I consider myself a responsible driver. I don’t drink and drive, I don’t text message people from behind the wheel, and I always use my turn signal. I try to be patient with the elderly, and move out of the left lane when I’m not passing someone. Road rage is truly a non-issue for me.
Except for today.
Today, I began my commute as I do every day: cruising along the two-lane road near my house on a quiet and calm late summer morning. I merged to turn right and noticed a woman behind me, practically on my bumper. Obviously, she was in a hurry, but she let me overI forced my way over anyway. Immediately after the right turn, came a left turn at a stop light. The light turned yellow but the two cars in front of me continued to turn. There was no way I could make that light. It was red before I even approached the line. So I stopped and checked my rear-view, but the woman behind me was now ranting and raving in her car. I’m not a professional lip reader, but I’m pretty sure she used the word “fuck” about three times.
Oh hells no.
A very big part of me wanted to flip her off, or roll down my window and start yelling obscenities back at her, but “that’s not very nice,” I told myself. I started making excuses for her. She’s probably just in a hurry and also doesn’t realize that I can see her. I was wearing sunglasses and she wasn’t looking at me directly, but more at my car. So she’s not really yelling at me, I reasoned. She tossed back her curly hair and nudged her glasses as she took a sip from her water bottle. Clearly not a visible threat if this scenario would have taken place on the street. Side note: I’ve always thought it strange the sense of security people feel within their cars. I’ve seen people pick their noses and noticed when a woman’s head suddenly pops up in the passenger seat, wiping her mouth. Of course it’s gross, but for whatever reason, people seem to treat their cars like some sort of invisibility cloak.
Anyway, I resisted the temptation to lash back out at this woman who was clearly very angry with me for my obvious intention of making her late for something of considerable importance, I’m sure. I’m a horrible person for not running that red light. Whatever. I’m over it. La, la, la, sunshine, rainbows, unicorns, happy, happy, happy.
I turned my attention back toward the red stoplight, waiting for it to turn green. The instant it changed, I let my foot off the brake and started to turn. Mid-way through my turn, I heard a honk and looked back in time to see her mouth the word “GO!”
And then, I lost my shit. I immediately hit my breaks, forcing her to get into the lane next to me. I rolled down my window and flashed her my warmest welcome sign as I watched her drive by me with an up-turned nose, completely avoiding any and all eye contact. Another red light was coming up, and with no other cars in sight, she quickly cut over into my lane to avoid sitting at a light side by side with me. So instead, I cut over into hers, pulling up alongside her little silver car. I was about to throw down, and she knew it. I stared at her until she finally looked over at me. Then I pointed at her and politely told her to “calm the fuck down.” She looked away – almost fearfully – before I could even finish my sentence. She wasn’t yelling obscenities or waving hand gestures now. She just wanted the hell out of there. Suddenly I was the crazy, ranting lunatic. And if we’re being completely honest here? I kind of liked it. She wasn’t nearly as vocal about her obvious dislike of my driving skills when she realized she was acting out against an actual person rather than the bumper of a car. And that was really the point I wanted to make.
That, and also, don’t fuck with me before 8 am.