Apparently, I still have enough testosterone to get myself in trouble while driving!
My daughter had a birthday party at 5:30, so with traffic it was not a stretch to think the 20 minute drive could stretch to 30 minutes. And, “traffic” really came down to one intersection. When we were backed up one light before the backed yo light, I started doing a bit of self-talk. (Not sure if I was talking out loud or in my head, but I am sure the dialogue did take place.)
“We will be lucky to make it through this light in 4 lights. I hope he doesn’t want to turn into the Home Depot. He should go straight and turn at the next light and come in the back way. Boy, the left lanes (the road has 4 lanes. The left two are turn lanes, and the right two are the going straight lanes. The far right lane has the option to also turn right. I was positioned in the straight-only lane.) are clearing out quickly. I am sure somebody is going to try and sneak in so they don’t have to wait in the long line. I hope they don’t do it to me. If I am lucky, I should get through the next light, but these cars sure don’t move very quickly. I REALLY hope I can make it on this one. Oh, good. It looks like I am going to make it.”
At this point, I am sure I started talking out loud. As the light turned yellow, I was just getting into the intersection. And, the guy in the car next to me (my left) wanted to skip all of the waiting and sneak right in front of me from the turn lane w/o waiting. It was at this point, my testosterone kicked in briefly, and I gave the car enough gas so I would stay ahead of him. On the other side of the intersection, there is a train track. And, since the nose of his car was just ahead of mine, I yielded to him. Prior to yielding, I made a hand/arm gesture trying to ask the question, “Why should I let you in when you came from the turn lane and decided to go straight?” (In my mind, this “him” is a petulant little child who may be living in the body of an adult, but is a very sad little boy deep down. He expected the world to submit to his whim and if it doesn’t submit, he has to throw a temper tantrum to show why you should never deny him what he obviously deserves. He was likely the type of child who got everything he wanted, and when he did get in trouble, his parents would blame the adult who found fault with their fantastic, beautiful son. )
If only this was the end of the incident, I would not have fully learned the lesson that I needed to. As we drove toward the next light, I tried to switch lanes a couple of times so I would not be behind him. Each time I switched lanes, he would switch lanes ahead of me. The closer he was to me when he switched lanes, the bigger he shrugged his shoulders. I think he was trying to say in his “I am more important than you way”, “How does it feel when somebody cuts you off?” My response would be something to do with waiting my turn and using the lane for its designed purpose. I resolved at this point to try and keep an appropriate distance from him while trying to get my daughter to her party in one piece.
With two traffic lights to go before I made a right hand turn, I was trying to drive carefully. As he was still in front of me, I knew I would make no sudden moves. But, when traffic opened up enough, I switched into the left lane. I was working on passing him, when he pulled out in front of me leaving me almost NO room to brake. He didn’t need to get over…he was still working through what he perceived to be my personal affront to his manliness. (His wife or girlfriend was in the front seat and maybe he wanted to impress her. Since I had the minivan, he must have thought it would be really impressive to mess with the dad driving some portion of his family around. ) He shrugs his shoulders and feels really pleased with himself for his incredible victory in this battle of minds. This is where my rarely used “long horn” seems to beep for a second or two. (A short been would not have allowed me to vent adequately) His head swells with pride knowing he has gotten to me so superbly. He has a little trophy to put on his shelf with all of the sports trophies he garnered for being a participating bench-warmer in various soccer and t-ball teams. His favorite trophy is probably the one for “Most likely to be thrown out of a game for being a bad sport” and the most accurate trophy from High School was for “Most likely to be involved in a drive by shooting”.
At the last light after pulling my head together and realizing what a psycho I am dealing with, I stay at a distance behind him in the far right lane. Once the light changes and he clears the intersection, I put on my turn signal and turn right. I still had a bit of emotions to gain control of, but I survived and learned a very valuable lesson. I do not think I would have let him ahead of me as he entered the intersection in the wrong lane. After viewing his actions, I would, however, assume he was a psycho immediately. I would turn at the first light and camp for a couple minutes so he would be WAY beyond me. Let him get to his destination w/o having to deal with getting revenge on some crazy old man in a minivan.
As much as I ranted here, I did say a prayer for him and myself. Neither of us handed it perfectly, and I can only control what I learned from the experience. I pray we both become better people and have experiences to get us to the point where we are supposed to be. (If I rant any more right now, it will make me seem like I need LOTS of help after the little party we shared. ) Fortunately, I walked for 6 miles afterwards with the last mile spent with a good Christian guy. I have put this little learning experience into perspective. Life happens, and if you don’t learn from the bad experiences, ask someone to bump the record player to get you our of the annoying rut you are in.