I’m known for my tourette fits while driving in this town. People here don’t have a clue what they are doing when it comes to things like yielding, merging and observing proper speed. They either drive way too fast or they creep along in a way that tells you they have absolutely nowhere to be in the near future. I do my fair share of cursing and flailing when someone does something stupid, but I get truly pissed when someone does something so stupid that it nearly causes an accident. I’ll honk my horn dramatically for way longer than is reasonable to make an example out of them, flip them off and yell, or stop and stare them down in the middle of the intersection. It’s truly ridiculous how quick my temper is on the road. I learned a valuable lesson a couple of years ago, and I’d like to share it with you in case this is one of your bad behaviors as well.
It was a Sunday morning early, and there was very little traffic. I was driving along and a car pulled out of a gas station parking lot in the lane in front of me. The lady didn’t cut me off or anything, she just pulled out into traffic. I was directly behind her when we stopped at a three-way stop approaching a semi-busy highway. At this time, gas prices were out of the park. Remember when gas was nearly $4 a gallon? It was during that time. I was cautious of how fast I sped up, to conserve gas. Well, I immediately noticed that this lady’s gas cap was off, hanging by the little plastic cordy-thing against the side of her car. I thought to myself, “Holy crap. That lady just spent like $1000 filling up that mini-van, and she’s going to lose half of it on the way home.” I don’t know if that’s true or not, but I imagined it was. So, in the most polite tone possible, I honked my horn quickly to get her attention.
I could see the outline of the driver and her passenger in the car. It was like a silent movie. I saw the passenger turn around, look at me, then turn to the driver, say something, and then the driver turned around, looked back at me, and her hands started wailing around like a crazy person. You could almost HEAR the curse words coming out of her mouth. I tried to explain, but she couldn’t hear me because I was, as it turns out, in my own car at the time. So, thinking I could clear this misunderstanding up, I honked again, to get her to look back again. And she did. So I began pointing through my windshield at her gas cap, as if to say by my indication, “Excuse me ma’am, but your gas cap is off.” This did not work. She only got madder, as I now realize my pointing made her think I was pointing at her.
We were still sitting at this intersection though we could have gone probably 10 times, because my distraction had frozen her solid. She just sat there and flailed about like a fish out of water. Finally, she stuck her hand up between the seats in my clear view and flipped me off. By this time, I was giddy. This was the greatest thing ever. So, I got out of car and walked up to her window. She already had her window down, but looked afraid to look at me, though eventually she did, as I said, “Lady, I was just trying to tell you that your gas cap is off.”
“Oh, dear Jesus, baby! Thank you! Thank you, baby! Oh my Jesus! Oh I’m so….”
I didn’t let her say sorry. And to seal the deal, I put on her gas cap before I returned to my vehicle.
I smiled the rest of that day.
What’s the lesson here? Before you go all crazy stupid on someone who has honked at you, make sure that they weren’t using their horn for good, instead of assuming they were using it for evil.