Calm, Cool and Committed

Three Moms and a Dude

Have a Xanax‏

on September 18, 2012

By Mamma Fratelli

I was called a b*tch twice today. Both times, it was by a male driver. One time was my fault-ish, the other time, definitely not.

The first name calling incident occurred when I was driving along, minding my own business and a 20-something guy on a cell phone ran a stop sign, forcing me to slam on my brakes. To add insult to potential injury, he screamed out the window for me to move and referred to me as a lady canine.

The second incident took place at an intersection with a notoriously long red light. I was turning left and did the pull-into-the-intersection-and-if-you-don’t-get-a-turn-go-while-the-lights-are-changing routine. I’m sure the legality of the maneuver is debatable but it is SOP around here. Well, today the traffic was backed up more than usual and the tail end of my car was still in the line of fire when the eastbound light turned green. The gentleman (and I use the term loosely) sitting in the pickup truck at the light must not have had power steering because he sure was mad that he had to maneuver around me a smidge. I guess I still had my dog costume on because he suggested that I, a puppy’s mama, be…ahem…copulated with.

I tried to let it roll off my back but the irony was not lost on me that I taught at a center city school for five years and nary once did I have the pleasure of being double dosed with the B word. In a simple day’s errands, though, i managed to piss off two strangers enough to get hit with it twice. After pondering the matter the rest of my drive, it hit me that the problem is so much bigger than an offensive coincidence.

Yes, I was in the wrong in one case, but I’d wager the pickup driver had made his share of poor judgments while driving and I hope he wasn’t cursed every time he did. The instant explosiveness of the other two drivers seems to reflect a growing problem in society today: everyone on the road is pissed. If someone tailgates, the driver in front brake checks him. Maybe he needs to get to the hospital. If one driver is about to back into another, the potential target lays on her horn. A simple beep would suffice. If a driver’s tires don’t break pavement the instant a light turns green, it sounds like the brass section of the London Philharmonic is tuning up behind him. Breathe, people. The thing about green lights is that they just keep coming all day long.

Why are drivers on the verge of a nervous breakdown? Is driving itself that stressful? Are we under pressure at work but instead of blowing up at our bosses, we take it out on strangers? Is the fact that the term road rage even exists a sign of a bigger problem in society?

I’d say yes to all of the questions above. I think the anonymity coupled with the potentially serious repercussions of driving mistakes serve as a lighter to a pre-existing fuse for some people. Driving is very frustrating by design. Hurry up and stop. Wait your turn. Lose your turn. Miss your exit. Hit construction. Rarely are we going anywhere that we don’t want or need to be within a certain time frame. The possibility of arriving late to work, missing a kid’s soccer game or simply wanting to finally prop up your feet after a long day are enough to get anyone’s fingers tapping at a red light.

So, how do we get everyone to do the Rodney and just get along? I’m not so sure there’s a solution. We have to accept that there are other people in this world and they are going places, too. Unless you’re headed to the ER or have to get The Football to the President, your destination is probably roughly as important to you as everyone else’s is to them. We would have to do a major overhaul to culture and society to eliminate that constant feeling of a looming deadline (that’s another blog post entirely!) so it’s safe to assume the problem is not going to resolve itself. What’s left to do? React? Or don’t? That’s up to you. I chose to give both men the biggest, cheesiest grin and wave that I could muster. I can’t change what happened but I can giggle to myself at the idea of the rude driver complaining to his buddy and answering the question, “then what did she do?” with “she smiled and waved.” I guess if you can’t stand at the red lights handing out Xanax, you have to get creative.

<;a href="http://“>;Safe driving, everyone!



3 responses to “Have a Xanax‏

  1. Matt says:

    I’ve often wondered what makes everyone (myself included, sometimes) think that wherever they’re going is so much more important than where everyone else is going. And sometimes they tell me where I can go!

  2. Molar Mother says:

    I believe Matt has a relative who got so angry about a tailgater on the interstate that he (the relative) pulled his e-brake and slammed into the guy…

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