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Monday, June 11, 2012

Handling Stress: Road Rage


This morning I read a blog about a road rage incident stemming from a stressful back-story over at ProfMomEsq's aptly titled blog, "ProfMomEsq".  She was asking for tips and tricks to control your stress/temper, or in her words, "check yourself before you wreck yourself", which rhymes.  I linked the blog, so if you hover over it, you can totally click.  And you should, she writes well.


My own road rage issues have gotten considerably better since I had kids, primarily because I try to 'check myself before I wreck myself' verbally when the kids are in the car.  But I do still lose it.  And in the comments of her blog I told I'd tell the story about the time I was 'that guy'.  

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Me. . . blinker flashing. . . first to the stop by a mile.
Yeah. . . I'm going this way.  My blinker is flashing, see?
As I was waiting for my turn at the 4-way stop, a bitch (yeah, I said it) cut me off.  She was directly across from me.  I had my turn signal on patiently waiting my turn, and she went.  

Wait. . . what the. . .?
It was clearly my turn.  CLEARLY.  


I was. . . frustrated with her lack of courtesy.  To add insult to injury, however, as she passed me she began mouthing words to me through the window of her car and pointing down the hill to the right of me (I was trying to turn left when she cut me off).  I wasn't going to make a big thing out of it, until she started yappin' at me.  I was, though not content, at least willing to suffer the slight and turn once she passed me, until she opened her mouth.

My brain's immediate response when I saw her chirping at me was, "madam, I'm frustrated by your lack of courtesy and i'm irritated by your hand gestures and mouth movements.  I bid you, cease."  What I said out loud, however, at the top of my lungs, from inside my vacuum sealed sedan, was, "FUCK YOU, WHORE!!"  I pointed, so she knew that she was the whore I was talking about, because I'm all about clarity.


She passed, and I turned, content in the knowledge that she now was aware she was a whore who drives like shit.  I'm reminded of the old joke. . .


A man is driving his convertible up a long narrow winding mountain trail at top speed.  A woman is driving her convertible DOWN the same treacherous trail.  As the cars pass each other, the woman yells, "Slow down, pig!"  The man replies, "Fuck you, whore!" but is almost immediately thereafter forced to swerve to avoid an enormous wild pig in the road, crashing through the guardrail and plummeting to his eventual fiery death.  It's a joke typically told by women about how inconsiderate and ignorant men are.


Back to our story. . . 


As I turned my car left, I glanced down at my turn signal.  It indicated I was turning right. . . not left.  What the hell??  How did that happen?  I don't think I've ever turned my signal on opposite the way that I'm turning.  About the only way that ever happens is when A)  You change your mind about going one way and decide to go the other (but you know your signal is wrong) or B) when you make such a slight turn that your signal doesn't turn off automatically.  I had done neither.  For some inexplicable reason, I had my blinker going the direct opposite way I intended to travel.

The woman across from me, seeing that I was turning right, felt free to jump in line and drive through, since I would be turning away from her.  Once she saw I was turning across her, she (probably frustrated) pointed down the hill to my right, perhaps saying, "I didn't mean to cut you off, you signaled the other direction!"


So um. . . sorry about the whore thing, ma'am.  You were right.  I was wrong.  I apologize.


None of this really has much to do with ProfMomEsq's blog post requesting guidance regarding snapping your cap, but it is instructive to recognize that there's always a story, or a back-story when these things happen.  In this case, we have the benefit of being able to jump into the brain pan of the idiot driver (me) who flipped out on the person who did the right thing. . . because I legitimately thought *I* was doing the right thing. . .and in the heat of the moment I got all butthurt at the perceived slight and lashed out.


The idea that everyone brings their own baggage into each stressful encounter is always one that I *try* to take into consideration.  Bad day at the office?  Wife left you?  Sick kids?  All that emotional back-story gets dragged with us into each encounter until we finally lash out, fed up with all of it. . . but possibly to the person we lash out AT. . .it's out of the clear blue sky.


Anyway. . . I'm a dumbass.  But you knew that.  ;)





66 comments:

  1. Somehow I've managed to calm down a lot behind the wheel. Although I still make liberal use of the horn when someone is being a total asshat. I like the message of this post though.

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  2. This just proves that all intersects need lights so no one has to guess. Or be a whore.

