Adventures of a Dancing Kumquat

Following the saga of the little citrus with terpsichorean tendencies

Saturday, November 06, 2004

Riding in Cars with Kumquats

First of all, the kumquat would like to apologize for referencing a Drew Barrymore movie with her post title. She just liked the title.

The kumquat is not that fond of people in general. She is very fond of certain specific people, but people considered in the generic sense don't really appeal to her. Actually, they tend to annoy her. Sometimes they interest her, in a fascinated but repulsed kind of way-- not really in the spectator-at-a-traffic-accident way, more in a reading-a-mainstream-women's-magazine-in-a-waiting-room way. More succinctly: people baffle the kumquat.

This phenomenon of bafflement becomes much more evident when the people place themselves behind the large, round, rotating object in a many-doored, combustion-driven contraption.

Sometimes, the kumquat is, frankly, freaked out by these maniacs, uhhh.... drivers. More often than not, she is just utterly confused. Her favorite expression when driving is "That's... 'creative.'" She has cause to use this expression much, much more than she would like.

This morning, for example, the kumquat was nearing work. She approached an intersection with a four-way stop, intending to turn left. Several moments later, another car approached the stop sign to her right. Both cars (the kumquat's and the late-comer) were intending to go the same direction. However, blocking their way were pedestrians-- one set already in the crosswalk and one set almost ready to leave the sanctuary of the sidewalk for the asphalt jungle of the street. The kumquat foolishly thought that she would wait for the pedestrians to cross, then she would turn, then the car who had arrived after her would go directionally forward and everything would be hunky-dory. Silly kumquat.

In case you are ever in a situation similar to the kumquat's, she will now instruct you on the proper procedure. After Car B (the late-comer) stops, it goes forward. The driver of Car B raises its hand and looks at the driver of Car A (the Kumquatmobile)-- either in a gesture of impudence or salutation (the kumquat hasn't quite figured that one out yet, so please use your own judgment when you are faced with this decision.) Then, Car B stops in the middle of the intersection because the first set of pedestrians has not finished crossing. Car B then has a small standoff with the second group of pedestrians, who eventually (and very wisely, in the kumquat's opinion) wave Car B on, then proceed across the street. The driver of Car A (that would be the kumquat) sits rather stunned and annoyed while this whole process takes place, then when everyone is thoroughly gone, proceeds on her way, shaking her head.

The kumquat will now take this opportunity to mention her intersection issues. It seems as if people do not take the Kumquatmobile seriously-- at least not in the vicinity of stop signs. The kumquat has considered and rejected the idea that her vehicle is not visible. The Kumquatmoblie is bright green. Unless she were driving in a field of grass in springtime, the kumquat feels safe to assume that her conveyance is visible. Therefore, the only conclusion left is that people don't take her cute little mode of transportation seriously, since they are always "cutting in line" at four-way stops. The kumquat's mother drives a much larger, more stately car, and doesn't seem to have these issues with the same regularity that the kumquat does. In fact, it was the kumquat's mother who first pointed out these issues. The kumquat will now make the obligatory reference to the the similarity of people's attitudes towards her car and towards the late Rodney Dangerfield and then move on to other matters.

The quintessential combination of cheekiness, idiocy and callousness towards stop sign order occurred a few months ago at the intersection of the Alameda and Atherton Avenue. The kumquat approached, stopped, and started to proceed. As she was starting to proceed, a woman in a minivan approached the stop sign to her right, executed a jackrabbit stop and entered the intersection. As the Kumquatmobile was stopped when MinivanWoman approached the intersection, the kumquat (again, foolishly) thought that it was obvious that the Kumquatmobile was to proceed first. Wrong. MinivanWoman entered the intersection in a very determined manner, so the kumquat stopped preferring to relinquish her turn rather than get minivan cooties on her car. As she passed the Kumquatmobile, MinivanWoman got even more "creative." She turned towards the kumquat and flipped her off. The kumquat isn't sure what engendered the ire of MinivanWoman-- maybe she was mad at the kumquat for relinquishing her turn so easily. Maybe by flipping off the kumquat, MinivanWoman was attempting to goad the kumquat into sticking up for herself-- a sort of psychotic take on "tough love." If this was the intent of MinivanWoman, the kumquat is quite touched. The idea that a perfect stranger is that concerned about the moral fortitude of the kumquat is positively cockle-warming. In the unlikely event that the MinivanWoman is reading this, the kumquat would have her know that she does not enjoy being pushed around and will fight back, however if it's a choice between asserting herself and not acquiring minivan shaped dents in her car, the kumquat will chose pacifism and an intact car. Every time.

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