Thursday, May 20, 2010

A close shave

Despite the fact that the day dawned glorious and only became more so as the sun rose higher into the clear blue sky, I took the car to work today. I had errands to run during the day and on the way home from work, so pushing pedals from one end of the city to the other just wasn't going to cut it.

Still, I made the best of it. I slid open the sunroof, found my favorite set of tunes on the media player and set off. I was having a lovely, reflective drive until I got to a stretch of a near-rural two-lane road that, oddly on this day, was backed up with traffic. As I slowed down and joined the vehicular equivalent of a conga line, I peeked a little more closely into my rearview mirror to make sure the guy behind me was doing the same. Thankfully, he was, so I settled into the routine of driving slower than the average cyclist.

After a couple of minutes, it became apparent we'd be here for a bit longer. The GPS still showed 2 km to the turnoff, and this being the middle of nowhere on the way to the airport, I had nowhere else to turn. I looked in the rearview again, and something looked funny. The guy - now clearly identified as a middle-aged, shades-wearing man with thinning hair - was peering longingly into his passenger seat. He was alone in the car, so clearly he was eyeing something on the seat that had little to do with piloting his vehicle. My spidey senses began to tingle as he seemingly reached across for something.

Sure enough, the driver of the circa 1998 sandy-green Chevrolet Malibu soon had something in his hand, which he proceeded to rub up and down his face and neck. Yes, folks, he was shaving while creeping through traffic.

Now, I realize it isn't my place to impose my will on total strangers. But considering he was piloting a vehicle that could potentially emboss the Chevy bowtie into my rear bumper during the critical transition between the adam's apple and the chin, I took exception to his little display of multitasking. I watched him closely to ensure he stayed sufficiently far back, and after a few stop-and-almost-no-go cycles, I realized he simply wasn't up to the task.

So I stopped. And I waited. The cars in front of me slowly moved forward, opening up the distance between us, as Malibu Man continued his quest for silky facial smoothness. I waited some more. He had no idea. I continued to wait. He continued to electrically obliterate his facial hair, completely oblivious to what I was doing. I briefly entertained getting out of my car and knocking quietly on his window to ask if he wanted me to hold a mirror for him, but then thought better of it. As funny as it would have been - and make no mistake, I would have laughed for days at the memory of the experience - the safety risk just didn't seem worth it.

After what seemed like an age but was likely more like 90 seconds, he looked ahead and realized what I was up to. He didn't honk - stupid-guilt, perhaps? - as I dropped the car back into drive and eased back into line.

I hope his colleagues appreciated his dedication to personal grooming.

Your turn: The strange things you've seen while driving. Please discuss.

10 comments:

Anonymous said...

...Adrian?

Anonymous said...

I love the idea of "stupid-guilt". Despite its negative aspects, I can definitely see how it's universally applicable, even to myself. The person who doesn't realize until too late they've been given an advance-green; the smoker who lights up a split-second before realizing no one else around him partakes; the bartender who hears a drunken tire-screech after one of his too-regulars has left their perch...

Mark said...

That was colossal stupid-guilt.

I remember seeing a guy "drink" dry cereal from one cup, and then follow up with a sip of milk from another, and then chew and swallow before repeating the process.

No, wait, that was me.

LZ Blogger said...

Carmi ~ I had never used a GPS until our last trip (when my son loaned me his). I may never be able to travel without it now! ~ jb///

NJ said...

I have seen the same thing before...maybe they should extend the cellphone law to include no shaving. However, the scariest thing I have seen was the day, we were travelling down the 401 between Toronto and Napanee. A car ahead of us would cross the centre line, then meander back to the right and hit the shoulder. We wondered if the driver was drunk. I decided to pass quickly and get out of the road. As we passed we noted the driver a 30ish woman had a paperbook novel held in front of her steering wheel and was reading. All I could think was that this really stretched the assessment, "It was a really good book. I just couldn't put it down."

If I had a cellphone at the time I would have called the police because it was just so unsafe...

It sort of brings to life the card I bought yesterday that states "Rainy days and morons always get me down" :)

Have a great long weekend and stay safe!

Mojo said...

"Critical transition between the adam's apple and the chin"... you, my friend, are gifted.

As not-funny as I'm sure it was at the time, the way you tell this story had me doing the suppressed cubicle-laugh until I nearly burst.

At least until I thought of all those drive-by photographs I've shot over the years. (Though those are taken only in cases where there is little to no traffic in the immediate area.)

~jill said...

i live in southern california. A better question would be "what haven't I seen?" people change clothes while driving on the freeways here...it's nuts.

bobbie said...

In our tourist town, we see all manner of things like this. One evening I was following one of THEM up a steep bridge. You couldn't see if traffic was coming from the other side toward you. We had almost reached the crest when he apparently decided he wanted to go the other way and made a U-turn without warning. We made it without accident! but my heart was in my mouth.

Nikki-ann said...

I have no idea why people think it's acceptable to groom themselves while in control of a car... I once followed a woman up the road who was brushing her hair, then putting her lippy on using the rear view mirror! Surely this kind of stuff should be done before getting into the car!

MB said...

The most recent crazy thing I've seen on the roads lately was a guy riding his Harley while texting. Really? I don't always have my hands on 10 and 2 when I drive my truck but if I were riding a motorcycle I think I would want to use BOTH hands. Oh, stupid people make me want to scream.