Saturday, July 23, 2011

Rage Against the Vehicular Machine

I tend to take it very personally when I’m honked at. Even when I’m stopped at an intersection and hear a honk from several cars away I take it personally though there’s no way it could be directed at me.

Yesterday I was en route to work in the midst of rush hour and there was this dude behind me who was riding my ass, but you know, what else is new in traffic decorum. It’s the road equivalent of some sleeze-o in a club finding justification in again, riding your ass, just because it’s there.

When we reached a stoplight he abruptly zipped around me, lingered next to me, laid on his horn and gesticulated wildly.

He first gave me the international, “WTF” arms and sneer, which I promptly reciprocated, but then he started bringing his thumb and index finger about an inch a part as if to say, “this close; this close.”

Pretty sure that’s the wrong finger maneuver you’re looking for in this instance, buddy.

Unless you’re trying to show me the size of your wanker.

He had an Obama sticker on his car so I tried to be less angry. Maybe he saw my Ohio plates and was saying the election in ’08 was this close and it’s probably my conservative fault mother fucker.

Which, you know, fine. Not true, but fine. I could see the misunderstanding.

But instead of taking comfort in the fact that he’s an idiot and I didn’t intentionally or ostensibly do anything wrong, I welled up and wondered why he’s being so mean.

It was almost as bad as the time I started crying while walking the dog because I thought she was mad at me for not moving fast enough.

Yes. I have issues.

These issues tend to come to the fore when I’m stressed, tired, hungry, PMS-ing, sad, feeling defensive... basically whenever I’m existing. There’s a whole post/dissertation I could write on the ins and outs of my mental fragility, but that’s not my point today.

My point is… why are people so quick to get angry?

A few months ago I was driving down a two lane road, that yes, was pretty generous in the amount of space allotted to the curbside lane, but yet still, TWO LANES, and there was this man in a humongous SUV whose nose hairs I could make out in my rearview mirror.

Clearly me going 45 in a 40 was not cutting it.

I was in the right lane. The right lane is the SLOW lane (and also in this instance, the Correct and Just lane). Also? Speed limit. I was already breaking it.

I mean, not with reckless abandon, but still; not going 10 miles under either. At any rate, after honking, flashing his lights and just generally being a bimbo by swerving in and out behind me, he takes it upon himself to pass me.

In my own lane.

Again, it’s a generous lane so it’s not like we were going to bumper car it out, but WHO DOES THAT?

So he swerves next to me and I lay on my horn. An appropriate use of the horn I feel.

He cuts in front of me.

I’m still honking.

He then slams on his brakes and stops his car in the middle of the road. Stops. As in, no more forward inertia. On a 40mph 4 lane road.

He then leans out his window and purses his lips as he tilts his head back in some kind of thug movement and flashes his hands around. A gang symbol? Attempting to take flight? Some kind of Ross Gellar-esque gesture he uses to avoid having to actually give the finger?

Who knows.

The point? What the hell did I do? I laid on my horn. But he was being a jerk. I see nothing amiss in this scenario.

I mean, I don’t know what I thought. That laying on my horn would summon the fuzz? That he would recognize the error of his ways and use his headlights to Morse code out an apology? I guess. But I wasn’t just going to sit there and let him be a freaking asshole.

But, again. Why so mean? Even though he was clearly, CLEARLY, the one in the wrong, I found myself getting riled up and felt my lower lip start to swell.

I tried to tell myself that maybe his dog got run over this morning and that it wasn’t personal, but still, I wanted to cry.

Why are people so mean when driving?

1 comment:

  1. Road rage tends to take over people who derive power and pleasure from being inside a vehicle since nothing much else goes right in their lives. They feel that once inside this cocoon of pleasure the world should bow down to their every whim. If someone is in front of them (no matter what speed) they want you to graciously step aside so that they can continue on their journey at their own pace, not yours.

    That or some people are just bat-shit insane, no matter where you are :)