…I am driving home and there is a line of cars, which isn’t unusual post-Labor Day as we all get back to our daily grind which includes being in a line of cars, pretty much anywhere we’re going.
Where are we all going, I wonder?
I can’t speak for everyone, but my line of cars is coming off of I-95. I am running by the grocery store.
The car in front of me is piloted by a driver whose head is down. There are several cars behind me and when the light changes, the car in front doesn’t move and the driver’s head doesn’t come up. He’s texting. I know because I pull this stunt all the damn time, pull up to a red light and try to squeeze off a few emails, like the person receiving my email can’t wait another moment.
Because I’m so often an offender, I am not offended at this driver’s obliviousness, but the cars behind me start honking, so I beep my horn, kind of half-heartedly because like I said, I’m guilty — not this time, but still. At my beep, the driver looks up, and out the window comes his arm and he’s flipping me off, like really emphatically, locked arm and all.
I start laughing, because, really, he looks dumb. But then he doesn’t pull forward. He just sits there frozen and flipping the bird until the light changes, like holding that pose shows you really mean it. A few cars roar up in an attempt to — pull up and slap him? I don’t know — but the road narrows and they don’t get very far and I don’t even know if they saw his middle finger, so we’re forced to sit through another light change, at which point Lead Car pulls out and we follow.
Turns out Lead Car is going to the grocery store, too! And there are only two parking spaces and so we must park next to one another! God is throwing us together!
I hop out of my car and wait for my new friend and when he gets out — not to be uncharitable, but he’s a bland-looking guy about my age with glasses — I stick out my hand and introduce myself,* and say, “Saw you flipped us all off, and I wondered why.” He’s reaching to shake my hand (instinct and good manners, I guess) until I say “flipped us all off,” and then he pulls his hand back like I burned it.
He stutters and stammers and says no, he didn’t and I say yes, he did and he looked kind of dumb. No harm, no foul, but when you flip people off in cars, I tell him in my most helpful tone, you never know whom you might inflame. Then I realize that sounds like a threat, so I say, “Have a good night,” and I go into the store. I do not turn around, but I do hear tires squeal and I wonder what story he went home to tell.
Have you ever done that, engaged like that and then wondered, “What am I doing?” Honestly, I still don’t know but it was a little bit fun, around the edges.
*First name only. It’s not like I really want this guy to come visit or anything.