Over the years I’ve met a lot of famous and important people. The powerful and the wannabes and the has-beens. Big-time writers and actors and singers and industrialists. An astronaut who went to Washington and back into space again. A professional golfer who fell down when we collided at a tournament – hey, it was his fault.
None of that, though, compares with all the very important persons I nearly ran into last week while driving home.
I don’t know their names, and they weren’t driving big, fancy cars. Still, I immediately realized they were important because of the ingenious, though illegal, way they thought of to get ahead of me after an accident had slowed traffic on the interstate to a crawl.
I was in the right lane, perhaps a mile from my exit. Going-home traffic was barely going at all. The passing lane was moving a bit faster, but I didn’t move over because then I would have had to return into the right lane when I reached the exit, and it would have been rude to social-climb to the front of the line.
To my right, even more cars were joining the fray from an on-ramp. We let those folks in, even though we hardly moved at times. That was the decent thing to do when in public.
Then I looked back and saw a Ford several cars behind me pull over onto the shoulder, drive for a distance, then shift right onto the on-ramp that was merging with the interstate. It was pretending to be a newcomer, not a fellow traveler, and up ahead I saw it join the right-hand lane again just before my exit. A Ford! More accurately, a fraud!
That opened the floodgates. Other important people mimicked the Ford, cutting illegally and immorally to the front of the line. For some reason, the people ahead of me who had been waiting a long time let those cheaters in. Perhaps they mistook them for legitimate on-rampers.
If you’ve ever waited in line outside a concert or when buying your new iPhone – only to find the line growing no shorter because people are cutting in ahead of you – you know how I felt as I slowly edged home.
Car after car passed to my right, cut into line and went merrily on the way.
I didn’t recognize the drivers, but no doubt they couldn’t be bothered to wait in a traffic jam. Perhaps their spouses were waiting on them. Their children might have been nervously wondering “What has happened to Daddy?” or “Where’s Mommy?” Their suppers were probably on the table, growing cold.
I never got these celebrities’ autographs because, as I said, I didn’t actually run into any of them. There were a few near-misses, but no “Here’s my insurance card” or “Look at my fender!”
We escaped unscathed, unlike the drivers of the cars beside the road at the crash up ahead that had brought these privileged drivers to the front of the line.
I hope all those poor VIPs got home all right.