WELP. It happened again yesterday. Another early meeting, another road rage incident. You guys, I’ve been in more car-ltercations than I care to admit, including – but not limited to – getting out of my vehicle at a red light when I was five months pregnant after a silly young man in a wifebeater mistakenly thought he could cut me off and then call me the c-word (and I don’t mean “cute”) when I honked at him… I think I’m still in trouble with the hubs for that one. WHOOPSAYY.
Let me back up a sec and say that I am well aware that I
frequently on the rare occasion, drive like an asshole. But there’s a good reason for it. I am chronically and perpetually late 100% of the time. Okay so maybe it’s not a good reason, but it’s a reason nonetheless.
In my mind, there are two types of people in this world. The people who are obnoxiously early and sit in the parking lot scrolling through Instagram thirty minutes before their appointment, and the people who squeal into the parking lot on two wheels at the exact time their appointment is supposed to begin, with wet hair and coffee on their shirt. I’m the second one.
This character flaw is undoubtedly the reason that I am in a hurry ev.e.ry single. time. I get into my vehicle. Suffering from HCL (Habitual, Chronic Lateness) means that even if I were to get up three hours early, I would still be late. Probably even later than normal, because if I get up that early I will trick myself into thinking that I have sooooo much time and the next thing I know I will be organizing the attic in my pajamas five minutes before I should be leaving.
You early people don’t understand this phenomenon, as is proof by your constant questioning… “Are you getting in the shower now?” “Why are you still not dressed?” “Why are you naked and cleaning under the refrigerator?” (Don’t even act like you haven’t ever gotten side-tracked on the way to bathe.)
The other part of this perfect road-ragey storm is that I am unafraid to push my vehicle to the absolute limits, AND I am extremely competitive. If I am in a hurry and we are stopped side-by-side at a red light, the only reason that I won’t beat you off the line is because your car is faster than mine. I promise it’s not the lack of want-to, because I will drop the hammer in a hot minute and not think twice about it. The Turner County Sheriff’s office doesn’t call me a three-time Super Speeder for nothing, people! *P.s. all the rules change when my babies are in the car and we’re enjoying the 37 millionth showing of The Little Mermaid, so please do not even start with me on that.
SO. Cut to this past Wednesday and my 8 a.m. meeting at work. I got on the interstate at 7:45 a.m. It is a twenty minute drive to my office on a good day. When I finally got off on the highway where my office is it was 7:58. And of course I got stuck behind a poufy-haired woman in a PT Cruiser with nowhere to be and all day to get there.
I could see her look back at the headlights of my ginormous Tahoe barreling down on her, but my white-knuckled glare into her eyeballs through her rear view mirror did nothing to prod her along. Finally, after what felt like a small eternity, I was able to pass her and I casually tossed a “wtf” look in her direction as I left her in my dust.
As luck would have it, I begrudgingly caught the next red light, and who pulls up next to me but the tortoise herself. Only apparently she’s much faster at being sassy than she is at driving, because the next thing I know she’s screaming at me through her still closed window. WHAT THA? Oh helllll no.
By the time I see her lecturing me and start to roll down my window so we can discuss this thing like adults, she has turned her head and will not acknowledge me. Well obviously this would not work, so I began honking to get her attention. Finally she turned back to me, rolled down her window, and when I yelled, “did you have something to say to me?”, she promptly replied, “bitch maybe if you’d get up earlier you wouldn’t be in such a rush!”
I only hope that as I shouted “why don’t you mind your own f*cking business?!” back to her that she couldn’t see the look of “oh shit she’s exactly right” written all over my perpetually late face.
I was still bothered by this incident when I arrived at work. Despite my seemingly flippant attitude, I do not start out my day intending to drop f-bombs on tortoises in traffic before 8 a.m.
It then occurred to me that I knew nothing about that lady, just like she knew nothing about me. She had no idea that I have a six month old baby who has been sick for nearly two and a half months. She didn’t know that in the last three days I’d slept a combined twelve hours. She didn’t know that I already felt guilty that I’d hugged the pillow for an extra twenty minutes – because let’s face it, the last hour of sleep is the best no matter what – even though I knew it would make me late. She didn’t know that I spent an extra five minutes in my baby’s classroom that morning because it hurts me to my soul to leave her with someone else when she doesn’t feel good. She didn’t know that I’m a working mother who was rushing to get to a meeting that I dread.
But she DID know that I passed her and gave her a crappy look, so she reacted to that. And I reacted to her yelling. And that was that and I didn’t feel good about it.
In hindsight, I shouldn’t have blown past her, because obviously those thirty seconds didn’t make a difference. I think we each should have shown each other a little bit more grace too… because I don’t know her story and she doesn’t know mine.
I will do better next time something like this happens, which it undoubtedly will, because HCL people like me don’t just give up the naked-under-the-refrigerator-cleaning, or hugging that pillow… and we WILL be late while the rest of you are scrolling through Instagram.
Bottom line… don’t hit the snooze and be nice to each other!