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    1. Well. . . unless it was one of those fancy "turn signal" intersection lights we'd have done the same stupid thing.

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  3. The best part of this story? You used the tag "pig joke".

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    1. It hurts that the best part of the story wasn't included in the story.

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    2. Well, lemme back up. The BEST PART is actually the graphics. I was stroking my chin, rationalizing right there with you. The tag is merely the SECOND BEST part.

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  4. I can get road-ragey, myself. I've had to scale back my choice of expletives since staying home and becoming a shuttle service for my kids...but I still can give those whores some hell, I mean, those turkey-jerkeys some what-for!

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    1. turkey jerkeys?? ahaha. . . that is SOOOO lame. I love it!

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    2. Lame, yes, but at least when my son picks it up in an echolalic loop, I won't be given the supreme stink eye from other parents.

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    3. awesome lame. . . don't mistake me. Some things are so lame they're cool, turkey jerky!

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  5. Well, shoot. I've already said thank you, but THANK YOU!

    This was actually the first thing I read this morning (I even put on my glasses!), and it started my day with a healthy snort laugh, which was EXACTLY what I needed. I'm also totally using "snapping my cap" and "butthurt." Ripping those suckers right off. To be fair, I also ripped off "check yourself before you wreck yourself" from Ice Cube: http://youtu.be/DKJsSPATDLY. Personally, though, I think Zack Galafinakis puts a nice finish on it: http://youtu.be/x0_5jwOFet0

    The best was sitting here at the dining room table, reading this aloud to my husband. I don't know why, but it's wicked funnier when you read it aloud. Which annoyed the shit out of my husband, because I kept laughing instead of reading, so he didn't quite get the whole story? And that only made me laugh more.

    Did I say thank you? :-)

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    1. I should do a reading of it. . . but not at work, because saying "fuck you whore!" really loudly at work is totally frowned upon.

      Glad you liked it. Yes, you said thank you! ;)

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    2. That's the great thing about the military. It's totally acceptable to yell "fuck you, whore" while at work! That's really the only reason I signed up. That and the snazzy outfits.

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  6. When I finished laughing - wait, I'm not done yet - ...

    Okay. I thought, "This guy has a lot of humility." That's to be admired, even when it's kind of delayed... and ps- I'm a dumbass too, but don't tell anyone, okay?

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    1. Your secret is safe with me. . . I mean us. I told a few people. But they'll totally keep it a secret too.

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  7. OK, "whore" made me laugh so hard. Then I got to the part where it wasn't even her part and I almost died.

    I'm totally queen of road rage. Here's the thing. OTHER DRIVERS ARE REALLY BAD AT IT. I don't know how I'm expected to keep my cool if they KEEP MAKING SO MANY STUPID MISTAKES.

    I'm road raging at my desk right now just thinking about it.

    I don't have kids to worry about so I scream at the other drivers at my leisure.

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    1. FAULT NOT PART.

      I apparently can't type today. Time to go yell at some drivers, that ought to help.

      Fix that, Jim. Can you fix that? Thanks.

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    2. I can fix ANYTHING. Well almost anything. No, I can't fix it.

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    3. I also have all the road rage. I make Bobby really uncomfortable sometimes. I think it's because Andy (my BIL for people who are not in the know) also used to have terrible road rage and he's afraid I will get all scary like Andy used to? It's kind of hilarious because in most other aspects of life, Andy is quite mild-mannered*. Except when driving.

      *Unless there's alcohol involved.

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  8. Jim, wash your mouth out mister!

    Or as we like to say, "Language Bernard!"

    That's the English Bernud, not the American Bern-ard!

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    1. I know. . . I know. . . i'm working on it.

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  9. Keeping your cool is actually becoming a safety issue where I live. Every other day there's a story about some psycho who's smashed up a car with a tyre iron or pulled out a fricken gun on someone in a road rage incident.

    I decided a long time ago that the best way to handle road stress is to assume that people driving like dicks have some emergency that they're trying to get to. It really works! You don't get shitty about their driving so the stress stays low, and who cares if it's not true - you'll never know their story anyway so you might as well assume the best. Otherwise the only person you end up hurting is yourself.

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    1. I like it! Tell ProfMomEsq! That's an actual TIP!!

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  10. Yeah... Who says "whore" in an insult? I mean, unless you are really talking to a whore, and then it might work out... But in and off-handed stress-ridden insult?

