Road Rage: The Final Chapter?

Last week I was talking about my… assertive driving. If you are always calm on the road, please share your secrets with me. The deep breaths are far from 100% effective, and I need to steal your strategies.

It came to a head the other day–the road rage.

I was running late and in a left turn lane. At the green arrow the first vehicle was sooooo slow that the woman in the second car got the yellow and didn’t go through. Come on! We totally could have made it through!!

I honked.

Maybe that was a bad move. I mean, the light was yellow, and it was her prerogative to stop, especially since she had gotten a ticket a few months earlier for going on yellow at this very same intersection.

How do I know her driving history?

Because we were, of course, going to the same rec center with our kids. And she walked up to me in the parking lot to have a little chat.

This kind of thing can really ruin your day. If I was good at letting things go and always connecting to the goodness in the world–or if I wasn’t running perpetually five minutes late–none of this would have happened. Instead, I have another enemy on my list.

I figured any chance at redemption would probably come in the form of traffic school down the road, but the very next day after our Yellow-Light-No-Turn-Lady confrontation, K-Pants and I headed to the park with my friend, Leslie, who is very social. At the park Leslie recognized someone right away. And who could it be? Yes! Yellow-Light-No-Turn-Lady! There. At the park. Next to our house.

Here we were. Face to face again. YLNT-lady did not recognize me. (I had showered.)

This was a critical moment. I could pretend that I was always nice and never aggressive-bitchy-SUV-mom. But I think things happen for a reason. Not only that, but the rapture was still on the horizon at that point, and why not square things away?

I introduced myself as the real me from the other day. And I apologized. It took me a few sentences to get around to it. Apologizing point-blank is hard. I need quite a bit of practice. I guess the universe figured that out…

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12 responses to “Road Rage: The Final Chapter?

  1. Your honking: was it a “bp!” or a “BEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEP!!!”?

    No matter. The point is, whether you actually needed to or not, you apologised to establish peace. Good for you! Now there’s a real horn you can toot!

    It takes a while to get the New Yorker out of us. When you learn this, tell me how. x

  2. Aw, such a good person you are. It’s almost sit-com-esque that you would end up meeting her at the the rec center and then again at the park! Sounds like you handled it well though. I too would have stewed over it for quite some time. I hate being called out on stuff (like the little old lady crabbing about me on the bus yesterday). I am working on the “I have my reasons” mantra and trying not to feel bad about incidents like that.

    • Well it also seemed like much more trouble to continue wearing the sunglasses and acting cagey. Plus, if we did become friends, I would have to borrow someone else’s car if we ever went somewhere. But don’t feel bad about the lady on the bus. It’s probably her issue!

  3. OMG I had no idea you and my husband were separated at birth. He is an insane driver, I mean, a bit tenacious when it comes to the wheel (and the road and the lights and especially yellow lights). Whilst we are driving somewhere I swear at least 156 times that I will never (and I mean NEVER) ever again sit in the same vehicle with him. But we live together so I never carry through with my plan. But I always get tempted to ask him to stop somewhere by the Hospital for Special Surgeries, between FDR Drive and Queensborough Bridge, where the road twists and turns this-a way and that-a way and my innards turn with it. But I do realize it would be ludicrous to walk to Astoria on foot from there so I just curse my luck and say nothing.

    I miss you guys so so so so much.

  4. Good lord. You’re a better woman than I. I would have studiously looked in a different direction and hushed the child. Bravo!

  5. What a beautiful blog. The New Yorker is fading away and the Portlandic is emerging. Soon you will stop jaywalking and crossing empty streets when the “Don’t Walk” is flashing. It happens to the worst of us when we move to the Northwest, nearer the heart of the Universe. I miss you guys so much I am going to come and visit.
    George

  6. Well…In that situation, I must admit that I am a little calmer…It’s usually some elderly person afraid a person in the oncoming lane is going to run their light! I’ve seen those accidents so that wouldn’t get to me too much. However, idiots on the freeway that drive like Dale Earnhardt (RIP) and then slow down when they get in front of me are a true challenge to my patience–along with tail-gaiters. I don’t think I’ll ever measure up to you or St. Lauren in that patience department–and it’s NOT from being a Texan…It’s from being the daughter of a retired Msgt. who raised me and had even less patience for it! The only thing I’ve resolved to do as a result is never to be in Dallas during the bloody rush hour–and IF I ever go to LA–I’ll ride a bus or take a bloody cab! LOL 😉

    • My sister is with you on the Dale Earnhardt-type drivers. It makes her go berserk! I like your practicality about Dallas. It’s definitely best to just avoid certain situations–and LA in general. 😉

  7. Holy cow. Someone was trying to make a point, huh?

    I used to have terrible road rage (a sales person in Boston driving with a road map – no GPS back then – during The Big Dig to see clients…catch my drift?). Then it got so bad, I was getting so furious, that I started Kundalini yoga to try to calm down, and it worked wonders.

    Though, I still think the other drivers are often idiots, but I can be more zen about it now, 15 years later.

    • I’m very glad that the zen can be found! And I CANNOT imagine driving around Boston with a road map day-in and day-out. I would need years of calming therapies to get over that! Kudos!

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