So what does it take? I mean to really get your blood boiling? What has to happen before you’re standing outside yourself and seeing crimson? It seems we all have different threshold levels, and there are countless factors that can influence that level within each of us at any given moment.
Yesterday, I was in a car accident. Don’t worry, I’m fine, but I do appreciate your concern. It wasn’t my fault, either, if that’s what you’re thinking. I was patiently waiting at the corner to make a right hand turn onto the speeding highway, when BLAM–struck from behind. Now I’m a pretty easy going guy, so it didn’t surprise me that I didn’t feel an ounce of anger toward this woman. She apparently thought I was going to turn, but I didn’t. I thought, well it could happen to anyone in a moment of carelessness, but I’m glad this time it wasn’t me.
We pulled our cars into the parking lot of the liquor store on the corner. I remember parking next to some big green “boat” of a car, somehing like a Pontiac Bonneville or similar, I don’t recall exactly. I got out to check the damage to my Civic and to speak with the lady who hit me so we could figure out what to do next. As she was calling the police to report the accident, I hear a man’s voice yelling at me to shut my door–apparently in my ever so slightly scrambled state of mind, I had neglected to do so.
I notice that the man yelling at me is in this “big boat” car and he’s now pulled about half-way out of the parking space, but he’s stopped and apparently waiting until I shut my car door, which I immediately do. I smile at the old man in the car, wave and mouth my apologies. As he then continues to pull out, he’s staring at me and shaking his head with a look that suggests this offense is the worst thing I could have done to anybody ever, I mean a look that suggests I just pissed in an Ethiopian kid’s cornflakes after stepping on his goldfish and kicking his mother in the face (I know Ethiopian kids probably don’t keep too many goldfish, but hey, I can’t help it if that’s the look the guy was giving me!).
I continue to smile and I wave again, but apparently this old guy isn’t finished with me yet, and he’ll be damned if he goes to the grave (which looked to be happening very soon) before he says his peace about this terrible crime I’ve committed. As he is now taking the time and effort to roll down his window, I think to myself (to who else would I be thinking?), okay he must not realize the situation, that I’m obviously not thinking clearly due to having just been involved in a motor vehicle accident and that is obviously why I made such a horrible, careless mistake. So now the man yells at me through his open window, “What the hell is wrong with you? What are you doing, trying to cause a double accident??” And then he drives away, still shaking his head with that glare one might give to a malicious murderer of cuddly kittens.
Now I’m left there feeling just awful for what I’ve done to ruin this old guy’s life the way I did, but I didn’t get angry. I got rear-ended, my bumper got all jacked up, I was late to class on a test night, and was accosted by a belligerent old codger in a green “steam-boat-willie” of a car, and through it all I was never the least bit pissed off. Now, folks who drive with their turn signal on? That is another story! And don’t even get me started on people parking in handicap spaces without a sticker! Aaarggh!