Somebody has to lead this dance

By Steve Estes

Strictly Drivel

I had every intention of writing this week’s drivel on my disappointment with our community that not one single April Fool’s Day prank was attempted on the general public.

I made a futile stab at it with last week’s Drivel, but I didn’t see one single public display of an April Fool’s Day prank.

There were no torso-less Key Deer heads poking over the fences on US 1. There were no new controversial businesses coming to town. There was no clothing optional resort, nobody tried to sell the Blue Hole, no one tried to put a boat-up McDonald’s at the old swimming hole.

All in all it was just another boring holiday, and I was extremely disappointed.

But just before I sat down to write this piece this week, I got sidetracked with one of my favorite pastimes, which is watching what I call the “Detroit iron foxtrot.”

The foxtrot of which I speak happens on no dance floor. Instead, it occurs routinely in the shopping center parking lot.

Many of the foxtrots to which I have been treated involve multiple units (Detroit iron being vehicles of all shapes and sizes), but this one had just two participants.

This particular foxtrot reminded me of the early days of the women’s liberation movement when after they burnt their bras they also wanted to lead on the dance floor. Personally I saw nothing wrong with either practice because one, I am as much a male pig as the next guy, and two, I’m not that talented a ballroom dancer.

But the comic situations that occur when two people are trying to lead the dance do make for some rather hilarious moments.

Now let me set the scene for you.

I was leaving the grocery store and was walking to my classic ‘Vette (I still can’t believe my beautiful wife bought me this car)  toward the Key Deer Refuge visitor center.

I was parked on what would be the left side of the aisle. So that should orient you for the tale.

I was walking slowly. It was a nice day and I was in no hurry.

There was a gentleman in an older pickup truck and a gentleman in a newer sedan putting their groceries into the vehicles. They both completed the task at about the same time.

They both walked around to their vehicle doors at about the same time and they both closed the doors at about the same time.

The pickup was pulled in to the parking space, the sedan was backed in. They were in side-by-side parking spots. With the way they were parked, in order to leave the spaces they had to stare into each other’s eyes, much the way dancers must do to maintain a rhythm.

One vehicle had Sunshine State tags, so I have no idea if was local, out-of-town or a rental. The other had Monroe County tags, indicative of someone who lives right here on the island or just a few miles down the road.

The pickup placed the car in reverse and began backing out of the space toward the visitor center.

The sedan put the car in drive and started to pull out of the space toward the grocery store.

The truck inched out, the sedan inched out.

Now remember, they were within about three feet of each other and looking at each other through the window.

The truck wouldn’t give and kept backing out in front of the car. He was longer, so more of the truck got into the aisle than the car more quickly.

But the driver of the car, either completely oblivious to the tableau in front of him or just unwilling to yield, continued to come out in short spurts while turning left, directly into the side of the truck.

The truck driver had no intention of giving way and used short hits on the gas pedal to continue backing into the aisle.

I had to stop and watch. I wondered if the participants would kiss, or fall back.

Neither driver would look at the other, I guess for fear that by doing so they would have to yield their respective positions.

Finally, the truck had the car completely boxed in. If the car had continued forward in the left-turn mode it was in, there would have been no choice but to drive through the bed of the pickup.

I think the sedan driver contemplated just that, but I can’t be sure.

The truck driver, uncertain as to the intentions of the sedan, continued to make his way into the traffic flow with short bursts on the gas pedal.

The further he got into the traffic aisle, the closer the sedan got to him.

Finally, like two dancers attempting to lead the dance, they were inches apart and neither could move without colliding.

The sedan finally gave up and backed up so the truck could pull out with no more interference.

I got into my car and pulled away.

I never did hear the music to which they were dancing.

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