THE SPACE BETWEEN
Over the last few years, especially since the Covid pandemic of 2020, I noticed a particularly annoying trend in traffic. It’s the amount of room some people are
leaving when they pull up to a traffic light. Whether it be a vehicle in front of them or not pulling all the way up to the wide, white stop line. I have seen people
leave a full car length and even more.
Don’t these people know that you have to pull up to the line to make the light change? I would ask myself. I honestly wished it didn’t bother me as much as it did, and it shouldn’t even
matter. It can just be so frustrating, and it makes no sense.
I even wondered if they were taking the whole “social distancing” thing to a new level. People can be very extreme.
From my observations, it seems like the drivers are either distracted by their phones or elderly. Usually the one that wear a face mask in their car while being
I researched the reason for these unnecessary gaps and came up with a few explanations:
1.The vehicle in front is a large truck and they want to be away from the garbage or dump truck.
2.The person had a traumatic experience in a traffic pile up and want to give themselves room in case they are hit from behind.
3.Not close to the stop line to give turning cars and trucks room without their car being struck.
I can accept those excuses. People have issues and horrific memories. Fine but not everyone fit into the three categories.
I took it upon myself to start taking pictures and following up with questioning the culprits. It was pretty innocent. Asking people to roll down their windows, if I was
next to them once I had pulled up to my proper position in line.
After a great deal of “I don’t know”, “I’m really not sure” and more “Mind your own damned business” than I care to recall, my conclusion was that it just
happened. I should have left it at that and that was my intention until one Sunday afternoon in November. I was in a van with my brother and a few other fellas on the way down to Miami
to see the Dolphins take on the Redskins. Yes, they have changed the team’s name to The Commanders, but I never liked that name, so I call them by their
Anyway, we were in Fort Lauderdale at a traffic stop and sure enough, a Prius left a full car length space between it and an F-150. “Frank, can you take a picture of that?” I asked, pointing at the damned void in traffic. I asked him to take the picture because he had brought his very nice DSL Nikon. “Alrighty. Wait, are you still on that? Come on, man. You should drop it.” Said my brother.
“Just take the damned picture, please.” I pleaded. “I’m putting together an album of dumbasses. Don’t worry, you’ll be on the cover.”
He rolled his eyes and did as I asked. “Hold on, I want to try this new filter. If I take his, can you try and be normal for the rest of the day? Well, normal for you.” I agreed and threw a bag of Doritos at him. Little brothers can be so irritating. The rest of the trip was without incident. I suppose I was too hyped up for the game, by the way the Dolphins won 30-17. I was having too good a time enjoying my crew to be bothered with such trivial problems, anyhow.
A few days later, I received a text message from Frank that read: “Dude! I thought you were nuts with the whole space in traffic thing, but I have
something you need to see” He sent me a picture of a computer screen. It was of a large picture surrounded by a lot of smaller thumbnails. All the pictures were from the game we attended.
All except the one blown up.
I had all but forgot about asking Frank to take that traffic picture, but there it was. It was supposed to be a picture of the large space between two vehicles. Something was there, though. An image of a sports car, but not very clear. I assumed it was because of the screenshot being a picture of a picture and pixelated. Then Frank interrupted my thoughts. “Do you see it? I tried clearing it up and there is definitely something in that space.” Frank texted.
I replied, “Yeah, but I need to see it in person. Will you be home for a bit?” He said that he would be, and I headed over. We sat at his computer and dissected the photograph.
“Could it be a double exposure?” I inquired. “I thought that at first, but there are no other cars around like that one.” He said, pointing at the monitor. “That doesn’t make any sense, Frank. Do you recall ever taking a picture of a car like that?” I was perplexed “Here, check this out.” Said Frank as he typed on the keyboard and moved the mouse around. He had isolated the phantom car, and this really knocked me for a loop. When Frank removed everything but the car, it was obvious that he hadn’t taken a previous picture.
The car was a DeLorean and unless Frank was photographing a ‘Back to the Future’ convention, he could not have taken a photograph. There was something else about the car. The drivers side door was smashed in. “You don’t think that it’s some sort of ghost car, do you?” Frank asked as I stared at his computer monitor.
