Monday, October 03, 2016

The Bad Driver

I'm on my way home for supper and remember I need flour and paper towel and ground beef, so I pull into the Save On Foods parking lot. It's busy in here. It's raining. I'm cruising for a prime parking space when a car pulls out right in front of me without warning. I slam on my brakes and it floats past, unconcerned, like the queen of something or another. It could be almost regal, the way that thing moves, if it weren't for everything else about it. It's big and brown and old, a boat of a car, covered in rust. The driver, an older woman with short brown curly hair who looks generally disinterested in operating a motor vehicle, is staring blankly into space, presumably into a future with self-driving cars and obstacle-free parking lots the size of oceans. Just going along, oblivious, in slow motion but much too fast.

As she rounds the corner, she looks back at me for a brief moment - maybe not at me, but by me. It's in this time space that a man decides to cross in front of her and she almost mows him down, slow and steady. I see him jump and gesture wildly, his face red. She doesn't seem to notice, but continues on her way. Almost five whole seconds later, a short, notably pregnant woman is also sent scurrying to safety, her friend screeching from the sidewalk what we're all thinking: "Hey! Watch where you're going!"

I park and go into the store.

This particular grocery store has little green carts for kids to push. Sullivan thinks it's the best thing ever, and struts around with his cart like he owns the place. It's a win/win situation, really, because I don't have to carry or push anything, I just drop it all into his cart and direct him around. We only ever have trouble when we pass the cereal aisle, because he has an affinity for breakfast sugar and kind of loses his brains over it.

We get some ground beef for supper and I throw a bag of chips in there too, and then I look up in time to see Sullivan, the carefree King of the World, rounding the corner without checking to see what's there and crashing his mini-sized cart right into the regular-sized cart of a woman who's half inside the egg fridge trying to find a carton without a smashed one. The carts make your standard cacophonous crashing noise and the woman in the egg freezer jolts upright, her brown, curly hair fluffed up around her face, which I recognize. It's the one from the big old brown car.

She doesn't seem mad but her laugh is short and she speaks to me in a thick, Russian accent: "Your little boy. He is not so good at driving, uh?"