This is a dumb little anecdote about something that happened to me after work a few weeks ago. I mentioned something had happened to my wife but didn’t want to talk about it. Yes, it was a crime. I chose not to call witnesses though, so I don’t think it counts.
After work, someone suffering from road rage attempted to perform his dark arts on me. I was first in line to make a right turn when I first encountered this gem of a person. The traffic coming from the left was obscured by buildings, a fence, and utility cabinets jutting out into my field of vision. Combined with people driving as if Doc Brown was counting on them to get the 1.21 Gigawatts needed to travel in time, these details make the intersection more unsafe than many. I’ve seen 5 or 6 great accidents at this intersection over the years. Because of this, I not only never go past the white ‘stop’ line on the pavement, but I also do not pull out to turn right until I am 100% certain that oncoming traffic has stopped. Invariably, there is at least one vehicle going 50+ mph through the red light. As a result, I get honked at every once in a while.
There’s rarely a day that someone doesn’t do something stupid and/or dangerous when
I’m coming home from work. (Sometimes, admittedly, it’s me!) Even though it’s hard to believe, I ignore them, even if they bring me to the brink of death or despair. If bacon hasn’t killed me, traffic probably won’t.
I pulled up to stop at the red light. Immediately, someone behind me hit their horn as if they were playing Family Feud with a hand that weighed fifteen pounds. I peered into my rearview mirror. The idiot blaring his horn was a white middle-aged man with whitish hair and beard. (Let’s face it: it’s almost always a man.) He was inarticulately shouting at me and giving me the finger. I ignored him and waited for the light. He hit the horn three more times in the four seconds it took for the light to change. Then he bumped me. Literally a bump. He was driving a truck. Because it was a low impact, I opted to just ignore the idiot. I’m not one to worry about the paint on my car. I didn’t feel like finding out exactly how stupid and irrational he might be by getting out of my vehicle. If he ran over me, I’m not sure my gut would clear the universal joint on the rear of the truck. Being dragged is no way to get from one place to the next.
I turned into the right-most lane, as required. I then indicated a lane change and moved to the left, as the right lane is reserved for a right-turn-only further up. Mr. Idiot hit his horn again. I looked back and realized that he had changed lanes and was right behind me. Because I’m averse to idiots, I went to the right again so that I could detour and get away from the idiot. Mr. Idiot blared his horn again and changed lanes. I couldn’t help but laugh. I could imagine his face turning beet red. Mr. Idiot gunned his truck and went around me. Because he is an idiot, he took a page from the Idiot’s guide and hit his brakes. Knowing he would do so, I’d already slowed down. He floored it and then came to a stop at the next light, behind a green Honda. As he did so, I changed lanes and stayed slightly behind his spot in traffic. His driver window was now down and he was flipping me off and gesticulating like a swarm of bees had attacked him. His horn was still blaring in time to an imaginary metronome based on anger. The light changed to green. It’s important to remember that my only crime to this point was stopping and waiting to make a turn until I could safely do so.
Much to my delight, the Honda didn’t move. I’m certain that the Honda driver was confused by being honked at repeatedly. I noted that Mr. Idiot had a Realtor vanity plate as I passed, as well at two bumper stickers. I hoped that the green Honda would now be the focus of this Realtor nutcase.
At the next light, I heard the horn again. Mr. Idiot had ignored the must-turn lane and forced his way back to the lane I was in, several cars ahead of him. I could only assume he was late for his penis-enhancement surgery. I went back to the right lane, behind a slower car. I knew that Mr. Idiot was going to catch up to me. I couldn’t wait to hear what poetry he might recite in my direction. As he pulled up, I looked to my right, away from him. I had already turned up NPR to an ear-splitting volume in my car. Terry Gross had never played so loudly. I couldn’t hear a word he said. After a few seconds, he gunned it. As he did so, I quickly made a right turn at the next intersection. He had no means of getting back to me without killing several people.
I knew he was a nutcase. On a hunch, I drove down the road and pulled into one of the business parking lots there. I walked over to the edge of the lot and sat on one of the utility cabinets. Within two minutes, Mr. Idiot came roaring up the road. I knew that he would turn around and try to find me. He passed me going at least 60 mph. I waved as he passed, as I felt like I owed him the chance to recognize me sitting there. He didn’t acknowledge me. Note: the speed limit where he was exceeding 60 mph was half of that.
We might have been friends, if he hadn’t been such a douche in a god-awful hurry.
Apart from the vanity plate, he had two bumper stickers on his truck, neither of which surprised me, given his general attitude. You’d think he’d stop and consider that his vanity plate makes him extraordinarily easy to track.
P.S. There’s no point in telling me I should have called the police, or stopped to get his information when he bumped me. It’s a waste of time and effort on multiple levels. In my defense, I wasn’t angry. I thought about wasting my time and the police’s time by reporting the crime. Instead, I noted the license and make and model of the truck and laughed. It’s enough to know that I could track him down if I were so inclined. Someday when I’m motivated, I’ll write a letter to let him know that he needs help. I’m certain that he’ll appreciate the concern.
He doesn’t know who I am – but I know he is. And that’s enough for me.