So, you’ve all seen this bumper-sticker, yes? Coexist. Normally I think that’s a fine sentiment. Live and let live; expect a live-and-let-live mentality from those whose views might in reality be diametrically opposed to mine. Or not. Meh. I do prefer to be open. I prefer, within reason, to be vulnerable. I do, however, lock the front door when I shower. I’m not a complete idiot.

I googled (such a lovely verb) the word coexist this afternoon after nearly being sideswiped on my way out of Pittsford Wegmans. There’s some fairly nasty vitriol out there opposed to the whole concept of coexistence. Who knew?

Ok, maybe I’m terribly naïve, arriving late to the party and all. I thought … no, I hoped the idea of coexistence stood a chance at least. And then I found the impulse toward it significantly lacking … in me. Why, for example, did this title (thank you, Google) resonate: “Coexist? You first.”

One thing I must clarify: Pittsford Wegmans is the flagship store of the grocery chain. It is the closest grocery store to my home. For you who knew me in NYC, 20 Skillman Ave Food Dynasties could easily fit inside it. The organics section alone takes up about as much room as all of the Fairway on the Upper West Side. Ok, the latter is a slight exaggeration. I’ll throw in the freezer aisles and half the dairy section. My point is that people come from all over to this grocery store, and the parking lot is frequently overrun. (Don’t get me started on the congestion leading up to Christmas and New Year’s! There were sheriffs directing traffic. Note plural.) There are two lanes leaving the lot (both can turn left) and three lanes leading from the plaza in which it’s situated to Monroe Avenue (two can turn left onto the avenue, one goes right).

At first I thought maybe the driver was more enlightened than I. It was Prius, the car that sported the Coexist bumper-sticker. Better with the fuel consumption, and more willing to be upfront with her ideology! Now I think the woman driving it was either clueless or, worse, feeling a singular sense of entitlement totally not in keeping with the idea of coexistence… or absolutely in keeping with the idea of coexistence as long it’s coexistence in keeping with her set of rules.

I first noticed her when she moved from the left lane (of the two) turning left to join traffic to the main avenue. She did one of those fake stops right after the car in front of her turned left, and didn’t give the guy who’d waited to turn a chance to go. It was totally his turn. I was to her right, and had pulled up to the stop at the same time as she had. I’m nice (or so I like to think), and had a little time before picking up Kate, so I let him go. I gave her a pass. We’re all in a hurry sometimes. But, and this I’ve learned from experience (makes up for my naïveté a little, no?), my wary-factor went up a little. When we ended up next to each other in the two-out-of-three lanes turning left onto the avenue, I thought “Hmmm, I wonder if she’ll switch lanes mid-turn?” And she did. Right into my front end had I not hit the brakes. I may also have hit the horn.

Coexist. Just stay the hell out of my way. That’s what her bumper-sticker said to me today. Which might be the main reason I shouldn’t put it on our car. Heaven knows how my driving might alter the concept for the guy driving behind or beside me!


About pattiblaine

Raised under the name of Snyder in the upstate NY town of Vestal, I've worked as a typesetter, a fast food salad bar tender, an art reviewer, a waitress, a part-time nanny, and a very-bad-with-phones temp. Once upon a time I was all-but-thesis toward a Masters in Art History. Now I'm just a mom with a lot of fiber squirreled away throughout the house. We call it insulation. In 2013 I completed a life-long learning program at Colgate Rochester Crozer Divinity School, and am a postulant toward the diaconate in the Episcopal Diocese of Rochester, NY. In addition to coordinating volunteers for the soup kitchen, I volunteer as a tutor at a deeply impoverished city elementary school, and am a docent at the Memorial Art Gallery.
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3 Responses to Coexistence

  1. Lindsey says:

    So you & the car are safe? And did said lady even have a clue as to what had happened? We were in that plaza tonight on the other end and someone in a Mercedes was driving with complete entitlement through the parking lot. Makes my blood boil. I hope Lady Coexist heard your horn loud & clear.

    • pattiblaine says:

      How completely dweeb-ish of me is it to say: OMG, Lindsey reads my blog! 🙂 I know you do, and still I’m thrilled. Thank you.

      Car and I are fine. Just miffed. I should not ever go to that Wegmans in the afternoon. We do not mix well, that Wegmans and I after 10 a.m. or so.

      And now I’m remembering the last time I was there, sick as I was, needing milk and (god help me) kale, and waiting my turn at the produce scale, exchanging pleasantries with a stranger whose chin and cheeks were hooked up behind her ears in an expensive-looking and surgical manner. That shop is a trip! One way or the other.

  2. DawnK says:

    Argh! I’m glad you and your car are okay! I’m quick to lay on my horn, when people drive like that around me. Sheesh.

    Okay, I don’t coexist well with Buicks who suddenly turn out in front of me, because they forgot to look. One of my pet peeves.

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