. What gives?”
“Oh, yeah, that’s how they try to get your attention when they want you to pull over at the next exit with them.”
“I know you’re not that naive.”
“How the hell do you know this?”
“The 80’s were a crazy time, kid.”*
Of course, seeing as how I drive a 2004 Hyundai Accent, which is technically the smallest car you can get without being a card-carrying member of the Circus Clown Car Union, I immediately dismissed what she said. There is absolutely nothing about that car that says “Hey, I’m a road hooker!” If anything, it says “Hey, I dig doing puzzles on Saturday night with my cat!” Sure, it gets great gas mileage, but I doubt that’s what these guys are looking for.
“Wow. She gets 38 miles to the gallon? That chick must be down for a good time at a seedy truck stop!”
But then, this happened:
I’m in the left lane. Some white pick-up is in the right. Out of the corner of my eye, I can see him creeping up on me. Soon, we are side by side. The truck then falls back. Repeat three times. Cut to me getting annoyed because I hate when people don’t abide by the “left is the passing lane” rule. It throws off the ENTIRE flow of traffic. So I, thinking he wants to pass me and considering my car is already in heavy “Seizure Mode,” slow down and pull into the right lane behind him. As we approach the next exit, he starts hitting his brakes. And now, I’m super-duper annoyed because this jackass just two seconds ago wanted to pass me. He then starts to get on the exit ramp and as I speed past him, he begins flashing his lights and honking his horn as he rolls off toward the exciting world of Snow Shoe, PA.
And that’s when it hit me.
I just apparently accidentally gave the international road hooker sign that said “YES! I will get off this exit with you and then we can make a bastard in some Exxon Mobile/Subway parking lot!”
I felt bad for a bit. Even though I just thought I was being a polite driver, my actions caused this poor horny pick-up driver to not only lose a good two minutes of traveling time as he wandered his way through some podunk town, but had also dashed his hopes that he would soon be able to tell his buddies he scored with some Massachusetts foreign car drivin’ slut.
And that bad feeling lasted for all of two seconds.
But then, just to bring this whole thing full circle, I realized that even though I now know about this underground road sex tradition, there is still so much more that I don’t know. Like, if you do actually get off the exit with these guys, how does it work? Do you park side by side? Do you choose the McDonald’s parking lot or Taco Bell? Or is Arby’s considered classier? Do you introduce yourselves or just get down to business? My car or yours? Afterwards, do I at least get a cup of gas station coffee in return? Or maybe a large bag of Cheetos if my performance was suitable?
So many questions. So many no-way-in-hell will I ever know the answers.
But, I guess in the end, you just have to take the good and take the bad and there you have the facts of life.**
*I may have made that last part up.
**See? So wise now.