    And oh... Don't ever come to Ohio. If you are making a left hand turn in OH... No matter what the situation... You are at fault. Learned this the hard way... Several times.

    Actually, just don't come to Ohio. I drive here. It's not safe at all.

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    1. me! Why would "whore" be insulting to whores?

      I will never EVER go to Ohio!

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  11. hahaha... great story. I lived in MA for a time and after the masshole douchebaggery I witnessed there... I will now and forever be.. an angry driver. Not that you would know it... I scream with the windows up and never use my middle finger or my horn.. but if you're on the phone with me when someone cuts me off... you better believe you'll be getting an earful of language you thought only existed in sailor bars.

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    1. I worked in Haledon, NJ for two months. . . the driving. . . sooooo aggressive.

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  12. Well, according to me, the driver opposite you had every right to go first, because she was the only one who didn't have to give right of way to anyone. Next would have been the driver on your right (for the same reason), and lastly you -- it doesn't matter that you had your blinker on long before anyone else. Right of way is right of way.
    And even if 'right of way' didn't coome into it, you still wouldn't have been the first to be allowed to drive on, as the person who does the smallest maneuvre gets to go first. Continuing you path has priority over turning right en turning right has priority over turning left (as that is the most complicated maneuvre).
    So, if you had yelled had me, I might even have gotten out of the car and yelled back at you!

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    1. I blame my diagram and faulty explanation. Right-of-way applies when you all arrive simultaneously. I arrived first, blinker blazing. If right-of-way applied only to whoever has the "smallest maneuver" then the person sitting at his stop with his blinker on would just sit there and sit there and sit there until all the traffic was gone, since everyone was going straight. At a four-way stop, assuming the person to your right arrives at the same time you do, he gets to go. Regardless, the person on my right arrived THIRD to the party. I got there first, and started to make my turn. She took off and cut me off. So I was pissed. . . at least at first.

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    2. It most definitely does NOT matter that you were there first. If the other car was there fast enough to cut you off, you were supposed to let it go first. That's how it works. And in fact, yes, the driver with the blinker on has to wait until no-one else has priority over him and then he can go.
      If the driver on your right arrived before you were able to leave the crossroads, yes you had to give this car right of way as well. Timing has got nothging to do with it. You can't begin to make your move until there is no-one else on the crossing who has priority over you.

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    3. is. . . is this why you're not allowed to drive anymore?

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  13. In the grand scheme of things, I'm a pretty calm driver. I do most of my yelling on the freeway, where no one notices anyway. And, I hardly ever use my horn because it is the most pathetic, whiny horn I've ever heard.

    I loved your instructional graphics.

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  14. I once drove for six months without a right turning signal because I was too lazy to get it replaced. It got to the point where I was spending twice as much on gas because I would take the scenic route just to avoid being yelled at.

    The good news is that now I've learned to wait until a bad driver has passed before cussing them out.

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    1. There's a blogger I follow whose daughter can't tolerate left turns. Everywhere they go (I think she's past this now) they had to get their making only right turns.

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  15. Haha. It's alright, she probably deserved being called a whole for another reason, I'm sure.

    I can't stand other drivers. They make me so irritated. I am pretty good at handling my road rage though, until someone yells something unnecessary at me (like whore would be a good example of that), and then I can't contain my anger. I just feel instant RAGE.

    And yes, nice pictures. I was able to visualize the situation perfectly.

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    1. thank you. Yeah, it's SO instant and so. . . enragenating! All other drivers are SO. BAD! Why??

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  16. Oh, wow! I laughed pretty good at this one! At least you saw the wrong of your ways. I am the person who is usually running people off of the road so I can't talk or judge, but it was a good laugh for me so that is all that counts!

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    1. YAY!

      Yeah. . . I saw the wrong. . .

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  17. Haha! This made me think of Manfriend. He has the worst roadrage and I always have to tell him to watch it, especially when the kiddo is in the car. He is usually pretty calm and collected but not behind the wheel. I am sure he is going to yell at the wrong person someday and we will all be shot dead. Even worse than that possiblity, I heard a story on the news about how this one man got out of his car at a stoplight because he was mad at another driver, reached in her car, pulled out her small dog...a poodle, I think, but it could have easily been a chihuahua, and threw it into oncoming traffic. I would never be able to leave counseling if Manfriend got Lucee thrown into traffic.
    Also, I am coming from a place where I know how it feels to be the person raged upon. I am not a great driver. It doesn't mean I'm purposefully trying to be rude or inconsiderate, but I get a lot of honks. And it hurts my feelings. One honk can ruin my day. I think about it for hours after the fact.