I didn’t answer as I was fixated on what I was seeing. Then a light bulb went off. Dim, but it was there. “Maybe that’s what the spaces are. Maybe they’re spirit cars that were wrecked
there or something like that.” I said to Frank “Oh, come on. That’s movie crap.” Frank said, in a doubtful tone. “Do you have another explanation?” I asked. He looked at me and shrugged his shoulders. “As long as they don’t come spooking me, I don’t care, and you shouldn’t either.” “Maybe you’re right. I’ll see ya later. Thanks.” Said I, patting him on the shoulder,
knowing full well that I wasn’t going to leave this alone.
I stopped at the store on the way home for a couple of Red Bulls, as I was going to be up researching for a while. I started with, what I thought, would be the simplest search.
DELOREAN ACCIDENT FORT LAUDERDALE I assumed there wouldn’t be many and after clicking a dozen or so tabs, there it was from 1982. It wasn’t a front-page story, but there was a picture of the accident with the title above it reading: MAN DIES AFTER BEING SIDESWIPED ON US1.
I blew up the picture and my skin broke out in goosebumps. It was THE car. The crushed side was precisely the same spot as the ghost picture Frank had taken. I couldn’t text my brother, as time had gotten away from me, and it was nearly two AM. I tried to sleep and may have gotten a couple hours before the sun made its morning greeting. I was up sipping my coffee by seven but gave Frank until eight before blowing up his phone. I shot him a text: “Dude! Call me when you get this. HUGE developments on the ghost car!” He called me instantly and couldn’t believe his ears. “Hold on, bro. This makes no sense at all. You’re saying that with that new filter on my camera, we can take pictures of dead cars? I mean cars in accidents where people died? Get the hell
I asked him if he was busy on the next Saturday, and he reluctantly said that he was free. I wanted us to test my theory. I made a plan for the two of us to just drive around and maybe grab some lunch at our favorite watering hole. I would drive and he would take pictures. We did as planned and had very nice day just hanging out. He took thirteen pics of large spaces left between cars and promised to upload them after his dinner date that night.
I was a nervous Nelly and the time seemed to be going so damned slow. I couldn’t wait any longer and texted him. “WELL? WHAT’S IN THE PICS? I’M DYIN OVAH HEYA!”
Nothing. No reply.
Is he just torturing me? I wondered. I mean, that’s what he does. I tried again a half hour later and still nothing. I nearly drove over to his house when my phone chimed. “DUDE! I’M “BUSY”. NOT HOME YET. CHAT TOMORROW” Are you kidding me?! I was so exasperated. I plopped down on the edge of my bed, tossed my phone and placed my head in my hands. I woke up with my legs on fire from the knees down. I had fallen back on my bed with my legs still dangling over the side. With so little circulation in that position, my calves, shins and feet felt as though they were being stabbed by a million miniature swords.
I was rubbing my lower legs when my phone made that familiar text tone. “Uploaded the pics from yesterday. Come on over.” I wasted little time in putting on my shoes and raced out the door.
“Are you wearing the same clothes from yesterday?” Frank asked when he opened the door. “Never mind that, what’s in the pics?” I anxiously asked. “Only four of the pictures showed something.” He answered as we walked to his office. “One old dude and eight people on their phones but check this out.”
Frank had done his computer thing by removing all but the apparition. We both gazed at the screen, and it was just like the one from Fort Lauderdale. Two of the, what we were now calling “ghost cars”, were pretty mangled up. One was a motorcycle laying on the ground. That one made sense because the space was shorter. The next space was largest, and it had a large truck there. That one was odd because the truck looked fine. I thanked my brother and went back home for a research party.
It was a bit easier to research these because I knew the addresses. They all checked out to be identical to south Florida. All drivers had died at the scene. The truck took a little more digging, but I finally found it. The driver had a heart attack while waiting for the light to change.
I am no longer bothered by those spaces, unless I see it as a result from someone not paying attention to driving and texting. When I do see those gaps and voids, I silently say a little Rest in peace
So, in conclusion, when you see the space between, just know that it may not be the fault of the person driving the car that left that space. It could be something else entirely.