We arrived at the four-way stop at the same moment. You were driving a white SUV on an uphill incline; I was in a small black sedan on a flat plane, ready to take a quick right. The second is split, when one can dither or one can move. I took the initiative, and you took offense. Cleared of the intersection you accelerated with a vengeance, honked your horn, and offered me your middle finger.
You proceeded to tailgate me for half a mile, gesticulating wildly, obviously saying less than kind things about my having robbed you of the upper hand and two fucking seconds of your life. I pulled into a trucking company’s parking lot to rid myself of your irrational anger; you honked again, flipped the bird again, accelerated again. It was 7:10 am and your over-the-top response to the simplest negotiation of a commute left me trembling. I breathed for a moment, and tried to shake you off the rest of my day.
Had we been pedestrians on a city street with a parallel set of conflicting needs– say, I wanted to leave a bus stop as you wanted to enter same– you would have waved me on and felt chivalrous to do so. So why does having 4000 pounds of steel surrounding you allow you to be that rude? In person you would not be so menacing, but behind a windshield you feel free to tell me to go fuck off. Really. My wish for you is to spend purgatory stuck behind an endless supply of city buses and school buses and trash trucks, fucker.
Still bothered by it, I got back at you today. I swung through Wendy’s to get a soda in the midst of errands. My bill for same was a dollar and change. I saw in the rear-view that he was driving a shabbier car, paint peeling, a couple dings. She was in the backseat with the rear-facing car seat: maybe the baby was brand new, maybe the baby was sick. Maybe she was back there doing a line of coke off the baby’s chubby thigh, I don’t know or care. Their bill was fourteen and change and I paid it. The cashier asked what she should tell them and I said, “tell them merry christmas.”
So there— and merry christmas to you, Mr. Asshole in the white SUV.