Saturday morning, as I was driving to the post office, I noticed one of the neighborhood dogs scampering down the street, so I took my time backing out of the driveway. As I rolled past, I heard the crazy old guy that’s living with the woman next door scream, “GET OUT OF HERE! GET. THE. F***. OUT!!!” The dog bounded past his driveway and down the sidewalk, and in my rearview mirror I saw him start to squat on a patch of grass before the old man chased him into the road. A car driving down the block in the opposite direction had to slow down to avoid hitting either beast.

I don’t understand rage, and I’m not just talking about the superhero. I certainly have my moments, and not only am I not proud of them, I’m absolutely baffled by the loss of control once I’ve calmed down. Perhaps there are times when rage is justified, but most of the time it seems like people are overreacting.

On Friday night, as I was taking a side street home from work, I noticed a cat leave the safety of its yard and begin crossing the street. I slowed down a bit to let him pass, when I heard the angry screeching of tires. I looked in my rearview mirror and saw the car behind me speed up and cut to the left. I made a “slow down” motion out the window with my hand, which he ignored, and he missed crushing the cat by inches, barely slowing for a stop sign a few feet ahead before screeching on through the neighborhood. From the lawn on the other side of the road, the cat looked at me as if to say, “What was that guy’s problem?” I’m not sure the few seconds he would have lost waiting behind me were more important than the life of an innocent creature. If he was in that much of a hurry to get home after work, maybe he should have stuck with the main road.

I myself had somewhere to be, and after grabbing a quick dinner at home, I was off to meet my friends for a crappy movie. Driving home, I’d find more excitement than the movie itself provided. On a dark road with one lane in either direction and no shoulder, some kind of utility truck had stopped. One of the oncoming cars had slowed down to see if the driver was in need of any assistance, and thus there was way around for those of us behind him, a black pickup truck followed by my car.


“MOOOOVE, A**HOLE!!!!” shouted the driver of the truck. I couldn’t hear the response he got, but a moment later he was getting out of his truck and walking over to the other driver screaming, “Oh, I’m an a**hole??? You’re blockin’ traffic, you’re the f***ing a**hole, pal!!!” I put my car in reverse and backed up slightly as the conversation degraded into “shut it”/”no YOU shut it” and other witty exchanges. Finally, the pickup truck guy started getting back in his vehicle, which prompted the other driver to get in a last word.

“You’re a p***yf***k!!!”

What did you call me?!” shouted the guy in front of me, climbing back out of his vehicle before he’d had a chance to close the door.

“You heard me! F***ing white trash!”

“F*** YOU!! You’re the white trash!!”

“B***h! F***er!!”

“F*** your mother!!!”

It went on like this for like another two minutes. Another car had rolled up behind me and was keeping a safe distance, and a car waited patiently behind the car in the other lane. The escalation was fascinating, neither party mature or patient enough to back down. Finally, the car moved forward with deliberate slowness, and the pickup truck driver veered around the stopped van into the oncoming lane, with barely enough room to make it. I was more cautious to check for oncoming headlights before I made my way around as well. The rest of the trip home was much more peaceful and uneventful.

I guess some people like to fight, and some get frustrated when others prevent them from doing something. Granted, there are times when a sense of urgency is justified. Maybe you’re late for work, or your wife just went in to labor, or you just went into labor. Otherwise, the incidents witnessed at 5:30 and 10 PM respectively seemed unnecessary to me. Everyone who loses control like that, including and especially myself, looks childish. We can all benefit from stepping outside of ourselves and getting a little distance from a situation to gain better perspective. The guy in front of me was ready to grab a tire iron or a gun, while in my position I was ready to grab a bucket of popcorn.


Blogger Silver Solo said...

guess what - uncontrollable rage isn't so uncontrollable after all. enter stage right - a police officer and watch the drama of the play change. You tell a mighty fine story.

6/15/2008 11:53 AM  
Blogger b13 said...

I've been in... er... I mean... I've seen those situations.

On a totally unrelated note... I just visited Lorna's. Is that "the write jerry"?

6/15/2008 5:40 PM  
Blogger MCF said...

Wh-What? Noooo....

6/15/2008 11:04 PM  

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