The Car Line Centipede

Listen. I’m a courteous driver.

I wave people in, I make space for people to pull into the road from parking lots, I move over when new cars are entering the highway. This isn’t anything special, it’s just what we all should do.

But today, I had enough. Today, someone pushed me too far.

Let me set the stage.

We’re in car line. We have been in this for, oh, I’d say about 30 minutes, snaking our way through the lot in a procession of dozens of other cars. This is the line for my daughter’s preschool, which, as you might imagine, takes a while to get through, since the little ones need help getting out of their cars.

Right as I’m getting to the front part of the line where drop-offs actually happen, I see a man in a big pickup snaking his way through the line of cars, passing everyone up. He slows down as he gets to where I am in line, and then, as if he’s Goldilocks and has found the porridge that is just right, he sticks the nose of his truck into the space between me and the car in front of me.

When I tell you I was in utter disbelief …

I looked into the cab of his truck, hoping to lock eyes with him and get a sense of what on earth this man was going. But, of course, he won’t look over at me. He knew he was in the middle of doing me dirty.

Well friends, I just wasn’t having it today. When the car in front of me moved forward, I pushed ahead and eliminated any space that would have allowed him to wiggle in. To my surprise, all the women in the cars behind me did the same. We formed a moving centipede of cars, locked nose to tail as we moved together through the rest of the line. Eventually, the man gave up and went to the end of the line.

I’ve got to tell you, I was proud of myself. I tend to defer to other people, choosing to let them have their way instead of having a confrontation with them. But today, I decided to stick up for myself. It was a small thing, but it built my self-esteem. I showed myself that I am someone who matters.

But maybe more importantly, I’m proud of the line of women who joined me! I mean, that was a united front of women, sticking together to root out an inconsiderate man in our midst. Society has groomed into men the idea that they are entitled to take whatever they want. Honestly, sometimes I don’t even think they do these inconsiderate things with malice. They’re just doing what they have always been allowed to do. But today, me and a bunch of women I don’t know pushed back on that. Just once, we made a man go back to the end of the line.

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