Last week I was reminded why I am happy to not drive. While house sitting for Carrie and Trish, I was granted car privileges. What a luxury! To be able to hop in the car and jet off to the store, or my house to check on my own cats. I will also admit to some fast food drive-thru. But above all, having wheels meant driving out to Lake Forest Park for a lunch date at Third Place Books. Seven miles may seem a short jaunt, but on the bus it can take upwards of an hour and a half.
So, off to see Wendy I went. Except, just minutes from the house I realized I had forgotten the little something I had for her. I was first in line at a rather busy intersection, and I decided loop around by turning right. But the light was red. And among other things, I wasn't sure that I could turn right on red; I couldn't see completely clearly, and since it's not my car, I'm a little hesitant to involve it in accidents; and I am very conscious of blocking crosswalks given my penchant for pedestrianism (new word, just invented it).
So I sat and waited. I had the windows rolled down, the music blasting. I was enjoying the breeze and the timid sunshine, and the freedom to go and do as I chose.
Imagine one of those blissful moments when all you have to look forward to is a delicious lunch and the company of a good friend... also maybe a compulsive book purchase. Can you picture it? Okay, now imagine you hear a weird noise, like shouting. You glance around, but see nothing amiss. Then you turn down the music and realize it is shouting. Pretty pissed off shouting, and it's coming from right behind you. There's a man leaning out of his car window, screaming. And turns out he's screaming at you.
Now, I'm not sure you get the picture when I say screaming. This man seriously wanted to murder me. Because, in essence, I was stopped at a red light, and he was stopped behind me. I would not have been surprised if he had had a heart attack from the fit he was throwing. And it was a fit. Like when a preschooler has had too much sugar and not enough sleep, and just melts down because they can't reach the light switch (Autumn would call this the sneaky, hate spiral). There was nothing rational about the incident. Nothing that connected the sheer vehemence of his rage with the one minute he had to sit there waiting.
One minute. That's all it was. Maybe less. I was mortified, because it wasn't as if we were the only people on the road. And more than a little worried, because how rational can a man be who reacts so disproportionately?
There were so many things I wanted to do. Starting with screaming back at him; childish. Staying put when the light changed; but there was the fear he would just ram the car. Part of me wanted to walk calmly back to his open window and advise him that the doctrine of turning right on red is simply a suggestion, not an obligation. And, that embryonic lawyer in me wanted to stomp back there, get him to punch me, and then sue the asshole for battery.
But, I did none of those things. I just drove off, out of sorts, and thinking; I can't imagine getting that worked up over something so small. Over nothing essentially. I thought I'm so glad I'm not like that, and what a trial it must be to be him. I'm not sure if that's compassion or self-importance. At any rate, just a few thoughts for the next time you unload some road rage. Maybe you're pissed at some girl that's just out enjoying life, and you being an asshole is going to ruin her day.