A few weeks ago I had a very early start to my morning. I was driving in the country and soaking in the humble, endless sunrise and the promise of a new day. I literally saw dew lingering just over the landscape and was overwhelmed with a sense of fullness. Nothing missing, nothing wrong.
Several minutes into my serene drive I noticed I was being tailgated by an SUV. Even in the dawn I could see the windows were tinted. I looked at my speedometer to confirm I wasn’t traveling obscenely slowly (my offenses are usually in the “too fast” category) and sure enough I was moving at a decent, albeit legal pace.
I moved a bit faster and the SUV followed suit. That vehicle didn’t want to pass me badly enough to take the chance of actually doing so, and just continued to ride my tail as closely as possible. We have all had the experience of wanting to hit the brakes just for the mere satisfaction of causing a collision when another driver is attempting to push our car faster than we are driving it. Not something I recommend, nor have I done. Just a fantasy I guess.
But I took the moral and literal high road. “Maybe there is a family emergency” I thought to myself, or “They are late helping someone get somewhere…”. I went on to say a short prayer that “Everyone may be safe and healthy.” As I did so I moved to the side of the road where I sat, allowed it to wiz by me, and take off into the distance. Phew. Now I could get back to the “dew on the landscape.”
About 20 minutes later and into civilization, I approached an intersection. There just were not that many souls on the road so early in the morning, and I had no trouble recognizing the now stopped SUV in front of me with tinted windows. Great news! Seems everyone probably IS ok… Just an aggressive driver or something like that.
With nothing else to do I focused in on the family type appliqué on the SUV rear window. You know the kind, with stick figures that represent the adults, kids and often pets, in the “household”. Putting one of these on my vehicle never seemed like a good idea, especially since I didn’t feel like reminding myself that I have one living child but what to do about the other three, “should they too have a decal? Or not? Or is that weird?” Like I said, never seemed like something for me to do.
But alas, this vehicle that had all but driven me off the back road during my “nature meditation” was sitting in front of me with this decal. Only the stick figures weren’t people. They were weapons. There was a heavy machine gun to the far left, some mid sized guns (moving left to right) and on the far right a pistol. Above it wrapped a sentence that formed an arch over the guns and read: “Meet my gun family.”
I have no interest in getting into a Second Amendment conversation. I don’t personally own a gun, but I know many people that do and have no issue. Nor do I have an issue with moving over when the car behind me is in more of a hurry than I am.
But when I saw the slogan, I definitely felt a touch of angst. I wasn’t imagining the feeling of intimidation earlier in the drive. Seeing those weapons, called a “family” I realize is probably harmless. But when I saw it, my insides said something like “Naturally…that makes total sense.”
In 2021 we are all pretty “woke” about the fact that families come in all shapes and sizes: One parent, two moms, two dads, grandparents, siblings raising siblings and what I hear often termed “blended” families. Love it. The more the merrier. We all need one.
But a gun family? There was just some part of me that felt saddened for the driver.
But it only lasted a moment. Once I realized that SUV had gone through all of that trouble, to push through and flex its engine muscles to push past me, I quickly chuckled and forgot about the gun family. I just thought about how sweet it was to pull up behind it, almost saying out loud: “Fancy meeting you here.”
Such sweet satisfaction. The only thing better than that, is when a vehicle that flies by me is pulled over by the speed police and I see them together on the side of the road as I continue merrily on my way.