“What the hell is he doing?” my friend asked. I looked at the little black oncoming car driving slowly across the intersection, jumping the median, and cruising into the left turn lane next to me. I twisted to watch the car as it meandered back into the median, continuing past me.
“Holy crap, there’s no driver! Call 911!” I continued to crane around and watch as the car swerved back and forth across the median, the four way flashers blinking. The car drifted back onto the road, stopping traffic before the moron behind me honked. Was I the only one concerned that an unmanned car was cruising up the highway? Would I incite road rage in said moron if I continued to stare until the light turned red again? Since few people can rock the bullet-wound look, I decided to move along.
At no time did I feel compelled to jump out and chase down the runaway sub-compact. On my last semi-heroic gesture, I bailed out to inform the car in front of me that his lights were out. I managed to jog two steps before my knee locked up. We were waiting for a train to pass, but by the time I staggered to the driver’s side window, the train was a distant memory, and the line was moving again.
Somehow the driver was able to interpret my wild gesticulations and incoherent babbling as, “the lights on your trailer are out.” Either that or “I am a carjacker. Hop out.” He seemed to get the message just before he roared off into the distance, leaving me standing like an idiot in the road.
Clearly, I’m getting too old for Chinese fire drills.
I tried to imagine under what circumstances someone would leave a running car in gear on the highway. Was the driver still in the car and reaching for a CD under the passenger seat when he got his arm stuck? I had no trouble imagining this scenario, since it took me five minutes and several yoga positions to free my arm. Was the driver slumped over after suffering a massive coronary? If so, does a Girl Scout CPR badge expire after forty-two years?
Two hours later, when we were returning home, the rogue vehicle was parked in the median not far from where we reported it. We credit the speedy response of the police to our prompt 911 call. The fact that this occurred right in front of the police station was totally immaterial.
While calling the police doesn’t quite qualify us as heroes, I didn’t aggravate my arthritic knee, or the moron leaning on his horn. I’m sure that if I had my hero shoes on, I could have chased down the car, stopped it, and saved the day. Fortunately, I left me hero shoes at home.