Road Rage At Any Age by
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(7 Stories)

Prompted By Road Rage

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Please don’t hate me. I swear I’m a good person. I try to remind myself of that when I get impatient behind the wheel, because maybe the pokey person in front of me is a teenager who’s just learning to drive, or the person I can barely see behind the wheel who suddenly turns without signaling is lost or confused, or the person in the car I spot swerving thru traffic and rapidly approaching in my rear view mirror is responding to an emergency. If I can remember to remind myself, I’m okay. But road rage has a way of sneaking up on you, and you’re embroiled in it before you have time to actually think.

But road rage has a way of sneaking up on you, and you’re embroiled in it before you have time to actually think.

Several years ago I was driving home when I looked into my rear view mirror and noticed a woman in a zippy car bearing down on me. Then, without warning, she sped up and went around me, cutting me off in the process. This certainly wasn’t the first time in my life I’d been cut off, but for some reason this time I simply and suddenly saw red. I went haywire (there’s actually a word I’d rather use, also two syllables, seven letters, but I’m not sure it’s allowed here). After honking and flipping her off, then rolling down my window and shaking my fist at her, I chased her. Yep! We zoomed down the main thoroughfare, then she turned right onto a side street. I peeled after her. Then she turned left a couple blocks up and I was right on her tail. This went on for a few blocks as we zig-zagged through the neighborhood at speed. But even though I’m a pretty good driver, she was better and was out of sight before I could catch up with her. Thank goodness, because I wonder what would have happened if I had. Would we have gotten into it? Imagine two grown women screeching to a stop, jumping out of their cars, and having at it. Would we have just screamed at each other, or hissed and spit at each other, or gone so far as to duke it out, pulling each other’s hair and scratching like high school girls in a chick fight? What would the neighbors have thought? What would we have been thinking? Thinking would have had nothing to do with it.

I know better, and I’m duly ashamed of myself. But I tell the story because I’m such an unlikely suspect. I’m not a kid, not a man. I’m a grandmother! And I swear I don’t have anger issues. I think it can happen to anyone given the “right” circumstances. September is National Courtesy Month. I remind myself to observe it all year long.

Profile photo of Barbara Buckles Barbara Buckles
Artist, writer, storyteller, spy. Okay, not a spy…I was just going for the rhythm.

I call myself “an inveterate dabbler.” (And my husband calls me “an invertebrate babbler.”) I just love to create one way or another. My latest passion is telling true stories live, on stage. Because it scares the hell out of me.

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Tags: road rage,
Characterizations: funny, well written

Comments

  1. Marian says:

    It happens to the best of us, Barbara. My pet peeve is texters, who are so dangerous to all concerned!

    • Don’t get me started on texters! My darling granddaughter, who just recently began driving, rear-ended someone the other day while peeking at a text. Thankfully no one was hurt, but a big lesson was learned. And, she has to use her hard-earned cash (she’s in college with a part-time job) to repair her car…now that’ll learn her.

  2. Wow. Just wow. Haven’t we each and all been there? Very, very well done, Barbara.

  3. Suzy says:

    Nicely done, Barbara! I love your description of the chase. It reminds me of the chase in my story, except I was the one being chased.. And then your speculation about what might have happened if she hadn’t gotten away. Very funny and very real. And by the way, that seven-letter word you wanted to use is perfectly fine here. Our Community Guidelines say to be respectful and kind to the other members, but that’s all. No language censorship.

  4. Laurie Levy says:

    Great story, Barbara. I have felt like doing that a few times but never had the nerve (or the driving skills). By the way, I have no problems with going batshit. This old grandma has felt that way many a time navigating the mean streets of my hometown.

  5. Betsy Pfau says:

    Great descriptive story, Barbara. I was there, with you all the way. Even mild-tempered, reasonable people can get their buttons pushed and flip out from time to time.

    And thank you to Tom and your follow-up comments to remind us all of the dangers of texting while driving. Before I got my current car (which will read texts to me and I can speak the answers), I would pull off the road rather than sneak a peak at a text. WAY too dangerous. I once, absent-mindedly, ran a red light close to my home, coming back from my gym. It wasn’t busy, but an officer pulled me over right away. I knew what I’d done and was very apologetic. He took a quick look in my car and saw that my cell phone was not out. I told him that I was just day-dreaming and come through that intersection at least once a day (usually the series of lights are such that, after making the turn, the light is green), coming from the gym to my home. When he saw that I wasn’t texting, he was pleasant, said he didn’t want my nice car to get smashed and be more careful next time!

  6. Aha! A carbon copy of an incident I helped perpetrate here in Los Angeles. You speak the truth regarding the unlikeliness of your breach of social control. We spend so much time in the car, I am guessing almost everyone has snapped at one time or another. Enjoyed your good-humored narrative! Oh, and BTW, at the end of my little cut off/bird flipping/chase enjoined episode, I beat the woman out. Ha ha, got her. Two blocks later she pulled up beside me and tossed a liquid through my open driver’s side window, catching me full-face on. It was just water, but it could have been anything, from Coke to acid.

    • I imagine water is what she happened to have at hand. It also could have been hot coffee, though come to think of it we didn’t have cup holders back then so probably not. Acid would seem unlikely, unless, I don’t know, she was an artist on her way to etch? My first “serious” boyfriend drove a TR3. Wary of the world, he kept an empty Coke bottle under his seat in case someone cut him off, at which point he would lob it at the body of their car or a tire to make a point. At least that’s what he told me it was for…he never did it in my presence, so hopefully it was just hypothetical. I hear he’s still alive, so that’s probably the case.

  7. Hot coffee or coke would have been more obnoxious and I was ‘way not interested in seeing her etchings, acid or no!

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