Go Back to Michigan…

Our car died a day before I was supposed to take a trip to visit my family. “Died” is a strong word I guess, I should say my car had some kind of terrible attack the day before my trip so while it convalesced at the auto spa I drove a rental with Michigan plates.

I drove a minivan with Michigan plates from TN to Ohio. I do not normally drive a minivan. We have done well, even with 4 children in tow to avoid the minivan phase. We’ve also managed to avoid having any and all references to Barney, the purple dinosaur in our house. I feel pretty good about that.

Not only did I drive the minivan, I drove it poorly to boot. After driving a ’96 Suburban for the last 10 years the little snub nose family car of choice was like driving a sports car. That coupled with my stress of “getting there” in one mental and emotional piece, since I was driving on my own with the four children mentioned above, I admit I made some tactical errors. I drove too fast, cut off too many people, nearly ran a red light…the list is somewhat embarassing to continue to disclose to be honest. I do not truly know what came over me and all this before I even got out of Tennessee.

Then, it dawned on me…those Michigan plates…it’s possible all of the people I had just pissed off might actually think I’m from Michigan. I know that I do it. Someone drives erratically and I look at the plate, “Oh, city people” I think…or “Oh, Texas…hmrumph…” I began to wonder what kind of picture people had gotten of me, this half crazed mother in her minivan, children bickering, hair and glasses askew, driving like a maniac, Michigan plates. “Go back to Michigan,” I imagine them shouting at me through their closed windows, fists pounding the steering wheel to punctuate the sentiment.

I’ve been to Michigan, know a number of people from Michigan. Nice place, nice people, decent drivers. I felt horribly guilty for smearing their good name and at the same time I had a strange sense of freedom, anonymity if you will and then I rounded it out with feeling shame for driving so very badly and hiding behind my Michigan plates.

Day in and day out people are going to form opinions about who I am based upon information they gather about me; my driving, my car, my behavior, my clothes, my children, my words…sometimes their perception is off, sometimes it is right on the money. I would like to think that what I leave behind me on the road though is not quite the impression I left that day driving with Michigan plates but I’m working on it.

Sorry, Michigan.

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7 thoughts on “Go Back to Michigan…

  1. Hey, Mrs. I’m a Michigan girl and frankly, our drivers can really suck. I live in a resort town in northern MI, and I deal with the crabby locals who get pissy at the fudgies driving slowly as the gawk at the bay. From May until October it’s one big cluster-you-know-what.

    So, after reading your posts in cyber space, I’ve noticed you are very spiritual. Do you belong to a specific denomination?

  2. Hi Judi…I’m glad the hear I did not shed too awful an image! LOL

    I am a devout follower of Christ, raised Catholic and now, well, the best way to describe my church is post-modern. We do not belong to a certain denomination.

  3. You’re forgiven, Mrs. M. And thank you for proving that it is possible for a MI plate to make it through the state of OH without getting a ticket! I am in awe that you never got a ticket. A year and a half ago, I drove almost the full length of OH and of all of the people pulled over, one was not from MI. I think it’s the whole Buckeye/Wolverine thing, personally. That and the fact that MI police only enforce speed, nothing related to actual safety.

  4. Hi Mrs N…thank you!

    I have a funny story for you, we went on another driving trip in a rented car recently. NY plates…up to Travers city, MI and got stopped for speeding on the way home. Once the police officer saw the screaming brood of little people in the car he took immediate pity on us and gave us a warning…I thought that was nice but NOW, I see….it’s because we did not have OH plates…would have been payback I imagine. LOL

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