Whining on Board

Dear people on the internet,

Why do you take such offense against these little yellow Baby on Board stickers that hang in car windows?

I mean, I kind of get it. I used to be one of you. I assumed that the sticker was there as a way to tell me to slow down and drive more carefully around the baby. I thought that was the equivalent of a mom shushing me in a public area where I should be allowed to talk freely, just because her child was sleeping. (In both cases, I should probably just restrain myself a little better. But also in both cases, I disliked having a stern stranger tell me what to do.)

Here’s a little story: once in high school, I was driving from Lakeport over to Fort Bragg. Between Willits and Fort Bragg is a 30-mile stretch of winding road through the trees – it’s gorgeous, but it’s one lane, with a single passing lane available about 10 miles in from the coast. There are plenty of places to pull over and let someone pass you, though.

I was stuck behind a car rattling along with a Baby on Board sticker. This car would not pull over, no matter that it had been nearly 20 miles, which was unbearable to me, a teenager in a 2-door car with a stick shift. Finally we approached the passing lane, which incidentally was on an uphill stretch, and as I moved over to pass…the jalopy sped up! I barely made it past them, and then I continued on my way…at which point that car tailgated me for the remaining 10 miles of the trip.

I reached the coast and pulled into the parking lot of a grocery store…where the jalopy pulled up behind me, parking me in, and an irate woman got out and began yelling at me about “almost running her off the road” and how she had “a baby in the backseat.” All I could do was stand there in shock (I have never been good at confrontation) – but what I wanted to snap back was that she had plenty of chances to let me pass, she didn’t have to speed up while I was passing her, and she certainly didn’t have to speed up in order to follow me the rest of the way.

So. She was crazy, and should not have behaved that way. Because of her I am now totally paranoid about being followed and trapped in a parking lot, and I always have a contingency plan if I think someone is tailing me.

But, here’s what I started out to say. I realized something, many years later.

The Baby on Board sticker is not there to tell you what to do: it’s just to alert you, the other driver, that the car with the baby is likely to drive slower, more cautiously, and to view yellow lights as “stop now” signals rather than “go very fast.” So if you need to adjust for that, then feel free. I’ll be here, in the right hand lane, signaling carefully and going the speed limit.

Hope this helps, whiny people on the internet!

2 Comments

Filed under "Other people", cars, Children, Memoir, Nature, Not awesome

2 responses to “Whining on Board

  1. Britt

    What a horrible experience. I find it interesting that she concluded that the best option for herself and her baby was to speed up and tailgate you all the way to Fort Bragg. Then proceed to lecture you on the importance of safe driving…what a hypocrite. Fascinating.

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