Don't mess with the beetle.

I was feeling the love from other drivers Saturday. I managed to get cut off, have to swerve entirely out of my lane, slam my brakes on, or honk obnoxiously at people no less than seven times. Because I own a beetle, when I honk at them they look angrily at me, then realize that my beetle is so damn cute and they manage to smile and wave at me anyway – which is entirely unsatisfying when I want them to hate me as much as I hate them. In the midst of this storm cloud of bad drivers there was a ray of sunshine that put a big smile on my face for the rest of the day.

I had just pulled up to a red-light and was feeling a bit of the red-haze because the driver in front of me was on the celly. Thankfully she was the only car in front of me and had her right turn signal on. No turn on red though, and up ahead past the intersection there are parked cars. This is trouble because there’s a red sports car in the front of the left lane and this freaking sedan next to me that’s gone out of his way for the past mile to prevent me from getting into that lane.

The light changes, and predictably the celly woman is paying no attention and the other lane is off. I’m a fraction of second away from my fifth horn blast of the day when she begins her leasurely turn. I swerve as much as I can without veering out of my lane to get past her as early in her turn as possible. It’s no use, though the red car is 3 or 4 lengths in front of me and the sedan has passed me as well. I stomp on the pedal in first gear and hear the satisfying whine of the turbo as it hits 3000 rpm. Another click and I shift to second, engine speed still in the sweet spot. I drop the clutch a little too roughly, but that’s OK. The beetle likes it. I hear her begging for more.

This is a thirty five mile an hour road and I’ve got a quarter mile until there’s a immobile car in my lane. Traffic to my left refuses to abate and I have my eye only just one spot. The spot immediately in front of the little red sports car. By now I’m pushing 5000 rpm still in second gear and I guarantee you I’ve left that 35 mph limit far behind. My tires squeal a bit going into third gear as I watch the sedan come into sight in my rearview. The sports car is putting up a fight, but not enough of one to stop me now. I continue to apply steady pressure to the gas – I want in front of them, not to cut them off.

Finally, with a scant three or four car lengths to spare I hop into the left lane, tapping my signal as almost an afterthought. No need for it though – that red car knew exactly what I was doing. With my mission accomplished I let off the gas and let the engine drag from third gear slow me down to within I-won’t-lose-my-license-if-I-get-caught range of the speed limit. Safely past the parked car I signal quickly again and hop back into the right lane, knowing that it belongs completely to me now.

The red sports car, clearly has an interest in going faster than me, now that my immediate obstacle has been cleared and is pulling steadly closer in my side-view. I’m no sore winner, so I’ll let him pass. Just as he pulls up even with me something really freaking annoying happens. He honks.

“Gah – not another one!”, I think to myself, flexing various digits in preparation for their deployment should it become necessary. My thumb edges closer to my own horn. I brace myself for whatever this guy might have in store (let’s hope it’s not a firearm this time) and turn to look at him, my face dour.

Besides me the gentleman is ecstatic. Waving, honking at me and giving me a thumbs up with a huge smile on his face.

It must be the beetle. I swear, I could run over your kids in that thing and you’d think it was cute.

I wave and give him a thumbs up in return as I prepare to turn right onto my street. My signal on, my clutch in neutral and my foot on the brake I make the slow turn off of the main road, still looking at my enthusiastic friend in the red sports car waving and cheering me on.

Keep on driving, red sports car man. Keep on given hell to those that would pass you.


  1. M Litherland says:

    For those of the law-enforcement persuasion, let me assure you that this tale is entirely fictional.

  2. jeff says:

    niCe. very niCe.