You know that urban legend about gangsters driving around at night with their headlights off, just waiting for passersby to flash them, only to follow said passersby home and later murder them? Well, my story’s related. Kind of. Minus the whole gangster/murder thing.
While it’s often one of the first things I do after starting the engine and buckling my own seatbelt, I sometimes forget to turn on my car’s headlights. I’m talking about daytime headlights here—a habit I’ve gotten into the past few years or so, deeming it safe practice to just keep the lights on all the time. (Nighttime’s another story. Then, it’s pretty obvious to me when the lights aren’t on, because I see terribly in the dark to begin with.)
Anyway. Back to daytime headlights. I sometimes forget to turn them on straightaway. I often won’t realize I’ve neglected to turn them on until I’m driving and I notice another car—one coming from the opposite direction—turn on its headlights. When I witness this action, I almost always look to my dashboard to see if my lights are on. If they are—yay! And if not, I turn them on.
This has happened enough times—I witness one car in a long string of others turn on its lights, then I turn on mine—that I figure it should work in reverse, right?
Like, say I’m driving along. I realize that my lights are off, so I switch them on. My own experience tells me that chances are good another car coming the opposite way and driving without headlights is likely to see me turn on my lights, and then do the same. Right? Right?!
Wrong! For three years—give or take a little—I have been having this competition in my head between me and other unsuspecting drivers. In fact, it has now become an official item on my bucket list, to influence another driver out there to turn on his or her headlights by initiating turning on mine, and be able to witness it all go down.
It’s not like I haven’t done all I can to increase my chances in those moments. When I realize I’ve not turned on my lights, I wait before turning them on, for a long line of unlit cars. I just figure, if there are several drivers who are able to see my lights spring into action, there are several chances for me to win my contest. One of those drivers should feel moved to do the right thing. The safe thing.
They elude me to this day!
I’ve attempted to coerce drivers with my actions at least fifty or sixty times thus far. Not that I’m counting or anything. It’s just a rough estimate. And all for naught. I’m telling you. The day I switch on my lights and cause someone else coming the opposite way to do the same, will be a day of grand celebration. I’m talking huge fist pumps in the air. Maybe a loud ‘whoop whoop’ and a thumbs up out the window to show my appreciation that finally—finally—someone had the good sense to follow my lead. And maybe—just maybe—a glass of bubbly to mark the occasion when I get home.
If this all sounds a little bit desperate and silly to you, don’t worry. It’s OK. It sounds that way to me too. This is what it’s like to live inside my head. Feel free to report back about your own experiences. If you are someone whose car-headlight-influencing skills are far greater than mine, do you have any tips or tricks to share? If so, I’d appreciate hearing them!