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Friday, August 05, 2011

This Just Happened

I've never claimed to be the smartest man on the planet, nor would others make such a claim on my behalf.

But I do feel like I've got a good handle on reason and logic, and I try to make sure I'm aware of people, places and things around me at all times.

And if someone else's complete lack of awareness has a direct impact on my well-being, then I try to have a conversation and I'm usually not confrontational about it.

So here I was, pulling into my apartment complex driveway, a left turn through busy oncoming traffic at rush hour on a Friday, paying exclusive attention to each of the three lanes I was hoping to turn in front of to get into my complex, as a driver in each stopped and waved me on. Those were some friendly motorists alright.

What I was paying slightly less attention to, however, was that the car that had pulled in ahead of me had stopped immediately upon coming off the busy avenue, leaving me enough room to just about get my hood ornament into the driveway. The rest of my car was left hanging out into traffic, and when the woman finally pulled ahead and stopped a second time, leaving me barely enough room to go around her and not hit the traffic island separating the single eastbound and westbound lanes coming into and out of my complex, I raised my hand as people often do when they simultaneously express curiosity and annoyance.

The woman got out of her car and before I could even pull around or roll down the window to ask what was up, the hate just started flowing from her mouth. I heard F-bombs. I was called many names. I was called a cracker-ass.

It amazes me that people so often skip diplomacy and resort to immediate confrontation. Her tone was such that it seemed I was being unreasonable for not wanting the ass end of my car to get torn off by the moving traffic behind me, for wanting to continue driving toward home, for not wanting to be stopped behind a car inexplicably now parked in the only lane that could deliver me toward my desired direction.

When I finally did have room to pull up to her, down came my window and I looked at her and asked, more out of curiosity than out of an attempt to be abusive or sarcastic, "Are you really screaming at me?" Because it's a Friday and I'm feeling a little nutty, I asked it a second time.

In all seriousness, I have no idea what prompts people to knee-jerk their way toward the angry defensive and immediately react to strangers with only piss and hate. And I'm very grateful for that.



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