We love to drive through neighborhoods and look at the homes. Even the kids enjoy it. I think it's one of the reasons Bruce loves architecture. We do it everywhere--around home, in neighboring towns and always on trips. Hopefully the price of gas won't rob of us this family activity.
We were in Seattle with a couple of hours to kill before boarding our boat. We'd already been to Pike's Market where we'd admired the flowers, sampled red-pepper honey on crackers and purchased a marzipan cinnamon roll that was so delicious, I experience occasional cravings even now, a year later. With time on our hands, we did the only logical thing to do. We drove around looking for a neighborhood with interesting homes.
Seattle is beautiful, one of my favorite cities. In fact, it's the setting for the novel I'm currently finishing. We hadn't even made it to an actual neighborhood when we were startled by a man in a car behind us laying on his horn--loud and long. We hadn't done anything wrong--no bewildered out-of-state-driver lane changes, we weren't driving too fast or too slow. We'd done nothing that should prompt this manic horn-honking.
The kids in the back seat turned around and looked at him to see what the problem was and he flipped them off, several times.
A strange thing happens when someone flips me off. I experience a combination of amusement at the obvious lack of communication skills and irritation that I can't respond with anything that will tell them what I think of them. My usual response is to smile and wave, so that's what we did. All six of us.
The man roared past us on the right side of the car, even though there was no lane there and he narrowly missed a parked car before swerving back into the lane in front of us. At the next light, we were right behind him, so we did what any family itching for a fight would do. We honked and waved again, all of us smiling.
Immediately, without turning around to look at us (although I'm pretty sure he was looking in the rear-view mirror), his right arm began pumping up and down, middle finger extended. Over and over and over and over. We should have been appalled, but we couldn't stop laughing. The arm kept pumping until the light changed and he pulled out. Now he was creeping down the road at about ten miles an hour. We weren't in a hurry so I don't think it had the desired effect. We just kept laughing.
Another light, another wave and smile from us and another minute or two of furious birdie flipping. He looked like a machine. We had to be hitting a record. Do you think anyone else has been flipped off a hundred times in about four minutes? It was impressive. We followed him for a few more lights, driving him to insanity with our friendly waves and smiles.
And then one of the kids made an astute observation. "I think he's really crazy. Maybe we should just get away from him." It seemed the wise thing to do, so we turned off at the next opportunity and never saw him again, but not before the man in the old, red Honda entered our family vacation hall of fame.