Sunday, September 16, 2012


I'm a very active person. When I'm not traveling around Long Island for work, I'm either driving my kids to activities, coaching, or finding something fun to do; like the time I went to see Brian Weiss.

Brian Weiss is a hypnotherapist who specializes in past-life regression. My husband and I went to see him in NYC, hoping that we could figure out things like why we are so unafraid to use the weird sounding spices when we cook... Maybe we were seamen who imported and exported goods between countries way back when North America was called the New World. (Although based on my current sense of direction, I would've sailed us off the edge of the Earth)

Three hours and several meditations later, my husband explained that he was once a Chinese woman. With a blissful smile, he told me that he had gotten to see his own wedding, but then had died in childbirth. I stood by, jealously listening, then cried for ten minutes before I could confess that I thought I had been a dangerous serial killer. My visions had not been as clear as his, but I'm sure that probably explains why I'm deathly afraid of big burly men named Hank.

Apparently I've been a pretty active person throughout all of my lifetimes.

But here in my present existence, I'm always around people... and then there's the Psychology. I've forever been naturally drawn to what people do and might be because my mother was always asking me, "What the hell is your problem?!"

Ever since SUNY at Stony Brook handed me my degree and pushed me out of the nest, I've noticed some pretty interesting behavioral patterns. In fact, I'd go so far as to say that your driving can reveal a lot about your shopping habits.

Let's take the lady who backed her car into mine at Target. I was waiting to pass her in the parking lot at the same time that she was adjusting her car in her spot. She was one of those perfectionists that have to be absolutely straight and have the same amount of space between the lines on either side of her vehicle before she'll get out and walk into a store. It probably takes the average schmo about thirty to forty-five seconds to park, but Jane Just Right might be out there for three to five minutes...which in car time, when you're waiting to pass, might as well be all afternoon.

I was patient. I had experience under my belt. My mother used to park like our driveway! So I knew to wait it out quietly. Any loud sounds might startle her and ruin her concentration and she'd have to begin all over again. Instead, I daydreamed of double coupons and sale items. I was brought back to reality when I noticed that she was backing up, but not stopping!

I looked in my rear view mirror quickly, but there was nowhere for me to go because there was a car behind me. So I beeped and started screaming, "Hey!" out of my open window.

She kept coming.

There was a customer who was leaving the store. When she saw what was going on, she stopped walking and started yelling and waving her arms. She had to step back to avoid getting hit. At the same time I did my part. I leaned on the horn non-stop...but she bumped right into my car anyway!

I jumped out, livid. I wasn't worried about the dirty, white Ford Taurus had seen better days and in reality, the green paint from her SUV might actually have looked nice with the blue streak my cousin left on my drivers side door when she swiped it as she backed out of my driveway the week before. I was mostly concerned with her killing someone one day.

We exchanged words and I'm sure the question, "What the hell is your problem?!" probably popped out, but without the appropriate experience and educational background, I didn't really expect her to know the answer.

Instead she asked, "Why didn't you beep and let me know you were behind me?"


My answer: I did. But since your hearing aid wasn't turned up AT ALL, why didn't YOU TURN AROUND AND LOOK BEHIND YOU?!

Despite my witnesses, we were never going to come to an agreement. I didn't have any visible damage, so I took my battered Taurus to a spot and safely tucked it in. Then I went into Target to shop and tried to forget the unfortunate incident.

I was bending down to look at the bottom shelf of one of the clearance end caps...there was a set of crazy European coasters calling me...and I fell over, face first, almost hitting my forehead into the shelf above them.

Someone had backed up into me.

I got myself upright again and turned around to see what had happened. And there she was, Carol Crazy, the same woman from the parking lot, inching her shopping cart every which way, trying to move around in the aisle. She had no idea that she was the one...again.

And that's when I began to make the connection.

On the road, there are the "Bullies"...they race up to your tail and stick there, bullying you until you move, so they can speed up to the back of the next person and do the same thing. When you meet up with them in the supermarket, the Bullies repeat the behavior, even going so far as to bump you a bit with their cart if you don't move right away. Thanks for the permanent scars on the backs of my ankles...

Then there are the "Mirror Drivers" who use their mirrors to screw with you. They slow down when you're merging, giving the illusion of letting you in, but then they speed up as you try to cross lanes. Just like that guy who was just to the right of the canned peaches in Pathmark. He even smiled when you moved your cart over and began to reach out...Yeah, you almost lost a finger on that one...

And what about the people who stop in the middle of the street and have a conversation with their friend? The "Squatters". They position themselves so that no one can pass on either side, as if it's their own personal driveway. And when they're done, they head over to King Kullen and do the same thing...this time using both the shopping cart and their bodies. In either situation, if you tap the horn or say, "Excuse me", you are met with the death look and a silent curse is sent from the Squatters brain to your body..."How dare she interrupt my conversation! I'll never remember the last thing I was saying about my wife nagging me if I have to pull my car/cart over to the side... where I belonged in the first place. May the King Kullen be out of that banana yogurt she loves so much...especially when they're on sale for only forty cents each!"

So the next time I'm in Stop and Shop looking for something on the shelves, and you stand behind me tapping your foot and impatiently willing me to move without ever uttering the words, "Pardon me", know that I KNOW that you don't use your blinker when you want to switch lanes, but instead scream obscenities at me as I pass you, smiling and on my way to the next fabulously fun thing on my shopping list of life.


CF Winn is the award-winning author of The COFFEE BREAK SERIES, a hilarious group of short stories meant to be read while on break or in the waiting room of the doctor's office. Her first novella, SUKI, has been grabbing hearts and hugging souls all over the United States.

You can now order SUKI in paperback at BOOK REVUE, one of the nation’s largest independent bookstores, by email at or by calling (631) 271-1442.
Learn more about SUKI at BOOK REVUE

More posts like these can be found at Humor Outcasts and The Patch where she is a regular contributor. 
CF Winn is the founder of Winning! Publications, a firm specializing in editing and promotion services for authors. Her latest project is the just released Trailer Trash, With a Girl’s Name, a hilarious and heartwarming story of a boy saddled with a girl’s name and forced into a nomadic existence. Order it now: 

1 comment:

Stacey Roberts said...

First of all, it is good to know that the world has always had a CF Winn in it throughout history, even if she was a serial killer. I expect the phrase "Some people just need killin," was invented by CF in the prior life she spent as a Texas gunslinger, shooting down nasty, unwashed cart drivers who backed into her horse or those who grabbed the last banana yogurt off the shelf in Dodge City Sundries. Or perhaps further back in ancient times. I'm fairly certain the Emperor Claudius died under suspcious circumstances after sideswiping with his Imperial chariot SOMEONE who was just minding her own business, off to get some banana flavored hummus at the market in Rome.

I'm going to make my 16-year old, who just started driving, read this piece about the different types of drivers. Then tell her road rage is bad, and asking "What the hell is your problem?" is not a diplomatic opener. Hillary Clinton tried that once in Myanmar, and things went to hell in a shopping cart pretty quick.

Like every CF Winn tale, this post is almost literally a wild ride - cars, shopping carts, serial killers, deaf obstructionists, and the never-to-be-forgotten voice of her mother. Great post!