As Mark backs out of our parking space in the cramped library parking lot, a large gray SUV pulls behind us.
We all turn to watch the driver maneuver her way down the aisle, because she is going the wrong way down a very narrow passageway, and the correctly aimed oncoming traffic is not pleased to accommodate her. Mark backs out of our space and follows the flow of traffic around and about to the parking lot’s exit. As we wait to turn right, the gray SUV emerges from the library’s parking lot entrance (because the driver is still going the wrong way) from our left. The driver does not pause (although, to be fair, she did not actually have a stop sign) as she swings illegally into traffic, and so we end up having to wait until she passes in front of us before we make our turn.
As we pull in behind her, Mark realizes, “Hey, that’s the same woman who was going the wrong way in the parking lot.”
Maj points, “We should totally call and tell on her.”
“Look, Mother . . . She has one of those stickers so you can call and report her for bad driving.”
Sure enough, there is a large sticker on the back of the SUV that says, “How’s my driving? Report this driver at . . .” and then there is a phone number.
“Call it, Mother. Call the number and report her.”
I do not pick up my phone, “She probably just got flustered in that stupid one-way parking lot and then wanted to get out quickly. It’s not a big deal.”
“Call the number, Mother. Someone wants to hear about how she is messing up.”
“I’m not reporting her, Maj. Weird that car has a sticker like that . . . it doesn’t look like a commercial vehicle.”
Maj is annoyed, “What is the point of someone going to the trouble of asking you to report bad driving if no one is going to report bad driving?”
Kallan is puzzled by her sister’s annoyance, “She didn’t make a big mistake; she just made a little mistake. Geez, Maj.”
Maj turns to her sister, “The sticker is there for a reason, young lady.”
Kallan is thoughtful for a moment, “You know what would be awesome?”
I glance back at Kallan, “What, babe?”
Kallan giggles, “When I get a car, I am going to get a sticker like that, only I am going to have the number on the sticker be my own phone number.”
Kallan acts the part of both sides of the imagined conversation . . .
OK, so let’s say I accidentally speed a little bit and then make a lane change without using my turn signal.
And then my phone rings . . . BRrrrriiiiiiinngggggg.
“Yes, I would like to report that the driver ahead of me is speeding and also failed to use her turn signal.”
“Hmmm . . . yes, let me take a report. Are you on your phone right this minute?”
“Yes, I am driving right behind the person I would like to report.”
“You are aware that talking on the phone while you drive your car is illegal, right? Can I have your name and license plate number?”
“Just your name will do . . . I can just read your license plate number in my rear-view mirror.”
“Alright, I’ve got that information. What was your name?”
“You are right in front of me? I am not giving you my name.”
“I will just put down Unreasonable Butthead, then.”
“You can’t talk to me that way!”
“Mr. Unreasonable Butthead, sir? You called me . . . I am only keeping up my end of the conversation.”
“This is ridiculous!”
“I know, right? You would think people would have better things to do than spend their time pointing out the small errors other people make. So is there anything else I can do for you today, Mr. Butthead?”
“I will report you!”
“Feel free to call the number on the back of this vehicle if you have any complaints. Have a nice day!”
I reach back and high-five Kallan, “That . . . was . . . awesome.”
Maj is outraged, “That was not awesome! She is undermining the protective intent of the sticker!”
I speak soothingly as I reach back for Maj’s hand, “You know what your Daddy and I will do? Just so you can be assured we take this seriously, when you get your driver’s license, Maj? Daddy and I will get a sticker and put it right on the back of your car . . . HOW’S MY DRIVING? GIVE MY MOM A CALL AND LET HER KNOW IF YOU SPOT A PROBLEM . . . and then my cell phone number.”
Kallan laughs hysterically as Maj shrieks in protest, “Noooooo!”
I look over at Mark, “That’s actually a really good idea . . . we need to remember that.”
Kallan leans over to Maj . . . “You know those magnet signs they put on cars? Easy to get a magnet to cover over Mom’s number with your cell phone number.”
Kallan pats Maj’s hand, “When the time comes, I’ll help you out.”
Maj giggles and picks up an imaginary phone, “Hello, is this Mr. Butthead again?”