As a teenager, I was fearless. OK, so maybe I wasn't as fearless as my best friend, but because of her, we had many fearless moments that teetered on the edge of stupidity.
One night we were cruising the local college campus when we (i.e. SHE) engaged in a flirtatious screaming match with a car full of hormonally-charged guys. I cannot remember the gist of the engagement, only that they squealed a U-turn in the middle of the road and started to chase us.
She thought this was a blast while I was in the passenger seat trying not to uncontrollably empty my bladder.
They taunted us across town. They were not going to accept failure. She hightailed it off into the suburbs heading toward my house. They followed. To this day, I believe the only thing that saved us that night was my brother's best friend, a 6’ 11” monster basketball player, standing in my driveway. One look and they sped past - she still laughing, me shaking in my shoes.
I doubt there is any relevance, but today I don't even make eye contact in the grocery store. Can you imagine? In today's world, that car would have been hauling gun-toting maniacs. As a teenager, the thought never entered her mind that we could be in danger. It was a harmless act of flirtation.
But today is different and I find it sad that kids have to gauge their interaction with others on a whole different level.
Even as an adult, I had a similar experience. I was driving home from work on the 55 freeway in Southern California, bumper to bumper, all traveling about 55 mph. I was in the center of three lanes.
The truck in the left lane behind the truck immediately to my left started honking and flashing its lights. Uh, sorry pal, but there is nowhere to go here was my thought, when the front truck driver picked up a flashlight, aimed it backward, and started flashing it on and off.
Oh. My. Goodness. This enraged the back driver. He sped up and bumped the front truck. I was instantly petrified. I could not just slam on the brakes to let these guys go at it for fear of being rear-ended, but I did start to diminish my speed.
Within a minute or so, there was room for the back truck to safely move over in front of me. I thought surely this would alleviate the issue. I was wrong. Once he changed lanes in front of me, he tried to sideswipe the other truck into the center divider. This nut job was going to take all of us out. I immediately found a way to merge into the right lane and exit the freeway.
Now, this was long before cell phones. We were alone on a deadly racetrack with daredevil drivers. I found an alternate route home the next day.
And I wonder why we all tend to proceed with such caution anymore. Life has changed. Making any kind of contact with anyone anymore is genuinely a risk. How scary is that?
So, if you want to engage in flirtatious communion with me now, I will need a background check, five notarized personal references, proof of insurance, and an executed contract that the receipt of falsified information will result in the termination of friendship if not your manhood. Ah, but that is fodder for yet another rant.
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