After a couple of recent incidents, I have retired from being the guy who tries to make other drivers be courteous.
I have done this for two reasons: (1) It doesn’t seem like it’s really making a difference and (2) my wife politely asked that I not get shot in traffic.
Now before I tell you of the incidents, I have to say that I am not a road rage person. I don’t scream and yell at other drivers. But I have been known to maybe offer a kind word of suggestion to my fellow motorists, in the nicest ways possible.
Of these last two, the first was when I was heading into work the other day. I was driving along on a big highway, with traffic moving at a pretty good clip. I looked in my rearview mirror and saw a truck barreling toward me. He swerved to the other lane just as he neared me, almost clipping my bumper. My window was down, and I instinctively threw my arm up in the air, palm open, giving the international sign for, “Dude, really?”
And he instinctively threw his arm out the window giving the international salute that comes with a single finger. And of course at the next traffic light we were right next to each other. He turned and said something to me. I rolled my window down so I could hear what he was saying, which was surely just something along the lines of, “How’s your day going, good sir?”
Turns out he asked what my problem was, although he added a an adjective before “problem” that is unfit for family newspapers.
I responded, “My problem is that you’re driving like an idiot. Slow down and stop weaving in and out of lanes before you cause an accident.” The light turned green, he again saluted me, and we parted ways.
The second incident occurred in a parking garage. I park in garages a lot, and one of the biggest peeves of my life is people who cannot park between the lines. Topping that? Great big ol’ vehicles who think they fit in a compact spot.
I was behind a truck that tried to park in a compact spot. After about five tries, he still could not get it. Traffic was backing up behind me as this guy kept at it. Eventually, he backed out and started to pull forward. Finally, I thought. Some sense.
He put his truck in reverse and began trying to back in. To a spot clearly labeled Compact. I rolled down my window and said, “That space is for compacts.”
He responded to me, “Guess I’m a compact now!”
And about nine tries later got his giant truck in the spot, thereby also making it difficult for the two compacts on either side to access their vehicles.
When I was relaying these stories to my wife, she pretty much said, yeah, I should stop doing that. And she’s right. These two individuals live their lives in a selfish manner, and no amount of lecturing from me is going to change that.
So this column is not for them. It is for you, good reader. The decent, kind souls who I know are out there. The ones who don’t need to drive like maniacs when traffic is already thick. The ones who make sure they don’t park where they inconvenience others. The ones who have a full shopping cart and let the person with a single bag of dog food go ahead of them at the grocery store. The ones who pick up their dog’s mess. The ones who tell a manager when their server has been fantastic. And, of course, the ones who return their shopping carts.
You, good people, are the ones we need to make this world a better place. And I know you’re out there.
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.