Friday, August 07, 2009

A New Award!

The car was parked, unexpectedly and illegally, right in the center of our driveway. The curb is cut in such a way that there is only one path that isn't dangerously steep. The car was blocking that path. I approached with no ill intent. All I wanted to do was ask them to back up about 4 feet and let me make my way ahead. I pulled up beside a rolled up window. There were both driver and passenger in the car. The passenger, a woman of about 30, looked at me as I waved for her to roll down the window. I was smiling. She was not.

She looked to the driver who looked at me and mouthed something, unheard but undoubtably unpleasant. I do not understand these situations. Why is anger some people's first response to an interaction? I certainly had more cause for anger, they were parked where they weren't supposed to be parked after all. But it was a sunny day, I'm on holidays, I don't wish to be angry. So I continued to smile and since they weren't rolling down the window and both were glaring at me, I made hand signals intending to show them that I wanted to get by them so I could go down the curb.

The driver said something, clearly vulgar, I don't read lips but some words are unmistakeable. I decided to back up and go way round to the other end of the curved driveway and exit there. But, instead, he reved the car and squealed tires as he drove off. His car fishtailed slightly and I swear I was a millimeter or two from being smashed all over the pavement. I sat there with my heart thumping in my chest.

All day I have replayed the incident over and over again. I don't think I was asking him for much. I don't think it would have been a bother. I don't think that I deserved that kind of reaction. But oddly, I started giving him excuses. He probably had a bad day. He probably was upset about something else. He probably ...

Then I realized that there is no 'probably' about this. Even if he's had the worst day in the world, he'd lost all his money, he'd been caught cheating on his wife, his first child was borne with 666 on his forehead ... being asked to move your car back a couple of feet is even something that someone with the worst PTSD can do. I'm sure of it.

Why is it that we explain away the behaviour of jerks.

To you sir, driver of said car - you are the deserving first recipient of the Rolling Around in My Head's Jerk of the Week Award. Please thank your mother, your father, your God Beelzebub, and come out from the rock you live under and pick up your prize. I didn't have any dog shit to put in a bag, but I made doo doo.

8 comments:

Manuela said...

thanks Dave, I needed that said and with the way you said it, it started my day with a chuckle. Stop making excuses, stop blaming yourself - I've been saying it all week but after this read, I believe it. Funny what it takes.

Fran said...

Well said! I have made excuses in the same way, but never really thought about it before.

Kristin said...

What a jerk. Why is it that everyone seems to have forgotten how to treat each other with common courtesy?

FridaWrites said...

You are right. No one should risk your life because of their bad judgment, their bad day. What people don't realize is this is how about half of people would react to us in such a situation, that we're bullied all the time.

Shan said...

I don't often make excuses for people - grew out of that a few years ago when I stopped making excuses for myself.

Virginia S. Wood, PsyD said...

"we're bullied all the time."

Yes, we are. I can't count the number of times when I have confronted someone parked illegally and all of a sudden now I'm the bad guy and they're the victim.

And once, when I was crossing a 6-lane street downtown, I had someone swerve across several lanes to pass within arm's length of me, at top speed, just--presumably--for fun.

Belinda said...

Horrible! He drove away from you but he can't drive away from himself. He has to live inside that skin full of anger, ignorance and bad manners. I would not want to wake up tomorrow morning being him.

And...I think I've heard you get angry at people who make excuses for abusers but it's so easy to do.

Anonymous said...

I truly love it when you say the things I am only brave enough to think. Or say to my most trusted co-workers.