October 30, 2009

My fingers curled around the cold steering wheel and I flexed them in protest. On days like this every joint in my body aches, and the knuckles in my hands are no exception. All 28 of them. I squinted right and left, hoping for an opening in the afternoon traffic going by the shopping center. I saw one coming and shifted my foot on the gas pedal.

Just as I eased the big Buick into the road, a red Ford Ranger that had seen better days screeched to a stop in the opposing lane. His left turn signal was on. The young man behind the wheel rolled down his window and made the obligatory hand gesture, one handed down from generation to generation in preparation for just such times or for whatever other reason one might deem necessary or amusing.

“Old fart!”

I stared straight ahead and slowly moved the big Buick across the road, one hand on the steering wheel, the other below the window, clenched into a tight fist with a single digit extended. As I crawled past the young man I gave him a vacant half-smile that suggested I was somewhat embarrassed by, and apologetic of, my driving skills. Which I wasn’t.

“Up yours, y’ little putz…!” I smiled through clenched teeth as our eyes briefly met.

I caught a glimpse of the red truck in my rear view mirror as he shot into the parking lot and sped out of sight.

As I drove down the street towards home I began to chuckle to myself, thinking back nearly half a century to another road in another city many miles away. I could still see the old man’s vacant smile as our eyes met briefly. He had glanced apologetically at me as he had urged the old Packard onto the road.

“Old fart!” I had muttered smugly to myself, shooting the old man a smirk. I had popped the clutch on the old ’51 Plymouth, squealing the tires as I pulled into the parking lot and the old man drove out of sight.

I smiled at the memory.

I had never realized until today that the old bahstid had been giving me the finger and calling me names behind that vacant smile.



  1. Hey, thanks! Nice to meet another ol’ codger with a sense of humor! I like your bumper stickers.



  2. Wonderful post.

    I don’t normally drop links in comments but I think my bumper stickers for older drivers might be of interest (at least I hope so).


    All the best and thanks for the post.


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