Here’s a piece I wrote pre-married, pre-England life. I was living on my own and commuting in my car to work. 45 minutes each way, every day. I had a lot of time to think about this. I like to note that I submitted this to The New Yorker’s Shouts & Murmurs column and got rejected with, “This is not for us despite its evident merit.” That’s pretty cool, isn’t it?
Love in the Slow Lane
I realized I was desperately single when I found myself ogling the orange-vested prisoners stabbing trash on the side of the highway. As a commuter who crawls along I-95 twice a day, I have too much time to obsess over being single. I wonder how many other single people are on the road and if this is indeed an opportunity missed. Forget the jailbirds. I need to find single guys driving BMWs, Mercedes, and Saabs. I’ve had a sweet spot for boys in Saabs ever since I saw Campbell Scott driving a red one in “Singles.”
Forget the make of car. Let’s focus on this untapped source for finding the perfect mate.
Commuter crushes. There should be a way for single commuters to interact relatively safely on the highway while driving ridiculously slow to and from work. Studies prove that talking on a cell phone while driving is more dangerous than driving drunk. How distracting could it be to drive and talk real time to the driver next to you? (Especially if he’s cute and in a Saab?)
Here’s my implementation plan.
Most of I-95 is four lanes. Take the two right lanes and divide them off as “Singles Lanes.” Women in the right lane, men in the left. The men should have the left lane so they can feel cool in British-made cars allowing them to sit and drive on the right side of the vehicle. That would work fine for me because if I attempted to apply lipstick with my right hand while shifting with my left I might as well banish myself to the clown car before even merging onto the road.
Next, everyone gets an LED display mounted on all sides of the outside of their car so the message goes around and even reverses when it’s on the front of the car as the word “ambulance” does on the front of a, well, ambulance. That way, from all sides people can read the basic stats.
Single White Female. Loves skiing, reading biographies, and walking along the beach. 5’8″ standing. Athletic yet curvy build, rest of body proportionate to head and shoulders. Likes listening to The Killers, Green Day, and Goo Goo Dolls while driving.
(Subtext: I’m taller than I appear, my butt’s not that big and I’m really singing without moving my lips to Kelly Clarkson’s “Since You’ve Been Gone” but afraid it’ll make you get to know the real me much too soon.)
In doing some Internet research to see if my fabulous idea has already been executed, I came across a site that could prove to be competition: datemyplate.com. It’s now in use in England but has not yet made it to the U.S. I must move fast to corner the market. Their enticing tagline states, “Communication by Car Registration!” That’s sexy! How it works is that if you think you got scooped on the road, you enter your license plate to see if someone has left you a message. If you want to leave a message for someone, with great hopes they even know about this website, you can do that too. If you only remember the first three digits of a plate (was it DR3 or GH8?) you can use an advanced search engine. Maybe you could just enter any old digit combo and it would bring up twenty hot guys who drive cool cars and your single days would magically be over.
Let me ask this. Would you have the egotistical wherewithal to see if your plate number was posted by the guy driving next to you because you thought he was checking you out (and not the Virgin Mary profile in the bird poop on the door)? That’s one leap of faith. Let alone this involves memorization. I couldn’t tell you my own plate number if a date with Campbell Scott rode on it.
Datemyplate.com misses my crucial element: True face-to-face contact. No guesswork involved. And that’s just the first step of my still-unnamed ultimate dating service. There would be a way for Boy Driver A to contact Girl Driver B. Typical scenario follows.
“Hi there,” he yells across, “I listen to Green Day too!”
She checks her face quickly in the rearview mirror before responding, “Hey. I like your Saab. 2001? Last year the hatchback was made, right?”
He rubs outside the side door like he loves his car. “You know your cars, that’s cool!” “Yeah, well, you know…”
And so on and so forth until he asks, “Can I get your codename? I’d love to talk to you off-lane some time.”
She blurts out, “speed queen,” and dashes off to close the 20 foot gap in front of her. If there’s a highway love connection (sorry, Chuck Woolery), an easy to remember, unique handle would appear on the LED. Nothing too challenging: vw-cutie, speed-queen, beetle-beauty. The other driver must commit this to memory (Speed Queen is easier to remember than DGA 395, isn’t it?) in order to wait the requisite four days before calling (we’re not changing all the rules here).
The driver would then be able to text message to the codename. Depending on your wireless provider, charges may vary.
I would also set up a pay-for-service website for hopeful single drivers to surf while at work called datemenotmyplate.com. I’d get super rich off my plan, buy a Ferrari and have all the single guys on I-95 throwing themselves at me.
Okay, so, I mean my car. Minor detail. I’d get a date or two out of it, wouldn’t I?