Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Road rage derailed

I left the house in a great mood this morning but couldn't get five miles down the road without wanting to pull over and scream at someone--and not just anyone, but this one particular dude who was trying to drive his pickup truck right up my tailpipe.

I was driving fast enough--a few mph over the speed limit, which is plenty fast for that road. Moreover, he had ample opportunities to pass me but decided that he'd rather ride right up on my tail instead. It got really scary when we approached a 35-mph zone and I started slowing down but he showed no signs of doing likewise, so I finally swerved off the road into a driveway and let him pass.

He went by so quickly that I couldn't read the name on his truck, and I didn't recognize the company logo. It wasn't an ODOT truck or one of the county road crew trucks, which tend to proliferate on our roads this time of year. Then I saw him pull over into a convenience store parking lot and I was sorely tempted to drive over there, take down some details, and call the business to report his bad driving.

Who am I kidding? I wanted to scream at him right there in public, to let him know how unnerving I found his dangerous driving. Teach him a lesson!

But them I was reminded of a time when I was riding with a relative who got angry at a woman riding a bike across a road. "She should have stopped!" insisted my relative, and then, "Someone ought to run her over! That would teach her a lesson."

Yes it would, but seriously: we were driving about 15 miles an hour at the time and she was far enough ahead to be out of danger. If someone gave her a ticket for failing to stop at the stop sign, that might teach her a lesson, but to suggest a serious maiming seems a bit extreme.

In that case I was alarmed by the force of my relative's anger, but this morning I felt that anger bubbling up within myself. I really wanted to hurt someone simply because he made me uncomfortable. But I didn't--and not just because I'm aware that many people around here carry guns for various reasons, legitimate and otherwise. No, my reason was much more elemental: it's a gorgeous day out there and I simply didn't want this annoying old coot to ruin it. 

And so I drove on and didn't hurt anyone. I'm left, though, with a nagging doubt: if this guy's aggressive driving ends up hurting someone else, must I carry a small share of the blame?     

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I once owned a device like this: http://www.google.com/patents/US5314371
I found a second use for it when hiking in grizzly bear territory. Lots of fun.

D.