Friday, July 29, 2011

Truck drivers wave at her

About 25 years ago, I accompanied a woman I knew on her weekly automobile rides to New York City. She had a heavy foot on the gas pedal, but kept her dyed blond head focused on the rear view and side view mirrors. I had my instructions too - "look out for the troopers, but don't be obvious."

We drove to New York during non-rush hour times but on the ride home, cars and trucks filled the highway. Her mouth moved nonstop - usually about nothing. Once in a while we talked about our children, and she talked about her husbands and how jealous everybody was of her.

At one point, she even included me in the jealous of her group, but soon realized how wrong she was. I think the psychological term is projection when one attributes to another the emotion that one is feeling. Anyway, there were many times that she asked me for advice. But she held onto the idea that her singing teacher, a notable in the world of voice coaches, was jealous of her - not so much her voice but her figure, her so-called brains, and her academic credentials. I held my tongue because, as my husband says, her degree was not a PhD but a PHONY.

One day, while driving back to Philly from New York, she hiked up her skirt, tugged down her shirt, moistened her lips, and honked as we approached the front doors of an 18-wheeler. The driver looked through his window at her, waved and beeped his horn.

"See," she said. "I told you. All the truck drivers wave to me."

"You honhked and waved first," I said, trying to inject a touch of reality into her strange world.

"Sure," she said. "but he didn't have to wave back. He could have ignored me," which is exactly what I was trying to do.

She repeated her honk and wave at two more trucks who replied with good manners and good humor. Don't know what they were thinking but I knew right then that if I got home in one piece, I would never go with her again.

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