Last night I got flapped.
I'd been in north Philly having dinner with a friend, and started a long highway drive home at about 9pm. Ten minutes after I got on the highway, I became aware of a car hovering in my right-side blind spot, which drives me nuts. I slowed down so he could pass; he stayed level with me. I changed lanes to put a bit of distance between us; he changed lanes also and got right back next to my car. I sped up, he kept pace with unmistakably clear intent.
I changed lanes several times, placing my car in every conceivable type of highway posture, and this car stuck to me like chewing gum.
Now, it wasn't that late, and there were plenty of other vehicles on the road (though it wasn't heavy traffic) -- I didn't feel isolated. But I was seriously unnerved by my inability to shake this clown, while traveling at
I was starting to think about where the police stations are in Philly, whether it would be safer to hop off the highway in an attempt to lose the other car, and the fact that I had left my cell phone on my desk earlier that evening and had no communication at my disposal.
I made one last attempt to lose him by changing lanes, and he immediately sidled back along my right-hand side. By now I was getting pissed, and I turned my head directly to the other car of the first time. As I flipped the driver off while mouthing a very distinct "Fuck you!", I noticed that the driver was holding something up against his window -- it looked like a piece of paper with markings on it, not writing. Almost immediately, he reduced speed and I pulled out ahead, changing lanes and putting a few vehicles between us, but keeping an eye on him in my rear view.
We were approaching a spot where the highway divides, and he pulled over to the left while I stayed to the right. I didn't see him exit, but could no longer find him in my rear view, though I checked all the way home. When I got to my suburban exit, I watched the off ramp behind me for a hundred yards or so, and no cars exited after me. I was rattled, but felt it would be safe to continue on home without first pulling into a well-lighted, heavily-populated area and leaning on my horn until help came.
I am unnerved by the whole thing and the fact that he gave up so quickly when he did -- was it the F.U., or that fact that I had finally looked at him/his piece of paper? -- confuses me. Was he trying to convey a serious message of some kind? (But the paper had no words on it, just some meaningless scribbles and dots.) Was he hoping that I'd be so flustered that I'd pull over, thus making myself vulnerable to carjacking or worse? (Certainly not carjacking; I drive a piece of crap '92 Mazda Protege.) Is he in the grip of a sexual kink that makes it impossible for him to get off until he gets a strange woman to see his magical piece of paper with the secret symbols on it?
What do you think?...