I’m on my way to an appointment, driving the speed limit. I pull into the left-turn lane at the traffic light, stop, and wait for the light to give me the green arrow to turn.
Two young men, kids, really, pull up behind me and notice me looking in my rearview mirror – habitual for me. The kids start with the wild antics, making faces, raising fists, having fun at my elderly expense.
Now, I begin to see red (not the light, my anger!) and I give them the finger, throw the gear shift in park, and begin to open the door to invite them to try me out. The traffic light gives the green arrow, and I jump back in the car and make my turn, moving at a deliberate slow pace, now having a little fun of my own.
Looking in the rearview mirror, I see the kids now have a more solemn, worried look, thinking maybe they’ve started something they might not be able to finish.
Slowly, I go a little further, roll down my driver’s side window and motion for them to follow me to the gravel shoulder of the road. I pull to the side of the road they pass me and move on a bit faster.
I pull back on the roadway and build my speed until I’m tail-gating. I can see the driver’s face through his rearview mirror, and he seems now very troubled.
Another green traffic light is just ahead and the driver quickly turns right.
I turn right as well.
They Speed up.
I speed up.
Now the young guys seem genuinely concerned. They must figure I’m going to follow them to their ending destination, so they’re turning every few blocks.
After a few turns my anger is assuaged, so I end my pursuit that was never going to end in any kind of confrontation. I was able to produce the effect that my anger prompted.
Now, to analyze my behavior.
Juvenile! Dumb! Silly!
What the incident did show me is the inanity of road rage incidents. I allowed my quick-rising anger to dictate my actions which might have ended very badly. My anger can be understood (or, not!) in the comparative analysis of old versus young – ergo, I once was the age of those two boys in the front car and never did I disrespect the elders among me.
For a few moments I was nineteen or twenty in my brain, feeling awkwardness with my age, seeing the young men treating me as a mere taunting object without courtesy and/or respect. Me, I was acting out in response a dumb routine from my youth.
I’m just glad the anger wore off quickly enough to avoid any serious repercussions. This incident could very well have ended badly. The two younger men maybe had other motives, other plans for me.
(Has this kind of incident happened to you?)
Blog post by Billy Ray Chitwood – May 31, 2016
I write books of mystery, suspense, romance, memoir, et al. If you would like to preview the thirteen books I’ve written, you can find them on my website:
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