I try to be a courteous driver. And with that comes resisting the urge to become a vengeful road vigilante when other drivers are not.
Granted, if I did go to vigilante mode, it would be super passive-aggressive, where I would do something like leave a note on someone’s car window long after I was sure they were nowhere around to see me place it.
But recently, a couple of driving events pushed me to the brink of perhaps considering a sternly worded note.
The first happened as I was leaving work. My office is located on a very busy road, and when I turn left to go home, I often have to wait a good while for traffic to clear. No worries. I just plan for the occasional several-minute delay and go with it.
But the other day, as I was waiting, the car behind me did not have the same patience. He did not at all like how I was, you know, waiting for traffic to clear. He whipped around me and shot out into traffic, causing oncoming cars from both directions to have to slam on brakes.
Now, you may be saying, “But, Mike, perhaps he had a loved one in his car and they needed medical attention. Or perhaps he was a surgeon and he had to get to his transplant surgery immediately.”
No, because his maneuver did little to save him time, and we were side by side at a stoplight about three blocks away. I assure you he was just impatient. I gave a mean side-eye to him just to let him know I meant business.
The next event happened on my way into work. I was in the right lane of a four-lane road, a few blocks from the office. The light turned green, and I started to go. I heard a loud rumble, and looked in my passenger’s side mirror and saw a motorcycle coming at a very high rate of speed. He was passing all of the cars in the right lane. He shot past me and took off down the road. Alas, he was gone before he could see my look of disappointment, as I know that would have really stung.
But sometimes, you get the tonic you need for such an ailment. My daughter and I were driving over the Ravenel Bridge recently. For those of you not familiar, the Ravenel is about a three-mile, eight-lane bridge that goes over the Cooper River in Charleston. When we first got on the bridge, I glanced in my rearview mirror and saw a car coming at a very high rate of speed.
We were in the third from the right lane. It shot past us, and my mental radar guessed it was going about 90. Fun fact: The speed limit on the Ravenel is not, in fact, 90.
As it past us, it swerved over all four lanes to the far left. It passed another block of cars, and swerved four lanes to the right. Rinse, repeat.
On his fifth pass across all four lanes, that sweet, sweet tonic appeared. An unassuming SUV that was traveling the bridge activated its blue lights. My daughter was exceptionally excited, as this was the first time she got to witness road karma first hand.
I feel like that took away a little of the sting of the other road incidents. Granted, the other two still kinda bum me out. I just don’t get why it’s necessary to, well, be that guy. I mean, we’re all in a hurry. We all have places to be. Just suck it up and deal with it. There is really no reason for behaviors such as that. If everyone on the planet would just slow down a little and be respectful of everyone else, the world would be such a better place.
But that’s not going to happen any time soon, unfortunately. So I will do the only thing I can: Keep a notepad in my car for passive-aggressive messages, and hope for more unassuming SUVs.
Mike Gibbons was born and raised in Aiken, S.C. A graduate of the University of Alabama, he now lives in Mt. Pleasant. You can e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter @StandardMike.