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    1. By the way, I was always checking your other blog for posts...Glad Lindsey pointed me in this direction. : )

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    2. I didn't honk. I just called her a fucking whore. . . so. . . is that better or worse?

      I rarely update the other one. Initially the blogs were divided by content. This was going to be strictly about parenting my littlest and all other family matters and nonsense would be over there. I'll still post there if I get a wild hair. . . but mostly here. Thanks for following this one!

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  18. The best 'check yourself before you wreck yourself' is Jason Bateman in Dodgeball. But I am biased.

    I am extremely foul-mouthed while driving, and I am usually not even mad. I just have a bad habit. My son has certainly had a calming influence on me, when he is in the car. I just don't take bad drivers personally any more, I guess.

    Also, excellent graphics. I would have been completely confused about which car was the whore, otherwise.

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    1. I felt it was important to know which was the whore's car. Thank you. I stole the intersection from google and then modified it to suit my needs.

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  19. I feel like we could somehow redevelop that old Atari game, "Frogger," to incorporate decent driving skills AND not swearing profusely. Maybe XBox should look into this.

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    1. I would still want the swearing. Maybe there could be a parental filter, like on cable. Children would need the pass code in order to yell "WHORE!" at people are driving correctly while they drive like morons.

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  20. My post on my own left turn misadventure needed graphics, obviously, but I was too tired and too shaken to make the attempt. I don't often experience road rage, except at myself, because I know if other drivers have to tolerate my sometimes asshat driving, I need to offer them the same courtesy. And that thing about putting yourself in someone else's brain pan? I've been preaching that since I was teaching juvenile delinquents in the alternative learning center and psychiatric day school. It's not always about you, people. Don't look for slights where none are intended.

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    1. I liked the tip above, "I decided a long time ago that the best way to handle road stress is to assume that people driving like dicks have some emergency that they're trying to get to." I tested it out this morning. It didn't work. I started second guessing the lady who cut me off when she seemed perfectly content to just stay in the line of traffic after she did it.

      I said, "What the fuck, lady? This is an EMERGENCY!! GET MOVIN'!!"

      Really it mostly backfired.

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  21. You’re too damn funny, Jim. Honestly, my husband could have written this. He’s had similar situations happen several times because he’s not the most patient guy on the road.

    A funny thing about road rage—it was a common sight when we lived in Chicago. I mean, you really have to be mentally prepared before getting on the roads—and once you’re on them, you’d better not hold up traffic for any reason. It could get really stressful.

    When we moved to Portland it was like entering another dimension. Drivers here are nice to the point of frustration. It’s always the same. Driver 1: “You go.” Driver 2: “Thanks, no, you go.” And repeat about 7 damn times before anyone goes—and traffic is backed up and everyone is too damn polite to honk their horns! Aaiieeeee!!! *deep breath* Anyway, it drives me up the wall. In fact, I think I’ve actually developed a bit of road rage myself because of it. Seriously, an excess of patience and extreme common courtesy have no place on the highway! LOL

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  22. Awesome! Love the illustrations.

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  23. I try so hard to show some empathy, but some people behave so poorly that I have no interest in trying to excuse them after a certain point. Your car is awesome, btw!

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    1. I stole it from the interwebz!

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  24. Bahahaha! I have to say, I love people who lose it like that. Damn those fairies for sneaking in your car, changing your turn signal and making you look like an asshole!

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  25. Ha! I love your pictures by the way. Especially the WHORE one.

    I have road rage. I know it. I yell in my car. A lot.

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  26. Your description of getting to the point of hollering WHORE at the woman made me laugh (I'm still laughing and my stomach hurts). I don't remember the last time I laughed that much.

    Thanks!

    I often wish we could drive around with signs easily accessible that we could flash at idiots while we're driving....of course, Murphy would show up and show that we're the idiot too.

    Thanks, again for the giggle!

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    1. You're welcome. And I don't want those signs, I fear they'd too often point right at me.

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