The first thing I heard was a rumbling sound that shook the street. An anti-Prius, otherwise known as a new white Camaro, zoomed past my comparatively humble Honda Accord, as the ramp spit us onto the Bay Bridge yesterday afternoon and two lanes became one. Since I was a few feet ahead of the Camaro when the light turned green and the rumbling was first noticeable to my right, technically I was cut off. Not blatantly, but a little obnoxiously. However, even with a manual transmission – four cylinders of VTEC is no threat to 350+ horses of American muscle. So pass me he did.
But the driver of the white Camaro wasn’t happy simply being the first car to enter the Bridge from Harrison Street. He sped up until he was mere inches away from trading paint with the car in front of him in the far left lane. He thought about moving one lane over, which would have been a perfectly acceptable move. Then, after the passing window closed, he decided to do it anyway. In the process, the white Camaro (with orange racing stripes down the middle now visible) cut off an older gentleman in a Ford Explorer who was trying to keep exactly that occurrence from happening, with the Explorer driver’s dismay visible in his rearview mirror as he stomped on his brakes.
It was then when it clicked: with the combination of features this vehicle brought to the table, it had to be an athlete:
–> Brand new white Camaro with orange racing stripes
–> Ridiculous white wheels with orange borders (Update: I’m getting word on Twitter that the stripes and accents are actually red, not orange)
–> Vanity plates from Arizona
–> The driving style of a 16-year-old boy
So I pulled off one of the evasive driving maneuvers I’ve had in my back pocket for a while (I was one of those 16-year-old boys once, once passing a classmate going 90 mph in a 35 … Dad, if you’re reading this, sorry) and zipped up next to the Camaro. And there he was: Pablo Sandoval, presumably on his way to the Oakland Coliseum to take the second of three consecutive beatings at the hands of the Oakland A’s.
My wife was in the passenger seat, and I told her to take a photo of the San Francisco Giants’ starting third baseman. Only after exerting all that effort to pass a few cars and endanger several lives in the process, Sandoval had suddenly lost interest (messing around with his phone, it appeared), got stuck in a bad lane, and quickly was eight cars behind us. So I held back, found a couple slow cars to get stuck behind, and once we were past the S-curve part of the span Sandoval once again was engaged and driving like a maniac.
This time he was in the far right lane, and I slowed down enough so that the Kung Fu Panda was on our right, five feet away from us. My wife yelled, “GO PANDA!” and I yelled, “PABLO! GO GIANTS!” to see if we could get his attention. Of course, he couldn’t hear us at all because he was listening to some Spanish-language dancehall music and singing at the top of his lungs. Looking back it was probably a stupid move, since he wanted to pass me and staying in his way probably endangered my wife, my dog and myself. But we needed a photo.
Another problem: my wife suddenly grew a conscience, and didn’t want to take a picture of Sandoval when we were right next to him, because she “didn’t want to make him feel weird.” I replied, “Well, he’s driving a flamboyant vehicle and cutting off everyone in sight on the Bay Bridge, so I don’t feel too bad about taking his picture.” But he moved one lane to the left, cutting me off (again) in the process, then hopped back over into the far right lane.
So I went over one lane to the left, passed a bunch of cars who had no interest in Sandoval or breaking multiple traffic laws, and again we were next to Sandoval. That’s when my wife finally took the photo you see at the top. Then mere seconds later, Pablo once again put his right foot on the floor and the Camaro was gone, on its way to the 880 ramp while we were headed to Walnut Creek. But not before almost changing lanes directly into another car.
Following a young athlete in a muscle car is kind of like trying to chase a great white shark. Not especially easy or safe.
The lesson (besides “you probably shouldn’t risk your own safety in an attempt to play ‘amateur paparazzi’”): if you see a shiny white Camaro with orange accents driving erratically, get out of the way. The Giants’ starting third baseman is late for batting practice.