There’s something about being dangerous that is unbelievably exciting. I suppose that’s why “Breaking Bad” was such a huge TV show. Everyone secretly wants to be a dangerous, murderous meth kingpin. Fortunately, most people are happy to live vicariously through fictional characters instead of cooking the purest meth known to man.
I’ve never been considered a dangerous person. Ever. There are literally no situations I can think of where someone has thought of me as a daring “Rebel Without a Cause” type. I honestly feel that any efforts I would make to be edgy would be met with the same “awwww….” that is normally reserved for small children or sleeping puppies.
Apparently not everyone has gotten the message that I am as scary as a monarch butterfly.
I was driving to the store the other day when I hit a patch of very heavy traffic. This is not unusual. In Nashville, traffic seems to have a mind of its own. I think there must be an email that goes out to everyone living within 15 miles of me letting them know what roads they need to jam up to prevent me from getting things done. It’s apparently a very efficient email.
As I sat there, a car to my right tried to cut in. This was not your regular traffic cut in. This individual pulled their car up, pushing the nose of their vehicle forward and jamming just enough of it between me and the car in front of me that I was forced to choose between letting them in and getting into a wreck. As soon as the car in front of me moved, they cut me off completely, forcing their way in.
In traffic, I’m usually a very laid back person. This was not one of those situations. I honked at the car and threw my hands in the air. I waved them about wildly. I don’t know if you can make sarcastic hand gestures, but I definitely tried my best. I wanted to make it abundantly clear that this person had irritated me.
We drove on. Every turn I took, every lane change I made, that car was still there. I finally began to notice something. Every couple of minutes, this person would glance in their rearview at me. It happened again and again. He was looking at the bearded man driving an early 90’s SUV that had angrily honked and gestured at him when he cut into traffic. Then that same bearded man was following him.
For the first time in my life, someone was worried that I may be a madman. I liked it.
I started thinking about how I could enhance my new dangerous image. I tried an intimidating stare, but after catching sight of myself in the rearview mirror realized that this would do nothing but convince that driver I was constipated. Throat slashing gestures seemed like a bit much. I briefly considered punching things in my car, but that seemed like it would hurt my hand. In the end, I went with what had been working so effectively before and continued to drive to my destination.
As was destined to happen, we turned into the same parking lot. As he pulled in, a young girl in her late teens ran up to the car and tried talking to him through his window. A glance at me in the rearview and he quickly gestured for her to get into the car with him. He pulled into a parking lot.
I had a decision to make. The parking spot he had chosen was as far away from the store I wanted to go to as possible. Parking closer, though, would mean my venture in being dangerous was over. In the end, I did the obnoxious thing: I parked three spots down from him before getting out and walking to the store. I glanced over my shoulder. They sat in the car, watching me until I was safely away before getting out and heading into Panera for their artisanal pasty and fancy tea beverage.
A while later, I left, walking the long walk to my car and got in. As I pulled around to the exit, I saw the driver leaving Panera. He quickly glanced down, not making eye contact.
I’d like to think I taught him a very important lesson about manners and driving. I highly doubt I did, but I’d like to think it anyway. I guess at heart, I just want to help people be the best that they can be. I’m a giver.
An unbelievably dangerous giver.
- Aggressive Driving: Staying Safe in a Crazy World (trafficsafetyguy.com)
- Are Car Safety Features Too Distracting For Drivers? (autoinsurancecenter.com)
- If Only Clover Would Move Over (ericpetersautos.com)